[Kitchen 143] delicious! How to make the most authentic carbonara in Manila


It’s a dish that’s more about quality than quantity and can be prepared in minutes with very little fanfare

Growing up in New York with Italian-American roots was a major influence throughout my childhood and formative years. During the last Italian episode of kitchen 143, and after chatting with chefs Paolo and Alessandro from The European Diner, I realized how some dishes of conviviality and love change when interpreted in another country, with different ingredients and far from home . Of course, these same dishes also take on a different meaning when modified and adapted to Filipino taste buds!

Take the dish that so many of us know and love and that has been prepared in many different ways around the world. It can be argued that there really is only one authentic way to prepare spaghetti carbonara (especially if you are of Italian descent), but for foodies around the world, this dish has been interpreted and prepared in many different ways to please palates of all kinds .

COOKS. Paolo and Alessandro in The European diner located in Uptown Shopping Mall, BGC. Photo by Michelle Aventajado

Funny, when I approached the chefs Paolo and Alex, the first thing we talked about was carbonara. They were quite passionate about how a proper carbonara should be made, much like I was passionate about the Italian-American dishes I would cook when I first moved to Manila. From this conversation I knew that we had to feature this dish in the first episode of our Italian series.

AUTHENTIC. With just four ingredients, Spaghetti Carbonara offers the rich and earthy flavors of an authentic Italian dish. Photo by TED.BGC

Much like other dishes native to a particular region, authentic carbonara starts with the simplest of ingredients and is few in number. It’s a dish that’s more about quality than quantity and can be prepared in minutes with very little fanfare. All you need is guanciale, egg yolk, pecorino romano, ground black pepper and spaghetti.

Spaghetti carbonara
Chef Paolo Durante

120 grams of spaghetti
2 egg yolks
60 grams of guanciale
50 grams of Pecorino Romano cheese
Black ground pepper

Cut the guanciale into bite-sized pieces.
Fry in a coated pan and allow the meat to “sweat”. That means it cooks in its fat without using any extra oil.
Boil salted water (10 g of rock salt per liter of water).
For the sauce, beat the egg yolks, pecorino cheese and black pepper until thick and creamy.
Once the guanciale is crispy, separate from the fat and allow to cool individually.
When the fat has cooled, add to the creamy egg mixture for extra flavor.
By now the water should be boiling.
Toss your spaghetti in the water, making sure to cook it perfectly al dente.
When ready, add the spaghetti to the pan with the guanciale, add the eggs and cream and let the magic happen.
Serve immediately.

“The ingredients are simple,” says Paolo Durante, “and weren’t always easy to find.” Over the years, his visits and vacations led to him eventually settling in Manila and eventually opening TED at Uptown Mall, BGC . Along with its partner Alessandro Sbraga, The European Diner prides itself on offering a place of calm in the midst of a pandemic. Using quality ingredients and a touch of shared history as Roman neighbors and friends, they craft a menu that is casual and enjoyable for their guests while also providing a place to let off steam and enjoy an Aperol Spritz after a day of WFH.

TIRAMISU. Stocking up on pantry essentials makes it quick and easy to prepare meals using imported Italian ingredients. This instant tiramisu kit saves time and effort and is impressive when entertaining a small group. Photo of Oriental Merchants Inc.

Simple ingredients that are now easier to find here in Manila can certainly help home cooks take the dishes we serve to our families to a higher level as they crave a more authentic Italian experience. These include durable pantry staples like a variety of pasta and canned tomatoes, canned vegetables, and even simpler options for making popular Italian desserts that are adored by kids and adults alike. Household names available through distributors such as Oriental merchants source produce from Italy and Spain, making it even easier to create meals that are fun and nutritious.

CHEESE. Using fresh, locally sourced ingredients can evoke new memories of favorite restaurant dishes. Fresh mozzarella and burrata are available through Casa del Formaggio. Photo by Michelle Aventajado

Fresh Italian cheese options are now available nationwide through local brands like Casa del Formaggio. Since 2014, the married couple and business partners Isabelle and Francesco Patron have been supplying many of the Italian restaurants we all know with fresh and aged cheese. Cheese is, of course, an integral part of Italian cuisine and cuisine, opening up layers of flavor that complement any dish that chefs can create at home.

Celebrate Italian Cinema at MOVIEMOV 2022: An Interview with Fabia Bettini

Perhaps with the new availability of imported and locally sourced goods leading to more authentic dining and meal preparation experiences at home, it just isn’t enough for those of us who enjoy all things Italian. The place to continue learning and exploring Italian culture and language is at Filipino-Italian Club in Makati. This foundation focuses on educational efforts on arts, music and culture, providing learning opportunities for both Filipinos and Italians who have made the Philippines their home.

If you’re looking to start a new learning experience that’s fun for the whole family, this recipe from Chef Paolo will help you make your favorite Italian meal while enjoying the Italian film festival at home. – Rappler.com


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