ImPasta | Perfectly executed traditional carbonara

Carbonara is a really simple dish that is very easy to get wrong. At ImPasta, in Paceville, you can expect the very best in this traditional dish.

Do you remember when cream was an ingredient featured in carbonara in most restaurants? Thankfully this isn’t really the case anymore and while many restaurants don’t feature this delicate pasta dish at all (it’s not easy to get right consistently, especially if the restaurant is busy) there are a growing number of places doing a pretty decent job of this seemingly simple dish.

When pasta is done right, it warms your soul, when it’s not it seems like a waste of stomach room. Tiny errors can turn a beautiful dish into a disaster – a minute too long in the water, too much sauce, not enough sauce.

Making the perfect plate of pasta is a skill that the Italians have worked on for generations, spending countless hours rolling out pasta dough and passing on the tricks of the trade to younger family members. A few Italians have opened up shop offering their family secrets to the public. One that I particularly like is ImPasta. This is a pasta bar that displays 10 different types of pastas – all made in-house using the traditional methods as well more contemporary versions including different flours in the pasta making (think kamut, hemp and an ancient grain only grown in western Sicily, timilia).

After selecting the pasta, your next choice is the sauce, or, as I did, the other way around… sauce first, followed by your choice of pasta. I had heard from a number of foodie friends about how good the carbonara is at Impasta so deciding on what meal to go for easy. My only decision, really, was they type of pasta to go for and on the advice of their friendly staff, I went for tagliatelle.

My mum, who is trying to broaden her restaurant horizons and often accompanies me on restaurant reviews, went for buccatini with amatriciana – two classic Italian recipes.

While we waited for our pasta, we snacked on tomato bruschetta – simple toast with local tomatoes and good extra virgin olive oil. No fuss, just good ingredients. This was a good sign for what was to come.

When the food arrived we were certainly not disappointed. The carbonara was creamy, without even a hint of cream and perfectly seasoned with pecorino and guanciale, just as the traditional Italian recipe dictates. Similarly, the amatriciana is made with guanciale, though this is in a rich tomato sauce.

We decided to skip dessert to savour the taste of that perfect plate of pasta, knowing we’ll be back again and again. Though Paceville is not the kind of place I want to be around in the evening, this makes a perfect lunch spot when you’re in the mood for some traditional Italian pasta.

What I ate

Tomato bruschetta

Tagliatelle carbonara

Total: €15.40

Address: 8, Triq Dobbie, St Julian’s

Tel: 2713 7534

Opening hours: Monday – Thursday 12:00 – 22:30; Friday – Sunday 12:00 – 23:30