Okay, here we go. I’ve read through Edmonton Cooks recipes, closed my eyes, and flipped to a random page. Just kidding, who am I to do things on a whim?For confidence purposes, I’ve chosen to do Izakaya Tomo‘s Udon Carbonara as my first recipe. It’s not the easiest recipe in the cookbook by any means, but it’s one that I’m most comfortable with and anxious to cook!
Pros: It contains noodles, Joe’s favourite food group. It utilizes common ingredients: bacon, eggs, cheese. It’s quick, easy, and can be eaten for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. It’s easily divided into single portions or cooking for two, the math works out well.
Cons: None. I guess it’s high in calories. Pft, who cares? Let’s do it.
- Udon, frozen or pantry
- Parmesan Reggiano
- Light cream (10%)
- Egg yolks
- Fresh parsley
Any grocery store. Literally.
The dish is a Japanese twist on Spaghetti Carbonara. It’s not common to find cream or garlic in the Italian dish, but this isn’t meant to be traditional. Udon, a thick wheat flour noodle, makes for a great pasta substitute and can be bought in the frozen section of your Asian grocery store (T&T Supermarket or Lucky 97 Supermarket) or in the dry section (Asian) of your usual grocer. I prefer buying frozen, the cooking time shorter and the noodles not as prone to breaking.
First, the recipe called to cook the udon noodles according to the package instructions and drain. This was easy enough to do while I crisped up the bacon in a frying pan. Instead of using the called for olive oil, I just let the bacon slices render down and drained the excess fat before I sautéed the onions and garlic. Mmm, bacon fat. Flavour! I added the light cream and brought it to a boil, then quickly turned down the heat to let it simmer. It didn’t take long for the sauce to thicken. At this point, I seasoned with pepper. I skipped salt because I already used salt to mince my garlic into a paste plus the Parmesan Reggiano still had to be added. I threw in half of the Parmesan Reggiano and the drained udon and quickly tossed with tongs. Taking it off the heat, I slowly poured the whisked egg yolks over top to create a smooth, glossy carbonara sauce and added the remaining cheese. Tongs are essential. And… that’s it! I divided the noodles into separate bowls, topped with more cheese and with an over the top flourish of fresh parsley, I was done dinner. Easy peasy!
It’s a dense dish. One portion of udon noodles and it was enough carbs to put me to sleep! I love how quick and easy this recipe was and it’s pretty close to Izakaya Tomo’s dish at the restaurant.For the future, I think I would buy a different brand of frozen udon, this one a touch thicker than some of the other brands. I’d also throw in more Parmagiano Reggiano and use less cream, it would thicken the sauce a touch more and hold on to the noodles a bit better. If I wanted to err more on the Italian side, I’d scrap cream all together and just use butter.
Completely unrelated to the recipe, I realized how much fun it was to pay attention to plating and photographing home cooking! I need more prep bowls. Also learned that I need way more photographs while actually cooking. Next time!
One down. 74 to go.