Homemade Pasta Carbonara

carbonara3In 2015, we went on a trip to Italy & Turkey. After eating our way through Rome, we became mildly obsessed with fresh pasta. So we got the pasta attachments for our stand mixer and have been trying to master making pasta from scratch ever since. The first time we attempted homemade pasta, we decided to make carbonara to go with it. It was so good that I honestly don’t think we’ve made pasta without carbonara since. But this dinner is exactly why we made this blog! We’ve done things slightly different each time, with obviously slightly different results. And we can never remember what alterations improved (or didn’t improve…) the final dish!  Hopefully this will remedy the situation.

Generally when we make this, Ally is responsible for the pasta, and Selim is responsible for the carbonara itself. For the pasta, we make the dough fresh and by hand, and then use rolling and cutting attachments for our stand mixer to create the pasta. If you don’t own said attachments (go get them!), you can roll and cut the pasta by hand. I have no knowledge or ability to do such a thing, but allegedly it can be done ;).

Cheese: Try using other styles of cheese.  Any hard cheese will work well here.  Obviously, traditional carbonara has only Italian cheese (Parmesan and/or Pecorino), but this version isn’t 100% authentic by any means. Some of our favorites for carbonara include: aged mahon, manchego, and asiago.  In the future, we’d like to try a hard Swiss or sharp cheddar.  Play around with the cheeses to find out which combos you like best!

This meal begs for wine to accompany it. Tonight we drank Stone Mountain Vineyard’s 2011 Merlot.

Homemade Pasta Carbonara

(Our recipe is adapted & combined from several sources: The Cook’s Book, 400 Sauces, & KitchenAid’s insert that accompanied our pasta attachments.)
Ingredients: 
  • 1 1/3 cups of all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 6 eggs, divided
  • 6 strips of bacon or pancetta
  • 1 onion, finely diced
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced/pressed
  • 2 tbsp olive oil (try turffle oil for a different flavor)
  • 8oz hard Italian cheese (Parmesan, Pecorino), shredded
  • Fresh ground black pepper
Instructions: 
  1. Start by making the pasta dough. On a clean, dry counter-top, mix together the flour and salt and form it into a volcano (a mound with a crater scooped out in the middle). Crack two eggs into that center well/crater.
  2. Using a fork, slowly mix the egg into the flour. Try to keep the eggs within the crater, pulling in more and more flour. (If you fail, don’t worry, life will go on.) Once the egg is mixed into the flour enough that it’s not trying to run away anymore, switch to use your hands. Fold together until well combined. [You made need an extra dusting of flour if the dough is wet and sticky, or to wet your hands if it’s a bit dry.]
  3. Continue kneading the dough, stretching and folding, for at least 5 and up to 10 minutes. By this point, the dough should be smoother and elastic, so that you can form into a ball. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap. Allow to sit for at least 30 minutes, and up to two hours. pasta2
  4. Once the dough has set, roll out and divide into quarters. Using the pasta roller attachment on the stand mixer, flatten out (#5 if using KitchenAid’s model). Let the flattened dough rest on a floured surface. Then cut into your desired type of noodles using that attachment. [Follow your particular pasta roller/cutter’s instructions for doing these things.] Tip: keep your hands and the surface of the dough lightly floured during this process.
  5. If you have two people, the other person can start preparing the carbonara while one is working on the pasta. If not, finish working with the pasta and set aside on a floured surface and begin to work on the carbonara.
  6. Slice the bacon into lardons. In a deep sauté pan, or a sauteuse pan (I just learned the name of this!), cook the bacon over medium-high heat. Top with five turns of a pepper grinder. Once the bacon has released much of its fat and is becoming crispy, add the onions to the pan. Cook for ~5 minutes and then add the garlic to the pan. Continue cooking another ~2 minutes and then turn the burner off, leaving the pan on the burner.
  7. Meanwhile, bring a pot of water to a boil. Add the fresh pasta to the boiling water. Cook for only  two minutes!! Strain.
  8. Add the pasta once strained to the pan of bacon, onion, and garlic. Stir a few times to mix.
  9. In a large bowl, whisk the remaining four eggs vigorously with the olive oil. Then add 7oz of the cheese, continuing to whisk together. Top with another five turns of the pepper mill.
  10. Stir the cheese/egg mixture into the pot of noodles. Toss to thoroughly coat the noodles. Serve immediately, topped with the remaining cheese and another bit of pepper if desired.

carbonara2

Makes 2 very large individual servings, or 4 non-fat-American-sized servings.
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