Sunday, March 01, 2009

Pasta alla Gricia

I thought I had already posted the recipe for Pasta alla Gricia after my trip to Rome for new year's 2007. I thought I had gotten the recipe of David but apparently not as I can't find it either on my PC or on the blog. I however, really fancied Gricia yesterday so I researched the recipe and here is what I made yesterday:


  1. 150 gr guanciale, (this is the extremely fatty pork cheek. You can also use unsmoked bacon but that just does not quite do it for me) diced. I found guanciale of Spanish Pata Negra pork that tasted fantastic;
  2. 1 Chopped red chilli pepper;
  3. 500 gr pasta (bucatini, ziti, or spaghetti);
  4. 5 tbsp EVOO;
  5. Salt & pepper;
  6. 100 gr pecorino romano cheese, freshly grated.


  • Put the olive oil, guanciale and red pepper in a large heavy bottomed frying pan. It is important to put the ingredients into the pan cold as the role of the oil is to help render the bacon fat which is ultimately what the sauce is made of. Heat to medium heat and fry until the bacon is browned;
  • At the same time have the pasta boiling in a large quantity of salted water;
  • When the bacon is browned put a ladleful of the pasta water in the pan let evaporate and repeat until the pasta is ready;
  • Add the pasta to the pan along with 80% of the cheese and toss vigorously. Server immediately with the remaining cheese.

Blackened Black Cod

Making Nobu style blackened miso cod has always seemed rather daunting as it requires rather a lot of advance preparation. I recently came across this method which could not be simpler even though it still requires some advance preparation. The recipe uses black cod but you could use real cod or haddock. The quantities below served as a starter for seven.


  1. 8 3cm thick black cod steaks skin on approximately 1200 gr;
  2. 200 gr white miso paste;
  3. 25 ml Mirin sauce;
  4. 25 ml white wine;
  5. 1 tbsp honey (optional);


  • Whisk up the miso paste, wine and Mirin (and honey if using) until light and creamy;
  • Put the miso mixture into a ziplock bag, add the fish and make sure all the steaks are completely covered in the mixture;
  • Push all air out of the bag close it and leave the fish to marinate in for at least 12 hours in the fridge. 24 hours is better but 12 will do;
  • Line an oven tray with aluminium foil, place the black cod on top and broil in the oven for about 10 min.

Served the black cod on top of thin steamed asparagus spears that I had tossed in rapeseed oil, soy sauce, salt and pepper.

Prawn and Leek Sauce

I'm not sure this concoction really qualifies as sauce but you could easily serve it with pasta or rice. I served it yesterday on top of toasted sourdough bread as I wanted to minimize the carbohydrates on offer and that worked quite well. The quantities below served seven people as quite a generous starter.


  1. 1.5 kg leeks, washed thoroughly, quartered and chopped into 1 cm pieces;
  2. 1/2 kg peeled and cleaned prawns;
  3. 50 gr minced fresh ginger;
  4. 4 tbsp EVOO (you can substitute other oils for a different result);
  5. 1 tbsp light soy sauce (e.g. kinkoman);
  6. 1 tbsp dry sherry;
  7. Salt and pepper.


  • Heat half the olive oil in a large frying pan over high heat until smoking. Add the leaks and cook, stirring occasionally, for about 10 minutes or until the leaks begin to brown.
  • Remove the leeks from the pan and add the remaining olive oil, prawns and ginger. Cook until the prawns are almost pink then add back the leeks and season to taste. When the prawns are cooked (no gray remains) add in the soy and sherry and stir until half the liquid has evaporated, serve on your choice of carb.