Well if you hadn’t guessed it, the dish I was referring to in my previous post was of course a carbonara less the cream. I often make it as a quick supper as it takes about two minutes plus the time to cook the spaghetti. If you buy the pre-cut pancetta, there isn’t even anything to chop, so easy! The key to carbonara is that you get the best ingredients possible, there’s only a few so go all out. This recipe is adapted from the version Rose Gray & Ruth Rogers of The River Cafe did on Saturday Kitchen last year and it’s a triumph. I must warn you, it tastes of more and more and more….
On to a separate topic for a minute or two, we treated ourselves to dinner in Los Amigos on Georges Quay on Saturday night. I wasn’t going to bother booking but decided at 3pm on Saturday I would and they were completely booked out from 7-9! I thought to myself, jeez, isn’t everyone supposed to be broke in January? (Myself & himself pretty much stayed in for the month with the exception of a few dinners out). Anyway, we got a table at 6.30 which suited fine as we weren’t staying out and there were a few other diners there when we arrived so weren’t forced to eat in a soulless empty restaurant. The décor is simple, white walls, wooden floors and a wooden bar set up to the back of the restaurant with fresh white linen on the tables.
The menu had a good selection for both veggies & carnivores; tacos, fajitas, Argentinean steaks, fish, pork, chicken and a selection of tapas as appetisers. I went for the pollo con mole (pronounced mole-ay) and himself opted for pork-steak and we ordered nachos between us to start. The bread came out first which was like the Mexican version of crostini; re-fried beans & cheese on toasts with assorted condiments – sour cream, jalapenos, spicy onions & relish – on the side. Very tasty bites to get us started. Then the nachos arrived which were devoured. They were served with a savoury mince and two types of cheese oozing over the top, delicious.
The first time I ever saw a mole was on an episode of Queer Eye for the Straight Guy (remember that?) a few years ago. The straight guy was a good cook so they got him to cook outside of his comfort zone and make something pretty difficult – a mole. I’ve never seen it on a menu here so had to try it out. It’s a pretty complex sauce with 10 different chillis and chocolate added to thicken it. It was quite sweet bordering on sickly but was given more bite with the spicy onions (the waiter’s suggestion) & sour cream from the condiment tray.
We really enjoyed the meal and with coffees, the total came to €50 which ain’t bad for a Saturday night. I’d definitely recommend it and will be back for sure. It’s a great place for a gang as they have an extensive cocktail menu and offer a bucket (5) of Corona
Now, back to business, here’s the recipe for the carbonara as promised. I’m off to Paris
Spaghetti Alla Carbonara
What You Need
Some good dried spaghetti (I usually use de Cecco but tried out Bunalun for this)
2 best quality egg yolks (I always allow one per person)
2 tablespoons freshly grated parmesan
A glass of white wine
Some pancetta or really good bacon
Pepper and maybe salt
What You Do
- Get your spaghetti cooking and once it’s in the water, start on the sauce.
- Mix the egg yolks with the parmesan, a little olive oil & pepper in a bowl.
- Sautee the pancetta with the oil in a pan and once cooked, add the wine and reduce.
- Once the pasta is cooked, drain off the water (reserve some in a bowl in case the sauce is too thick) and add the egg mix and pancetta (not the wine) to the pasta. Mix this around and if you find it’s too thick add a tablespoon of the reduced wine until you get a nice ‘creamy’ consistency. If you use up all the wine, you may need to add some of the pasta water which as been reserved in a bowl.
NB: make sure the heat on the hob is OFF as the residual heat from the pot and the spaghetti will cook the egg.
- TASTE the spaghetti for seasoning. I used a salty bacon and parmesan is salty so didn’t need to add any salt, this may also be the case for you.
- Plate up, enjoy and try to stop yourself from making it again straight away!!!