“The inspiration for this recipe was quite obviously found in the classic Italian pasta dish with its origins in Rome, the bacon carbonara. It is interesting to note that carbonara is the Italian word for charcoal burner. Now as we all know, there is one thing better than a charcoal burner, and that is a wood burner, otherwise known as a braai fire. The original recipe in Rome uses Italian bacon like guanciale or pancetta but to my mind a braaied South African pork chop is vastly superior in quality, taste and texture, so what we have here is an improvement on the original recipe. The recipe works well with both fresh and dry pasta, but as egg is a core ingredient of a great carbonara pasta, my personal feeling is that fresh pasta works better, so go for that if you can get hold of it.” – Jan Braai
- 4 pork loin chops or 4 pork neck chops (deboned)
- Salt and pepper
- 1 packet linguini or spaghetti (500g)
- 1 tot butter
- 1 tot olive oil
- 1 punnet mushrooms (250g, diced or sliced)
- 2 garlic cloves (crushed)
- 3 eggs (beaten)
- 1 cup fresh cream
- ½ cup Parmesan cheese (50g, grated)
- extra Parmesan (for garnish)
- fresh parsley (for garnish)
- Braai the pork chops over medium-hot coals for about 12 minutes until done. Pork chops should be braaied until medium, with an internal temperature of 71 °C. Season with salt and pepper before or during the braai.
- Meanwhile, start cooking the pasta in a pot of boiling salted water according to the instructions on the packet. Use fresh pasta where possible and available.
- At the same time, heat the butter and olive oil in a large pan and fry the mushrooms until soft and brown, then add the garlic and fry for another minute.
- In a separate bowl, beat the eggs and mix well with the cream, then add in the grated cheese.
- Remove the pasta from the heat when cooked and drain. Add the pasta to the same pan as the mushrooms, and pour the mixture of beaten eggs, cream and cheese over the pasta while the pasta is still hot. Mix everything well. The heat of the pasta and mushrooms will cook the egg. This is a signature element of this dish.
- Taste the pasta and season with salt and pepper. If your pasta was boiled in salted water it is highly unlikely that you will need to add salt at this stage.
Slice the pork chops diagonally into thin slivers and serve on top of the pasta. Garnish with extra Parmesan cheese and fresh parsley.