Spaghetti Carbonara | Cheap vs Steep

by Barry Lewis


225g Spaghetti

2 Eggs, plus 1 eggstra yolk

100g Bacon (optional)

1.5tbsp Olive oil

1tbsp Parmesan, plus extra to serve

Salt and pepper to season

1 Onion, diced (optional)

2tbsp Double Cream (optional)

Does the cost and quality of ingredients make a massive difference to the final recipe? It’s cheap vs steep time again, the playlist where we take the same recipe and make it with the most budget supermarket ingredients we can find against an expensive rival. Our aim is to always make the cheap come out on top (although budget pending always go for best quality), but with the a few tweaks. On this episode we are attempting a British style spaghetti carbonara, featuring some extremely expensive olive oil! This is a recipe from a well known UK chef called Delia Smith we have used for Years, things like the cream, onion and bacon are optional, in fact traditionally some would say the cheese should be pecorino and use guanciale or pancetta for the optional meat, but this is one we’ve always used and were limited by the cheap so was best for our comparison. We always find these recipes fascinating and hope you do too, keep the suggestions coming in!

How to make the best British style spaghetti carbonara

Get a large bowl and whisk together the eggs, cream (if using, it just makes it creamier which we sometimes like), some salt and pepper and the parmesan. Whisk until just combined and leave to one side.

Boil water for your pasta in a large saucepan. Add a little olive oil if you like to stop it sticking together, cook the pasta to package instructions, typically around 10 minutes.

Meanwhile heat the olive oil in a frying pan and cook the bacon and onions, stirring often cooking until the fat starts to run in the bacon and the onions are lightly browned. Once the pasta is cooked drain the spaghetti with a colander, then put it straight back into the hot saucepan but off the heat. Stir in the beaten eggs, onions and bacon including the oils it was cooked in.

The heat of the saucepan and the oils will cook the eggs as you stir it through the pasta. It may look a little granular as it cooks but that’s ok, once it’s stopped being runny the eggs are cooked. Serve on warmed plates with more pepper and parmesan on top, proper comfort food!