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How to cook the perfect spaghetti carbonara. A dish whose principal ingredients are eggs and bacon was always going to be a shoo-in for the British palate: certainly spaghetti carbonara was a regular in my dad's repertoire when pesto was only a glint in a supermarket buyer's eye.

How to cook the perfect spaghetti carbonara

As with so many Italian foodstuffs, it has a disputed history, although most people accept that carbonara probably originated in, or near Rome. It's apparently named after the carbonai, or charcoal burners, allegedly because it was a favourite of these grimy men who spent months deep in the Apennines, relying on foodstuffs that could be easily transported, stored and then prepared over a fire. Sophia Loren claims to have happened upon a group of these lucky fellows while filming Two Women in the mountains in the late fifties – who obligingly cooked her a slap-up carbonara lunch.

Pasta Prawn Cocktail Years recipe carbonara - but with spaghetti. It's spaghetti cabonara, right? Sauce Butter is better, melting into the sauce. Eggs is eggs Say cheese Alliums Method. Essential Weeknight Recipe: Quick Tomato Sauce with Pasta. Speaking of spices, I really like the flavor of smoked paprika in this dish.

Essential Weeknight Recipe: Quick Tomato Sauce with Pasta

But that's me. I've also been known to throw in a teaspoon of chili powder for a Southwestern spin. Which is maybe a little weird, but I think it's tasty all the same. If you'd rather stick with traditional flavors, go with some Italian seasonings like oregano and basil. Quick Weeknight Tomato Sauce with Pasta Serves 4-6 2 links chicken sausage, diced (or other leftover meat)1 large onion, diced1 12-oz jar roasted peppers, drained and diced3-4 cloves garlic, minced2 teaspoons smoked paprika1 whole star anise1 bay leaf1 28-oz can diced tomatoes1 pound pastaa splash of balsamic vinegar Heat a teaspoon of olive oil in a large skillet or dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add the onions and 1/2 teaspoon of salt to the pan and reduce the heat to medium. Add the sausage back into the pan. While the sauce simmers, bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add a splash of balsamic vinegar to the sauce and give it a taste. Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall. Let's face it, you might as well be in the kitchen.

Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall

The biting cold and flint grey skies are not good for much – except maybe a 10-minute constitutional to bring on a raging appetite for something savoury and comforting. Or perhaps motivate you to teach yourself a new skill from which you can reap the heartiest of rewards. If you've never made your own pasta before, perhaps now's the time to start. I realise there are quite enough noisy chefs out there waving the Italian flag, and you really don't need me to join the olive oil-gargling, bunched fingertip-kissing, mamma mia-shouting throng. But I do make my own pasta once in a while. It's the best kind of kitchen alchemy: a Rumpelstiltskin kind of thrill – pasta gold from straw (well, wheat), a few fresh eggs and a pinch of magic salt.

Pasta-rolling machines are easy to find and not very expensive. In my house, this is how we roll… Tagliatelle with chicken livers, pancetta and sage Sift the flour and salt into a heap on a worktop. Lunch. Recipage. Recipage.