Burn the coal

by Christos Polydorou

Dear Machiavelli,

The carbonara (a dish that dates back to ancient Rome) I made tonight was so simple and so delicious. I boiled water in a big pot, with the lid covered, to make it boil faster. I fried seven rashers of smoked streaky bacon in a good knob of English salted butter until they were golden, and about a minute before they were done I turned the heat down way low, before I removed them, and added two minced garlic cloves, black pepper and a pinch of red chilli, and let those sit and simmer in the low heat. When the water in your pot boils, add a good dash of sea salt, and then about 200-250 grams of pasta like spaghetti or linguini. When prepared to your liking (al dente or slightly cooked) drain and return the pan to a medium heat, adding the rashers of bacon you have chopped into thin strips. Add the pasta, and then add two eggs, straight out of the shell, on top of it all, and let it sit while you grate 100 grams or so of Parmigiano-Reggiano or Grana Padano (I used the latter tonight) on to the top. Gently stir the pasta, egg, bacon and cheese, making sure nothing sticks on the bottom. Because the pasta and pan is hot, the egg should only take a little under five minutes on a medium heat to cook thoroughly. Serve, adding more cheese. As you place a couple of fresh basil leaves on top, blow your dish a kiss. It is always the secret ingredient that will make whoever eats this dish, even yourself, foodgasm exuberantly. For food is love, and love is life.

With love,
Christos Polydorou.