It’s often been said that the French don’t really “get” Italian food. They overcook pasta, not quite believing that al dente makes sense. They clearly have no idea that Pizza Margherita is topped only with tomato sauce, white mozzarella cheese and torn basil leaves (the three colours of the Italian flag) — and will put just about anything on top of it. And their Spaghetti Carbonara typically includes limp strips of barely warm ham, rather than nicely crisped bacon.
So, to help right those wrongs, and to honour Stage 17 of the Tour de France — which concluded in the Italian town of Pinerolo — today I used the test kitchens of Radio Free Daglan to create Spaghetti Pinerolo. Here is how I made it:
Boil a pot of salted water and start cooking the spaghetti. Meanwhile, nicely crisp up your bacon. (If you are fortunate enough to live in France, you will of course use a package of lardon — the most wonderful single ingredient available in a French supermarket.)
Just before the pasta is cooked, add in a cup of frozen peas so that they are just cooked when the spaghetti is done.
Now assemble the usual culprits –the drained spaghetti (which will include the peas), with a bit of butter. Add the crispy lardons. Add a nice bunch of grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, a glug of heavy cream, and a whole bunch of freshly ground black pepper. Then two egg yolks. And now for the red of the Italian flag — a fire-roasted red pepper cut into fine strips.
Mix gently and serve, sprinkled with yet more freshly ground black pepper. This should sit nicely in your tummy as you watch the Tour de France live — just as we did this afternoon.