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Serving Up Carbonara

Growing up in Hong Kong I was familiar with two main types of pasta: one with a tomato base and another with a cream base. Whenever I had the chance, I would order the one with the cream. After spending time in the U.S. and making foreign friends, I found out that the pasta I had in Hong Kong was not Western, with one key difference being Western pasta is much harder.

When thinking of creamy pasta, bacon and cheese carbonara comes to mind. Though I have often craved it, I have never attempted to make it.

I contacted chef and general manager Jan, from famous Dongguan Italian eatery Hostaria, over six months ago asking him to show me how to make this seemingly complicated dish. We were finally able to set up a time to meet.Going back to the kitchen, I assumed the position of chef as Jan walked me through the six-step process of making the delectable meal. He taught me the simple but key tricks of the kitchen, such as adding salt to the water for the noodles and occasionally stirring so they do not stick.

I prepared the bacon according to Jan’s instructions and turned up the heat on the frying pan and mixed it with the noodles. I began making the egg and cheese sauce in a seprate bowl. I always thought cream was added to the sauce, but Jan said “no,” and it was simply a combination of two egg yolks and pecorino and parmesan cheese (of course a pinch of salt and pepper to taste). If the sauce is too thick, add some hot water to soften it.

Once the sauce was ready I mixed all the ingredients. I put it on a plate and added the remaining bacon from the bowl and pecorino cheese on top for style.

My score from Jan was a 4.5 out of 5. He believes the final product could have been a little bit creamier, and it was too thick. However, he said I could come back and help him in the kitchen.

Make it Yourself

  • Put 110 grams of pasta in boiling water (add a pinch of salt), and boil for 9 minutes. Stir occasionally.
  • Melt a cube of butter in a pan and fry the bacon on a medium heat until brown.
  • In a separate bowl, mix two egg yolks, equal parts pecorino and parmesan cheese, salt and pepper.
  • Drain the pasta and mix with the bacon on a medium heat.A
  • Mix bacon and pasta with sauce, until evenly distributed.
  • Transfer to a plate and scatter remaining bacon from the bowl and pecorino cheese on top.