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Sam’s Sausage & Thyme Carbonara

No muss, no fuss pasta

We’re back in the kitchen with the very lovely Samuel from this morning’s Male Monday piece. And while Keira Knightley can make his heart flutter, evidently, Sam’s number one is food. He shares his tips ‘N’ tricks for a good carbonara below…

OK Sam, teach us how to carbonara:
Carbonara really needs no introduction—it’s a classic. It’s so easy to make it barely even needs a recipe, but as it was the first thing I learned to cook, I thought it deserved some recognition. It’s a great “go-to” meal when you don’t have the energy or patience for complicated cooking.

And tell us about your recipe:
Carbonara recipes are readily available on the Internet, in their hundreds in fact, but I cook mine with a few extras. The addition of charred thyme and garlic cooked in smoked bacon fat gives the dish a wonderfully smokey flavor, and gives the silky cheese sauce more depth of flavor, as well as a deep mushroom color. What’s better is it doesn’t include onion, as most recipes do, eliminating that annoying stage of tears and fiddly knife work.

Carbonara with Sausage and Thyme by Sam Oxford
3 egg yolks
75g parmesan (plus more for serving)
100ml double cream
400g bucatini or spagetti
1 tbsp. olive oil
200g smoked bacon lardons
2 garlic cloves
3 springs fresh thyme
5 sausages

Serves 4

1. Place the egg yolks, finely grated Parmesan, and double cream in a bowl and whisk until you have a light primrose colored sauce, season with pepper and put to one side. In a large saucepan of salty, rapidly boiling water, add your pasta.
2. In a frying pan, add the oil and begin to fry your bacon lardons. Add the minced garlic and the thyme leaves and fry together.
3. While its gently spitting and popping take your sausages, aim it at the pan, and squeeze down the length of the sausage to get the mince meat out from its casing. Discard the tubes and mash the sausage meat until it’s broken down into a browned meaty rubble, with the bottom of the pan glazed with scorched meat juice.
4. A couple of minutes before the pasta is cooked, turn down the heat on your frying pan and add just a tablespoon or two of the starchy pasta water that the pasta is cooking in.
5. This will take all that brown flavor off the bottom of the pan to create a wonderfully flavored, charred sauce that will flavor the silky cream based carbonara. I wouldn’t use wine to deglaze the pan, as the acidy of wine would contradict the smooth creaminess of this dish.
6. Drain the pasta and add it to the frying sausage, coating the pasta in brown fatty juices. 7. Take the frying pan off the heat and pour over your creamy cheese sauce and work through the pasta, covering every strand with a glossy coating.
8. Sit down; pour yourself a glass of wine, and eat immediately to avoid it becoming claggy, preferably with a fresh layer of parmesan cheese on top.

Photography by Mehdi Lacoste