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Food on Film : Spaghetti Carbonara from Nora Ephron’s Heartburn

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Two forks, two people, one bowl, one bed – could this scene sum up the end to a perfect first date any better?

In Nora Ephron’s 1980’s classic Heartburn, Meryl Streep and Jack Nicholson’s characters end up between the sheets after what must have been a pretty good night out that leads to Meryl whipping up spaghetti carbonara; a dish as indulgent as it is impressive.

When the inimitable Anne Enright writes ‘love is a great punishment for desire’ it makes me think of this dish and this film. Heartburn is a worthwhile punishment for both love and carbonara. It’s not an everyday dish, but that’s why it’s perfect in this film. It feels fitting for those first moments in a new relationship where everything you are doing together is happening for the first time. It’s when everything seemingly insignificant suddenly matters, when a bowl of pasta balanced on a bed between you both in the middle of the night becomes a secret to be shared.

Carbonara is fast, just four ingredients thrown together with some care. Good as you don’t have to let your lover linger alone too long before you return with a feast. Here’s a classic version, with just the four traditional ingredients, not out of purity but eases sake. It’s rich, it’s decadent and just right to pair with something as sweet as getting to know someone new.

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WRITTEN By:
Bre Graham

Bre Graham is a writer and editor. Originally from Sydney she grew up in Singapore and is now based in London.

READ MORE BY Bre Graham

Preparation Time5 MINUTES

Cooking Time20 MINUTES

Resting Time0 MINUTES

Serves2

LevelEasy


ingredients

100 grams of chopped pancetta or guanciale

1 large handful of grated pecorino with extra to serve

2 egg yolks, 1 whole egg

Half a packet of spaghetti

Pepper and salt to season

1.

Boil spaghetti to instructions on packet. Meanwhile crisp up the pancetta in a pan till it’s golden then take it off the heat leaving it with only half of the fat.

2.

In a bowl combine the eggs, grated pecorino, lots of freshly ground pepper and a small pinch of salt.

3.

Just before the spaghetti is ready rescue a ladle full of the starchy pasta water before you drain the pasta.

4.

Drop the spaghetti into the pan of pancetta and add the egg mixture with the pasta water. The heat from the hot pasta and residual heat from the pan is enough to cook the mixture.Toss it all together till every strand is coated gold.

5.

Serve immediately with an extra dusting of cheese.

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