To avoid the madness that is usually associated with Valentines Day, we decided to do some cooking at home! We bought all our ingredients fresh from the St. Lawrence Market, Max's Market and Hot Oven Bakery. It turned out really well, especially the Spaghetti alla Carbonara.
Starter Platter (Left to Right)\
PC Cranberry and Fennel crackers: Sweet and savoury and a perfect match for any bold cheese.
La Sauvagine: My FAVOURITE CHEESE IN THE WORLD. It is a Camembert and can be found at Alex Farms Products. Incredibly soft, creamy, stinkier in flavour (than brie but still mild) - a DREAM.
Serrano Ham: Serrano Ham from Max's Market. Thinly slices of flavourful, fatty ham.
Baguette: Hot Oven Bakery White Baguette. Incredibly fresh, good flavour -- prefer Ace Bakery.
Louis Rodererer Champagne
Cristal's baby brother, as the man at the LCBO described it. Nice fruitiness but still complex.
Love celebrating with a nice bottle of champagne.
We got a variety of east and west coast. As you can see, we overdid it for two people but was still very enjoyable. Fresh from the St. Lawrence Market.
Spaghetti alla Carbonara
This recipe was recommended to me and it was featured in Saveur Magazine. The funny thing is that since I have been back from Rome, it has been incredibly difficult to find a decent Carbonara. This magazine article actually featured the Carbonara I had in Rome at La Roscioli's, which is hands down, the best plate of spaghetti I have ever had in my life.
The basis of the recipe was based on La Roscioli's and it turned out incredible. Since the recipe is SO SIMPLE, you must you high quality ingredients. Splurge and get the really nice parmigiano (not the stuff from the grocery store, go to a cheese monger). The rest of the stuff I got from St. Lawrence .. the Pancetta from Scheffler's Deli and fresh spaghetti (I don't remember the vendor's name but it is the one upstairs). You can taste the quality and freshness of the ingredients. It is incredibly savoury, rich and utterly incredible! Probably the best carbonara I have had since being home.
* Do not throw out pasta water. It is required to create a creamy, silky rendition of the sauce
* Make sure you cook pasta al dente (approx 4 minutes with fresh)
* Timing is crucial! When your hot pan mixture is cooking (before you add the eggs and parmigiano), your pasta should be just about finished, thus you can add quickly. Serve Immediately