Carbonara with Homemade Pasta Noodles
This rich, simple pasta dish is an absolute favorite of mine. It's a quick ANY weeknight meal. It is a perfect date night dish, especially making homemade pasta noodles! Also, perfect activity for the quarantine. So, let's get into it, folks.
Starting with the pasta noodles: flour and egg. Yup, that's it. I was taught to and only use "00" flour, or "double zero," that you can find at most grocery stores. It is an extra fine and soft flour. It makes the perfect, silky noodle. If you can't find it in a grocery store or Italian market, try a bulk market or online. We recently found it at our local bulk market and it's been a game changer.
For that traditional Italian grandma experience, this is all done by hand. Pour a cup to 2 cups of "00" flour onto a clean surface, make a well, add your eggs. Slowly folding in your flour until your dough starts forming - then it's the fun part. Kneading the dough until it is smooth and bounces back when you poke it. It is extremely dry in Colorado, so my dough tends to need either an extra egg or some dashes of water per cup of flour. Let the dough tell you what to do. Incredible what you can do with just flour and egg!
For the carbonara, it's a simple technique that binds all of this magic together for a silky, creamy dish. A true carbonara is made with guanciale, instead of bacon or pancetta. But, if you can't get any, either bacon or pancetta will do. This dish is all about great eggs, fresh grated cheese, pork and pepper. It speaks for itself.
This recipe highlights how truly incredible the egg is in the culinary kitchen. This month will be all about this essential ingredient and showing you how many different ways you can use it! Egggggcellent.
Alriiiight, you won't want to miss this one -
Carbonara with Homemade Pasta Noodles
1 lb pasta
4 oz guanciale, bacon or pancetta, diced
4 large eggs
1/2 cup pecorino romano, grated
1/2 cup parmigiano reggiano, grated
ground pepper, to taste
1. Saute guanciale with a dash of oil until starting to brown. Set aside.
2. Bring about 5 quarts of water to a boil, with about 3-4 tablespoons of kosher salt. Add pasta in and cook, stirring often, until al dente. Reserve about 1 cup of pasta water. If using homemade noodles (recipe below), this will only take minutes.
3. While pasta is cooking, beat eggs and cheese together in a bowl. Strain pasta. Put guanciale back over low heat. Add 1 cup reserved pasta water. Add pasta. Turn off heat. Add egg and cheese mixture. Quickly mix together, you want to work quickly at this point so that your eggs don't turn to scrambled eggs. Ideally, the heat from the pasta will cook the eggs while mixing but remain smooth and creamy. You can always add a bit more pasta water to thin out your sauce if it becomes too thick. Serve immediately with a crack of pepper, or 5. Enjoy!!!
Handmade Pasta Noodles
2 cups "00" flour
3 large eggs
1. On a clean, flat surface add flour in a mound.
2. Make a well and crack eggs into center. Using a fork, gently beat the eggs until smooth. Slowly incorporate flour from the mound to the egg. This gets messy, but so worth it! Your dough will start to thicken up. At this point, time to get your hands dirty. Begin folding in the remaining flour to the dough. Knead your dough for about 5-10 minutes until it is smooth. To tell if your dough is ready, poke it. It should spring back after being poked. If not, keep kneading! Once ready, wrap in plastic or beeswax wrap and place in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes. This allows the dough to rest and gluten to develop.
3. Take dough out and onto floured surface. Cut into 2-4 equal pieces. Using a pasta machine, roll out you dough to the second to last OR last setting. The thinner, the better.
4. Once all your dough is rolled out. Take one at a time, fold over each other and cut pasta into strips. Repeat with remaining dough. Unravel your pasta and reveal your masterpiece! Put out on cookie sheet with flour to dry.