Want to stay in, but eat like you’re out? Here, chef and writer Heather Platt shares recipes inspired by L.A.’s hottest restaurant dishes. We say “inspired by,” as these creations are Platt’s own and have been adapted for the home cook, using easy-to-access ingredients and techniques you can pull off in just about any kitchen—yes, even yours.
The Real Thing: Osteria La Buca is one of those great neighborhood restaurants. It’s got cocktails, an elevated Italian menu, and that certain je ne sais quoi (or however you say that in Italian) that I like to call atmosphere. That would all would be for naught, though, if the grub wasn’t good. Enter bucatini carbonara—the dish that puts the ‘buca’ in Osteria La Buca. The indulgent pile of long tubular pasta gets tossed with mascarpone, pancetta, and parmesan before being topped with cracked black pepper and a poached egg.
The Hack: Carbonara might taste like a million bucks, but it is one of the easiest and cheapest things you can make at home. Since you might not have mascarpone on hand, this version calls for more eggs. (Chances are you have eggs in the fridge, right?) Eggs whisked with parmesan will give it that beautiful creaminess. And instead of worrying about making a vortex of boiling water for poached eggs, I suggest the foolproof soft boiled egg. That drippy yellow yolk from the soft-boiled ones plopped right a top your pile of creamy pasta will have the same effect as the poached. And eating something you made that looks and tastes this perfect is priceless.
Dish Hack: Osteria La Buca’s Bucatini Carbonara
Inspired by the popular pasta dish at Osteria La Buca
Total Time: 30 minutes
1 pound bucatini pasta
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
8 ounces diced pancetta
7 eggs plus 2 egg yolks
1 1/2 cups finely grated parmesan cheese
Fresh cracked black pepper
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Bring a separate, small pot of water to a boil. Prepare an ice bath by placing ice cubes and water in a large bowl.
Heat a large sauté pan over medium-high heat. Add the olive oil and, when it is hot, add the diced pancetta. Cook, stirring occasionally until fat is rendered and slightly crispy, about 4 minutes.
Meanwhile, place 4 of the eggs in the small pot of boiling water. (Make sure the water isn’t boiling so rapidly that it breaks the eggs.) Set a timer for 6 minutes. After 6 minutes transfer the eggs to the ice bath for a 30 seconds until cool enough to peel. These eggs will be soft-boiled. (Don’t leave the soft boiled eggs in the ice bath for too long. Cold eggs are gross.)
In a metal bowl, whisk together the remaining 3 eggs and the 2 egg yolks with the grated parmesan.
Drop the bucatini into the large pot of boiling water. Cook for 6 minutes, until al dente (soft, but still firm to the bite.) Reserve 1/2 cup of the pasta cooking liquid. Transfer the bucatini to the sauté pan, turn the heat down to medium and using tongs toss the pasta with the oil and pancetta, coating every strand. As soon as the pasta is coated with oil, remove from heat and pour in the egg and cheese mixture continuing to toss with tongs to coat on all sides. If it looks dry, add a splash of the reserved cooking liquid. Season with kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper. Transfer to 4 serving plates and top each serving with a peeled soft-boiled egg. Give it all a twirl with your fork and revel in the ooze.