I lived in Tokyo for just over 5 years and I’m ashamed/proud to say that one of my favorite guilty pleasure take-aways is convenience store (“conbini” コンビニ) carbonara. To set the record straight, Japan’s convenience stores sell legit delicious food. Its not good quality or well crafted, it’s just really really tasty. Especially when you’re 25, crawling home from Ni-chome on a Saturday night/Sunday morning at 5am, dodging the sunlight (points if you get that one!)
There’s just something about it…and with the most basic ingredients. Like Kraft Mac n’ Cheese. Something you would expect to just take minutes to make for instant creamy, eggy, cheesy pleasure.
Here’s an easy recipe for making a quick Rosemary “Conbini” Carbonara Udon. I only added Rosemary bc it was staring at me from a vase on the kitchen window sill. Turned out to be pretty fancy and delicious! If you don’t like rosemary, just ommit it completely. I made my own noodles, the recipe for which I will post here soon. But you can use any noodles you want!
Rosemary コンビニ Carbonara
2 portions of Udon or Pasta (spaghetti, linguine, spetzl, whatever, as long as it’s long)
1/2 cup Peas (optional)- we do need our veg
1/2 cup diced Parma Ham (or leftover ham, prosciutto, sausage, bacon, whatever) OR Mushrooms for a vegan option.
4 cloves Garlic, peeled and sliced
2 large Eggs
4T Greek Yogurt
1/2 cup grated Parmesan (or pecorino, jack, white cheddar or whatever)
2 fresh sprigs Rosemary
Boil or microwave the peas (if using) for a couple minutes, drain, then let sit in cool water. Drain when cool.
Whisk the egg, yogurt, half of the cheese and a generous sprinkling of pepper together in a bowl until it resembles something like a cream sauce. Set aside.
Get the water for your udon (or pasta) boiling and ready to go. This all goes very fast.
Fry the garlic, ham and rosemary in a few hearty glugs of olive oil for about 5 minutes until crispy. Make sure the rosemary is well coated to infused the oil. Add the drained peas in the last 2 minutes. Take out the rosemary just before the green goes and eat the fried needles. Let sit off the heat until the pasta is ready.
When the water has boiled, cook your udon, turn off the heat, drain as much water as possible, then immediately put it back into the pot.
While the udon and the pot are still very hot, add the ham, peas and garlic mixture (including ALL the oil) as well as the egg, yoghurt and cheese mixture. Be sure the quickly stir everything in, keeping everything moving so the egg doesn’t set in big clumps. All of this is done off the heat. You are simply evenly coating the hot udon in the mixture. The heat will cook it through enough.
Season with sea salt to taste, serve immediately with the remaining cheese and enjoooooy.