Nicholas (9): (Looking suspiciously at his plate) Do you remember that time you made white bean soup and it tasted of nothing so we had cereal instead?
Maureen: But I don’t think that is going to apply in this case. This definitely does not taste of nothing.
Nicholas (skeptically): We’ll see about that, won’t we.
Maureen: I think it will be delicious. What do you think?
Nicholas (with great surprise): It’s quite good!
Andrew (12): Yup. I agree. It’s pretty good.
Maureen: This is a very strange way to do carbonara because you use cottage cheese. But it’s so good, I don’t care. This is great.
Tim: Of course it’s good! It’s got bacon and cheese in it.
Maureen: Well, actually, it’s not bacon. It’s fancy bacon– pancetta. But I think the addition of the cottage cheese almost makes it healthy.
Tim: You’ve got to be kidding me. It’s good, but it’s rich.
Maureen: I am definitely making this again.
Stack’s Carbonara from “Recipes from my Mother for my Daughter”
300-400g spaghetti (depending on appetite)
1 large onion, finely chopped
140g pancetta, cubed
2 garlic cloves, crushed
500g cottage cheese
300ml single cream
A good grating of Parmesan cheese
Freshly ground black pepper
Bring a large saucepan of slated water to the boil and cook the spaghetti until al dente following the instructions on the packet.
While the pasta is cooking, heat a large frying pan and melt the butter. Cook the union until softened, about 5 minutes.
Add the pancetta and the garlic. When softened and browned add the cottage cheese. Keep stirring until the cottage cheese has melted and the mixture has come together. It will look watery at this stage, but don’t be alarmed!
Add the cream, keep stirring and reducing until it has thickened to your liking.
Grate in the parmesan, add a good crack of black pepper and cook until thick and cream. And in Stack’s words, ‘BOOM!”
Stir the sauce into the cooked spaghetti and serve immediately.
This is what it looks like after adding the cottage cheese– all watery and slightly strange. Do not despair. It works out fine.