Article
14 comments

Recipe: Courgette and Truffle Carbonara

Courgette & Truffle Carbonara

I have a really bad habit of going food shopping on a whim and being charmed by the glistening ingredients which I can’t resist. I pop them in my trolley gleefully, only to review when I go home and wonder, so how does all of this fit together, and when exactly amd I going to get time to eat it all? Eating it all is never really a worry, although it has worrying effects of late. It does prompt some creative cooking, driven by what I am in the mood for, and what I have nabbed en route home.

I was faced with one such dilemna last night. All I knew is that I wanted to eat something rich, comforting and light, and it had to contain some pasta. Not just any pasta, I was eyeing up my box of Pastificio dei Campi linguine, the grand cru pasta (as declared in Italian food magazine Gambero Rosso) from Gragnano which I have been covetting. I never need an excuse to eat pasta, I love the stuff and frankly am in awe of anyone that can cut out carbs. I just don’t know why you would do that to yourself. However,if you need one, and you just might, good pasta like this cooked al dente is low GI my friends. Eat your fill.

Gragnano is to pasta what Parma is to ham. A town dedicated to artisan pasta making using traditional techniques. The Pastificio dei Campi pasta is finished by hand and gently passed through bronze dies before being slow dried at low temperatures creating pasta with superior flavour and texture, unlike anything you get at your local supermarket. This really is top of the range stuff.

The bronze die lends it a rough outer texture which allows it to grip the sauce eagerly. Interestingly in this age where so many cultures are disconnected from the origins of their food, every box of pasta can be traced back to the day that batch of wheat was sown, the field it was grown in and when it was harvested, directly linking the sourcing of the best limited supply grain back to the farmers. A human connection and real food. Regular readers will know me well enough to realise that quality and sourcing drives my cooking, so it won’t surprise you that this is my primary source of pasta now.

Back to dinner. It was late and I was hungry. I wanted something creamy and rich but not too intense. It is summer after all. My eyes fell upon the new season courgettes, medium sized and shiny, my favourite blue Old Cotswold Legbar eggs with their large golden yolks, some rich aged Grana Padano cheese and some luscious bulbs of garlic. The cupboard yielded some Tetsuya’s Black Truffle Salsa. I knew what I was going to have. A truffle and courgette carbonara.

Odd combination? Perhaps. Although courgette goes very well with rich hard cheeses like Grana Padano, and courgettes love eggs. Truffles love eggs even more, and we all love pasta. Courgettes would ease and comfort the intensity of the truffle, adding a sweetness and some moisture and texture. Like those couples you see with one noisy one and one nice calm one.  You know what I mean, it just works, doesn’t it?

Before I go further, carbonara needs no cream. Just egg yolks and cheese. A lick of garlic on the pan, you can finely chop it, or just cut it in half and fry it briefly to flavour some oil. Egg yolks are so rich and intense and a perfect sauce for the linguine.

Notes on ingredients: you can get the Tetsuya’s Black Truffle Salsa at Harvey Nichols in London, or substitute with grated fresh truffle or some jarred black truffle from the supermarket. Some truffle oil would lend some flavour too. The Pasificio dei Campi linguine is available from Food in the City online UK and internationally, or at Harvey Nichols.

Note on the photograph: the linguine shown in the photo isn’t quite al dente as I gobbled mine up, and photographed a cold portion after, whih had continued to cook as it cooled down. I didn’t waste it though – don’t fear. It makes a tasty leftover dish when fried.

Courgette & Truffle Carbonara

Serves 2

Ingredients:

200g linguine
2 egg yolks
2tbsp Grana Padano (or parmesan)
1 fat clove of garlic cut in half
1 heaped tsp Tetsuya’s Black Truffle Salsa
3 medium courgettes, quatrered lengthways and sliced finely
grated Grana Padano to serve
S&P
Olive oil

Method:

The pasta should take 10 minutes so get that on first.
Heat a tablespoon of olive oil over a moderate heat and add the cove of garlic until starting to brown, discard. You’ve got the garlic flavour now and that’s all you need.
Add the courgettes and cook over a gentle heat for 5/6 minutes until tender.
Place the egg yolks in a large bowl and stir in the cheese. Season with S&P.
When the pasta is almost dente, add the truffle to to the courgette and stir through.
Drain the pasta and add to the truffle/courgette mixture.
Add the pasta mixture to the bowl of eggs and stir quickly preserving the creamyness of the egg yolks and cheese and not allowing it to scramble (really, it never does as long as you’re quick).
Taste & season. Add some more Grana Padano to taste.

Posted by

I like food. I like to make food. Eat food. Photograph food. Write about food. Mainly in London but when I am lucky or organised further afield.

14 Comments

  1. Pingback: Tweets that mention Recipe: Courgette and Truffle Carbonara « eat like a girl -- Topsy.com

  2. This is exceptionally cruel of you: I’m trying to avoid pasta – and generally eat less carbs – as it doesn’t really agree with me… and this just looks so bloody delicious!

    Reply

  3. Did you know Tetsuya’s is a Sydney (Oz!) famous restaurant – love the sound of this dish and love that you made it out of a jar at the back of the cupboard

    Reply

  4. Sounds – & looks – delicious.

    Having lived out in Italy for a while I too am ‘picky’ about pasta. I was able to get some wonderful stuff out there (well; many wonderful & varied ingredients, full stop) & I miss the quality & variety we could choose from, there.

    I learned that some of the simplest meals can be the most delicious: you don’t need loads of complex ingredients; just a few simple, fresh, fine quality ones.

    I still can’t get to grips with mozzarella, though. My apartment was “around the corner” from a modest mozzarella factory; my flatmate loved it; & used to tuck into a plateful every evening after work. To me it had the flavour & consistency of eating balls of Kleenex…& in that specific part of Italy, when you eat out, it’s pretty much “mozzarella with everything”.

    Actually I love to make the stuff; creating those glistening white mushroom spheres is extremely satisfying & therapeutic. And I have tasted some deliciously delicate pearls of exquisite buffalo mozzarella in my time….

    The ultimate irony is that here in Wild West Wales, I now again live….”around the corner” from a mozzarella factory. Well; it’s actually about 15 minutes away from the farm; but it’s the first industrial edifice you reach when driving into our lovely little local market town (one of the few surviving without a major multiple…although one has applied for planning permission despite massive local opposition….they’ll win, as they always do; so stand by to see the soul sucked out of this lovely little town).

    Anyway, back to ingredients etc: hence the reason we now professionally craft gelato…ice cream in the UK just isn’t the same.

    Reply

  5. Pingback: Presto Pasta night #171 | Fuss Free Flavours

  6. Gerald will not let me food shop on an empty stomach but I find going to a market after a meal a pretty dull thing to do. I can’t resist good produce though, and struggle to eat everything I get to buy whenever we food shop. Lovely recipe!

    Luiz @ The London Foodie

    Reply

  7. I love how you didn’t take the photo right away since you had to “gobble’ it up.
    It sounds great, I can’t wait to give it a shot.

    Reply

  8. mmm, this sounds divine. i too am a complete sucker for good pasta so shall definitely have to give this a go!

    Reply

  9. Pingback: Duck Egg and Asparagus Carbonara | How to Make a Mess

Leave a Reply