Each week on the Food Chain, we ask a chef to describe a dish he or she recently enjoyed. The chef who prepared the dish responds and then picks his or her own memorable meal. On and on it goes. Last week, Incanto chef-partner Chris Consentino discussed chorizo-stuffed dates with Avec’s Koren Grieveson. Go for it, Grieveson.
Who: Koren Grieveson, chef de cuisine, Avec
What: Belgian hangover pasta
Where: Resto, New York
“I love the Belgian hangover pasta that Bobby Hellen makes at Resto in New York. It’s pasta with a little bit of ham, Gruyère cheese, and black pepper — kind of his version of a carbonara. I had brunch there; it’s a quintessential, perfect New York brunch. A beautiful spot, the Belgian beer hall feel of the place — everything was perfect. I may have been hung-over, I don’t really recall, but pasta, cheese, ham done well, a little bit of egg — it’s perfect. And Bobby’s just a really phenomenal chef, really humble. I just love what he’s doing there.”
Resto owner Christian Pappanicholas responds:
“When I opened the restaurant, I asked friends what their mothers used to make them. A good Belgian friend of mine remembered asking his mom to make him spaghetti with ham and cheese and put a fried egg on top when he was out drinking the night before. Technically, he could have been 14, but let’s call him in the late high-school–early college days. We took that as the Belgian hangover pasta. It’s a take on a classic carbonara: dried spaghetti with Vermont Smoke and Cure ham, eighteen-month aged Gruyère, and a farm egg. Typically cheese on heat is not the great thing, but if you take some of the pasta water and emulsify some of the fat coming off the ham, once you start to toss the cheese in, the Gruyère melts really well. Another cheese would get lumpy. You want that creaminess. It’s served lunch and brunch. You need something with acid to drink with it — a clean, fresh beer like a Belgian Gouden Carolus Tripel — because it is a gut-wrenching dish. But pasta for breakfast is the way to go if you’ve been drinking the night before.”