Oh, okay, i'm going to bite...while all of the above sound simply perfect, to me, carbonara is the dish that gives the best ratio of taste:effort imaginable. So i cook it when i've worked late at the office and need something awesome in less than 15 minutes. And it's still good enough to serve at a dinner party if need be...

Before i begin, i can't stress enough the importance of using good quality pasta. I'm not talking paying through the nose for supermarket 'fresh' pasta, which tastes like foam rubber - go to your nearest delicatessen and buy some proper Italian dried pasta - expect to pay a quid per packet, which won't break the bank, but is at least double the price of normal supermarket pasta. You'll notice the difference.

Put your pasta in to boil - it should take about 11 or 12 minutes. As soon as it's in, take three rashers of smoked back bacon (or six of streaky) per person (pancetta is obviously better but it's difficult to get hold of the proper stuff over here), and dice them.

Fry your bacon off in a tiny bit of olive oil, crisping it nicely. Meanwhile, whip up two eggs per person and add a good couple of tablespoons of creme fraiche per person. Whisk together.

Crush a clove or two of garlic depending on taste (i use 3) into the bacon and stir well. With two minutes left on the clock, pour in half a glass of dry white wine and reduce by two-thirds.

Drain the pasta and return to the hot pan. Combine the bacon/wine/garlic in the pan with the pasta and the egg/cream mix and stir over a low heat until the sauce is warmed through, but not scrambled egg. Throw on some fresh basil and cracked black pepper and serve with freshly-grated Parmesan.

15 minutes well spent, i'd say.