By definition, carbonara is a pasta dish with bacon and eggs. So, this isn’t carbonara in the strict sense. It’s a variation. In Jamie Oliver’s recipe, sausage meat pressed out of the casings then formed into meatballs replaced the bacon. Cream was added to the eggs. Not traditional carbonara, strictly speaking. But I liked the idea.
My version of Jamie Oliver’s recipe had some meatballs. Let me explain. I used Vigan longganisa from two groceries and things happened a little differently. The meatballs made from the sausages from Grocery A (Shopwise) crumbled; the meatballs made from sausages from Grocery B (Monterey at Cherry) retained their shape.
Surprisingly, the crumbled sausages tasted better and the way they got mixed with the noodles made the dish… well, better. Just better. The secret? Fry the crumbled sausage meat until really browned — the way you would the bacon if you were making classic carbonara. If the sausage meat is superiorly seasoned, oh man, you have a terrifically wonderful pasta dish.
And here’s a photo of the pasta dish without the meatballs. If you’re going to make this, you decide whether you want the sausage meat crumbled or formed into balls. Or both. Seriously, the meatballs won’t brown as nicely as the crumbled meat.
The following recipe is for the crumbled sausage meat version. Because I liked it better. If you want the meatballs version, see Jamie Oliver’s recipe.
- 150 grams pasta (spaghetti, linguine, fettuccine…)
- 300 grams spicy, garlicky sausages (I used the native Vigan longganisa), you can use some other variety but I really urge you not to use sweet sausages
- 4 egg yolks
- 1/2 cup cream
- 1/4 cup grated cheese (I used Edam)
- salt to taste
- 4 tablespoons chopped parsley
If the sausages are linked together, cut them into individual pieces. Slit the casings and press out the meat.
Lightly beat together the egg yolks, cream, cheese and parsley.
Cook the pasta in salted boiling water.
While the pasta cooks, heat a frying pan. When hot, add the sausage meat. If your sausage meat contains a good amount of fat, you won’t need to oil your frying pan. Just let the fat melt and cook the sausage meat in it until really browned and lightly crisp.
Reserve a cup of the pasta water. Drain the pasta.
Off the heat, add the pasta to the browned sausage meat. Toss well. Pour in the egg yolk-cream mixture and toss briskly (remember to do this off the fire) to prevent the egg yolks from curdling. You want a smooth sauce, not scrambled eggs. Don’t worry about salmonella in raw eggs — the very hot pasta will cook the egg yolks.
Now, about the sauce. If the sauce seems too thick, add the pasta water, little by little and stirring as you pour, until you get the consistency that you like.
Taste. Season with salt and pepper. Remember that the sausage meat is already highly seasoned and spiced so add salt and pepper little by little, tasting after each addition.
Serve the spaghetti with sausage meat and cream while hot.