Today two quick simple pasta dishes that everyone loves, especially children. Both are from my new book. They each use spaghetti but you could use linguini or tagliatelle if you prefer.

Italian is one of the most cooked cuisines in the world. I like this one-pot dish with spaghetti and it cooks quickly. You could leave out the bacon for a vegetarian version. Maybe use sweetcorn instead. Simply Better do a very good 30-month-matured Parmesan. I visited the producer in Italy a while back and was very impressed by their tradition and passion. I always keep a block in my fridge and like to do the shavings fresh each time

I always enjoy carbonara and this is a good one. Pancetta is pork belly and you can buy it diced in the supermarket. I saw a recipe recently with cured pork cheek and will try that soon. Italians don’t use cream in their carbonara but thicken it with eggs instead. Pecorino is a nice sheep’s milk cheese. It has a lighter flavour than Parmesan and the two together work well. For the record, pecora means sheep in Italian . Enjoy!

Happy cooking,


One-Pot Pasta with Bacon and Petit Pois

Serves 4

1 tbsp rapeseed oil

200g rindless streaky bacon rashers, chopped

1 large onion, very finely chopped

4 garlic cloves, crushed

600ml chicken stock

350ml milk

250g spaghetti

250g frozen petit pois

4 tbsp freshly grated Parmesan cheese, plus extra shavings to garnish

sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Neven's One-Pot Pasta with Bacon and Petit Pois / Joanne Murphy

1 Heat the oil in a sauté pan over a high heat. Add the bacon and cook for 2–3 minutes, until crisp and golden.

2 Transfer the bacon to a plate using a slotted spoon, leaving the fat the bacon has released in the pan.

3 Reduce the heat to medium and sauté the onion and garlic for 3–4 minutes, until softened but not coloured.

4 Pour in the stock, scraping the bottom of the pan to remove any sediment.

5 Stir in the milk, then season with salt and pepper and bring to the boil over a high heat.

6 Add the spaghetti and simmer vigorously for about 12 minutes, until the pasta is just tender but still with a little bite (al dente) and the liquid has reduced enough to form a silky glaze.

7 Stir in the petit pois about 3 minutes before the end of the cooking time so that they can also cook through.

8 Just before serving, fold in the Parmesan with most of the crispy bacon.

9 Divide between bowls and scatter over the rest of the bacon with some Parmesan shavings to serve.

Ultimate Pasta Carbonara

Serves 4

350g spaghetti

1 tbsp olive or rapeseed oil

2 garlic cloves, peeled

100g pancetta cubes

3 eggs

1 egg yolk

75g freshly grated Parmesan cheese, plus extra to garnish

25g freshly grated pecorino romano cheese

a pinch of grated nutmeg (optional)

sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 Add a good pinch of salt to a large pan of water and bring to a rolling boil.

2 Swirl in the spaghetti and simmer for 10–12 minutes, until just tender but still with a little bite (al dente).

3 Meanwhile, heat the oil in a large non-stick frying pan over a medium heat.

4 Squash the garlic cloves with the blade of a knife to bruise them and add to the pan with the pancetta.

5 Sauté for about 5 minutes, until the pancetta is crisp and golden. The garlic has now imparted its flavour, so take it out with a slotted spoon and discard.

6 Break the eggs into a bowl and add the yolk, then lightly beat with a fork to combine.

7 Stir in the Parmesan and pecorino and season generously with pepper.

8 When the pasta is cooked, scoop out a small cupful of the pasta cooking water, then drain the pasta well.

9 Tip it into the frying pan and toss to coat in the pancetta mixture, then quickly tip in the egg mixture. Using a tongs, toss the pasta quickly.

10 Once it has begun to thicken, add a splash of the reserved cooking water to loosen to a sauce consistency.

11 Using a long-pronged fork, twist the pasta into warmed bowls and add a pinch of nutmeg, if liked.

12 Scatter with a little extra Parmesan to serve.

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