I got my hands on the new ASK cookbook recently and just love it when simple recipes are executed really well. I decided to take a peruse through and cook an old favourite, carbonara. I really like the way everything is laid out, it’s easy to understand and while the recipes are easy to make, they definitely have a nice twist to them that make them a bit more special than normal.
I chose to make carbonara as it’s pure comfort food! It’s got all the ingredients for a great home-cooked meal.
Ingredients (serving for 6 people):
250g pancetta or guanciale, cubed
1 tsp extra virgin olive oil
6 large egg yolks (at room temperature)
100g parmesan or Grana Padano cheese, finely grated
100g pecorino Romano cheese, finely grated
2 tbsp finely chopped fresh flat leaf parsley
50g single cream (at room temperature)
Freshly ground sea salt and black pepper
How to make it:
- Pop a large pan of salted water on the cooker to boil for the spaghetti.
- Pour a tsp of olive oil in a frying pan and sauté the pancetta slowly until it becomes golden and crispy. Turn the heat off, but leave it in the pan for now.
- Drop the spaghetti into the boiling water. (I like to twist and drop – so it swirls and cooks evenly!)
- When the spaghetti is almost cooked, place the egg yolks in a large warm serving bowl and stir in three quarters of both cheeses and a tbsp and a half of parsley. Grind in a little black pepper to season it.
- Turn the heat back on under the pancetta.
- Just before draining the spaghetti use a mug to scoop out some of the water and set it aside.
- Drain the spaghetti and immediately add it to the bowl with the eggs & cheese and stir it altogether (YUM)
- Add half a mugful of the hot water that you set aside earlier.
- Sprinkle the pancetta with its oil over the mix and stir it in.
- If you would like to add the cream…do this now.
- Serve straight away and garnish with parsley & black pepper.
- The remaining cheese can be on the side in case you want to add it on top.
The consistency was so nice and thick, not too stodgy and you could really taste the cheeses in it which were quite strong but not overpowering. The pancetta gave it that slightly smoky taste and while I normally am not a fan of fresh parsley, it was a welcome accompaniment to the dish. I added the single cream as I thought it would make the spaghetti a little bit less sticky which it duly did, and it was absolutely delicious!
The ASK Italian Cookbook can be purchased from ASK Italian restaurants for £10, with £4 from each sale going to Great Ormond Street Hospital Children’s Charity and help fund the dining rooms, play areas and kitchen within the hospital’s new Surgery Centre, due to open in 2016.
The book can also be purchased from bookshops and other retailers with a minimum of £1 going towards the charity.
It’s definitely worth it for some delicious, simple recipes and it’s all for a good cause, Great Ormond Street Hospital and your family’s tummies!