Host a Dinner Party, Featuring a Carbonara Pasta Recipe
We love being the hostesses, especially when food is involved. I mean, don’t get me wrong, we definitely enjoy a good dinner out on the town too, but you can’t beat gathering a really great group of friends at someone’s home for an awesome meal. It’s much cheaper than going out, you don’t have to wait for your server to roll around to get another glass of wine, and there’s a level of relaxation you just don’t get at a resto. Plus, a dinner party is pretty easy to pull together quickly – so if you wake up with no plans then send your pals a text and put that apron on.
When it comes to organizing a dinner party, you can go a couple of different routes: a full on potluck, delegation of different courses or wow your pals by making every course solo. We’ve done each kind, and they’re all fun for different reasons. It’s also fun to do your own rendition of Chopped, where everyone has to make a dish with one ingredient (i.e. peanut butter) and see who’s comes out the best.
For our dinner party, we made a twist on a classic pasta dish: carbonara. If you’re not familiar with carbonara then you’re definitely missing out. It’s an Italian pasta dish from Rome made with egg, hard cheese (usually Pecorino Romano), guanciale (cured pork cheek) or pancetta and black pepper. It’s this simplicity that makes it so delicious – and the treatment of the egg. Traditional carbonara uses hot water from the pasta mixed with the egg and cheese to create a creamy sauce for the spaghetti. It takes careful technique to get this right, otherwise you’re having scrambled eggs and pasta for dinner (which would prob still be pretty good, but far less impressive). Our boy Jamie Oliver gives a great crash course on carbonara here.
But time to give you the lowdown on our carbonara, which was far less traditional. Carbonara is super heavy, so we created a fresher, Canadian take on the dish by swapping out guanciale for smoked trout and adding in a tarragon hemp pesto. We also finished the dish with an egg yolk, which can be immediately stirred into the hot pasta upon serving to create that creamy finish – but that part is totally optional.
- Spaghetti (we used fresh pasta – see our pasta making tutorial here if you wanna go this route)
- Smoked trout, shredded into pieces
- Butter (about 1 tbs per serving)
- Tarragon Hemp Pesto (recipe down below)
- Fresh tarragon leaves (about 2 stems per serving)
- Egg yolks (optional)
- Pecorino Romano (for garnishing/offering at the table)
- Salt & Pepper
For the Tarragon Hemp Pesto:
*recipe makes enough for three people, double or triple based on your group size
- 1/2 cup of olive oil
- 5-6 fresh tarragon stems
- 1 handful of arugula (or approx. 1 cup, packed)
- 3 tbs of hemp hearts
- 2 tbs of Pecorino Romano
- Juice of 1 lemon
- 1 clove of fresh garlic (or 2 tsp minced garlic)
- 1 tsp of honey
- 1 tsp of ground pepper.
- Food processor
- Start by making the Tarragon Hemp Pesto. Add all of the ingredients to a food processor and pulse until combined. Taste and add more of any of the ingredients to suit your liking.
- Next, boil water and cook the pasta (don’t forget to salt the water).
- While the pasta is cooking, add the butter to a large skillet and cook on medium heat until melted. Next, add the smoked trout and sauté for a minute or two, until the edges are a touch crispy.
- Strain the pasta and immediately add it to the skillet along with the Tarragon Hemp Pesto and stir to combine.
- Make sure the pasta mixture is hot Serve the pasta in bowls, making a small nest/indentation in the middle.
- Add a fresh, raw egg yolk into the centre and immediately serve, instructing your guests to stir their dish to combine the yolk while it’s hot. This is what will add a nice, creamy texture – though it’s totally optional. If you’re going this route it helps to have a kitchen buddy/sous chef who can immediately add the yolk once you hand off the pasta bowl.
Now, it wouldn’t be a dinner party without drinks. A Sauvignon Blanc works well with this dish, but after dinner we recommend serving up an Amaretto Sour. It’s a classic, sweet cocktail that is delicious enough to replace dessert, or works well paired with a dessert. You can grab our recipe here.
Dinner Party Vibes
Kick your dinner party into high gear with this upbeat mix. It’s chill enough to fade into the background and bumpin’ enough to be the star of the night.