Posts Tagged “spaghetti”

Spaghetti Carbonara This recipe has been through a number of alterations since I started making carbonara many years ago. This is the most recent update, and I think, is as pretty close to perfection as a plate of pasta could be. Spaghetti carbonara is still my favourite meal of all time – I don't think I will ever grow tired of it. My more recent changes include a reduction in the amount of egg; I now include one whole egg per person which, when combined with the starchy pasta water and a knob of butter, makes for a beautiful silky sauce. This dish is Italian cooking at it's best; simple, quick and with an emphasis on quality ingredients. It can be deceptively tricky to perfect however; too much heat when adding the eggs can result in scrambling them instead of gently cooking them to get the desired silky smooth sauce. If you can, get a hold of some good quality spaghetti that's been made with a bronze die, as it'll hold the sauce much better. --- * 75g pancetta, diced into lardons * 2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped * 180g spaghetti * 2 generous pinches of cracked black pepper * 2 eggs * 2 egg yolks * 30g parmesan, finely grated * sea salt * olive oil 1. Get a large pan of water boiling to cook the pasta in. Add a couple of generous pinches of salt. 2. In a frying pan or sauté pan, heat a glug of olive oil and place over a medium heat. When the oil is hot, add the diced pancetta and fry until lightly caramelised. Turn the heat to low and add the chopped garlic, along with a pinch of cracked black pepper. Cook gently for 2 minutes, being careful not to burn the garlic, then remove from the heat and set aside. 3. Add the spaghetti to the boiling water and cook for _2 minutes less_ than it says on the packet's instructions. This is because after draining the pasta we're going to heat it again as we make the sauce, so it'll continue to cook. 4. While the pasta is cooking, start to prepare for the sauce; place the eggs and egg yolks into a jug or bowl and add most of the finely grated parmesan (leaving some for garnish at the end), along with a small pinch of sea salt. 5. When the pasta is about 2 minutes away, drain it over another jug or bowl, making sure you reserve about 200ml of water. Whisk the eggs and cream together to make a thick paste, then pour about 4-5 tablespoons of the pasta water in, while still whisking. Now add the pancetta and garlic, pasta and egg mixture back into the pasta pan and place over a medium-low heat. Add about 100ml more of the pasta water and, using a plastic spatula, stir continuously, scraping the bottom of the pan until it's the texture of custard. Be very careful not to overheat it as the eggs will scramble. If it gets too thick, add a little more water - you should have a nice sauce consistency that just clings to the pasta. 6. Divide into pasta bowls, garnish with the remaining parmesan and eat immediately.

Tomato Concasse and Prawn Spaghetti I got the idea for this recipe when I was in India with Jack and Claire. We were in Goa and, growing tired of curry, were craving some western food for our dinner. We came upon an Italian restaurant on the edge of the beach, with plastic tables and chairs arranged under palm trees. Reputedly the pizzas and pasta were particularly good so we thought we’d give it a go. I went for ‘tomato and prawn spaghetti’ and it was absolutely delicious. It was a simple dish, using fresh tomatoes and little baby prawns. It had a really nice light sauce and was the perfect thing to eat on a hot evening, accompanied by a chilled bottle of beer! So this is my attempt at replicating that dish. It’s basically a sauce made from tomato juice, white wine and garlic, then thickened and enriched with butter. The diced tomato flesh and prawns are then simply added to heat through, just before serving. I used frozen cooked baby prawns, but if you can find fresh ones then all the better. It’s seasonal too; tomatoes are just about still good at this time of year, so make the most of it! --- * 3 tomatoes * 200g of spaghetti * 1 clove of garlic * 30g of unsalted butter * 180g of cooked prawns * 1 handful of fresh basil leaves * sea salt and freshly cracked black pepper * extra virgin olive oil * 200ml of white wine 1. Get a pan of salted boiling water on the go; this will be for blanching the tomatoes and cooking the spaghetti. To peel the tomatoes: carefully cut out the stalk with the tip of a small knife and score a cross in the bottom. Get a large bowl of very cold water ready, drop the tomatoes in the boiling water for 15 seconds, then remove and place straight into the cold water. 2. Once the water has come back to the boil, add a glug of olive oil, put in the spaghetti and cook according to the packet instructions. Peel the tomatoes, discard the skin then quarter, de-seed (reserving the pulp and seeds) and cut the flesh into small dice. Set aside the dice (this is called tomato concasse).Take the pulp and seeds, blitz in a blender and pass through a fine sieve into a saucepan. 3. Heat another saucepan over a medium heat, and add a glug of olive oil. Add the garlic and sauté gently for 30 seconds. and add the wine. Bring to the boil and simmer for 5 minutes. Whisk in the butter cut into small dice piece by piece, being sure to emulsify properly. Add the tomato concasse, prawns and basil. Add the spaghetti and mix everything together, making sure the pasta is nicely coated with the sauce. Taste and season with salt and freshly pepper. Serve and eat immediately!

Spaghetti Bolognese This has long been a staple dish in my repertoire and I think that I, like many of us, have a weakness for a good meaty pasta sauce. However, bolognese sauce can often turn out mediocre if thrown together in a hurry and without much thought. My philosophy for making a good bolognese rests on two principles. One: it should be really meaty, and two: it should simmer gently for a long time to tenderise the meat. My usual bolognese contains beef mince, pork mince, bacon, and pork sausage meat. This gives a nice combination of meaty flavours. It’s nice to vary things though, and I sometimes combine the beef mince with lamb or venison mince. Another thing about my bolognese, which is slightly controversial, is that I omit tomatoes and only include tomato purée. The main liquid component of the sauce instead comes from beef or pork stock, which promotes a richer meat flavour. This is an easy reliable meal, and a great one to serve if you have guests since just about everyone likes spaghetti bolognese! I usually make a big quantity, then freeze most of it before adding the cream. --- * 150g of streaky bacon * 2 onions * 3 large cloves of garlic * 1 stick of celery * 2 carrots * 500g of beef mince * 500g of pork mince * 250g of good quality sausage meat * 5 tablespoons of tomato purée * 200ml of white wine * 300ml of beef stock * sea salt and freshly cracked black pepper * 1 sprig of thyme * 1 bay leaf * 3 tablespoons of double cream * vegetable oil, for frying * parmesan cheese, to serve * 600g of spaghetti 1. Chop the bacon into small lardons and fry in a couple of tablespoons of oil in a large saucepan. Meanwhile, peel and finely dice onions, garlic and celery. Add to pan with the bacon just as it is starting to colour. Turn the heat down and simmer gently for 15-20 minutes, until the onions are soft and translucent. Peel and chop the carrots into small dice and add to the pan. Cook for a further 5 minutes. Now add the rest of the meat and turn the heat up; stir constantly until all the meat is browned and well mixed. Add the tomato purée, wine and stock, along with a good pinch of cracked black pepper, the thyme and bay leaf. Bring to the boil, then leave barely simmering, uncovered, for about 2 hours, or until the mince is very tender and the sauce is intense and rich. If need be, add more stock if the sauce is looking too dry. Taste, and season. Just before serving, stir in the double cream. Serve with grated Parmesan cheese and a nice big fresh salad.