© 2009-2011 Quality Eating and Drinking London Ltd

 

© 2009-2011 Quality Eating and Drinking London Ltd

Pasta alla carbonara

Ampres8Dino Ioannides demonstrated this authentic pasta alla carbonara at the QED Charcuterie Festival. It is worlds away from microwave-ready trays bearing the same description which may be found in any supermarket (see below).

Use the best possible bronze dye-extruded, durum wheat dried pasta; my preference is for Pastificio dei Campi.The guanciale should first be sliced lengthways into 5mm thick slices, either by knife or slicing machine, then cut by knife into 20mm lardons that look like a lean meat sandwich with fat at each end. The pepper should not be ground or milled; briefly roast whole peppercorns in a pan for a couple of minutes then crush medium–fine in a mortar and pestle — this brings out the aroma and oils of the pepper to infuse the dish. Egg yolks from marigold-fed hens are a deep gold in colour and contribute colour to the finished dish — in the UK you could use the Italian eggs imported by Machiavelli or Burford Brown eggs from Clarence Court.

For four servings:

400g spaghettoni-size long pasta, such as Pastificio dei Campi Vermicelli
80g pecorino romano (Brunelli if possible), finely grated
100g Lazio-produced artisan guanciale, cut into lardons 5x20mm
3g black peppercorns
4 fridge-cold free-range egg yolks

Cook the pasta in plenty of boiling, well-salted water for around 7-8 minutes, until al dente. Drain, but keep back some of the pasta water for the sauce.

Meanwhile, fry the guanciale in a frying pan until crisp but not charred; there is no need to use any fat. Retain all the fat and the crisped lardons and let them cool a little.

Beat the egg yolks with one third of the grated pecorino and 1.5Tbs of cooled guanciale fat and juices.

Finish the dish in a large bowl. Tip in the pasta then add the guanciale with the remaining fat, then some pasta water, then beaten eggs, then pepper, then another third of the cheese, mixing in between each stage;  by the end there should be a creamy emulsion forming on the sides and bottom of the bowl. The emulsion is created from the mixing of the starch in the pasta water with the cheese, eggs and fat.

AmxUse the remaining cheese to sprinkle on each 100g portion.

Dino notes: On no account must cream be allowed to come into contact with this dish.