Pasta carbonara

Reading a post the other day made me hungry. Really hungry. I haven’t had cabonara for ages, I’m not a big pasta fan but bacon in a dish always helps. Having read the excellent foodboozeandreviews spaghetti carbonara recipe, I decided that we were having it for tea the next day. To make a quick dish take longer and to add complication, I decided to make my own pasta as well.

It is actually really fairly simple to make your own pasta, especially if you have a pasta maker to roll the dough with. I definitely prefer the taste but for time and ease, dried pasta is more than sufficient.

Pasta ingredients:
1 large egg per person
100g 00 flour per person
Pinch of salt and pepper

Measure the flour into a bowl with a pinch of seasonings, make a well in the centre. Lightly beat egg and place into the well. Mix together and once it starts to combine, knead for 5-10 minutes. If you have a mixer with a dough hook, you can use this once the ingredients have come together in a ball. The dough will be very dense and I often add a little olive oil to make the dough more supple and easier to manage. Once kneaded, wrap in clingfilm and put it in the fridge for half an hour or so.

You can roll out pasta by hand but I have neither the skill nor the temperament so it’s a pasta maker for me. Roll it as thin as you dare, it should be around 1mm thick.

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Carbonara ingredients:
4-5 slices bacon, sliced into strips
1 garlic cloves,  minced
2 egg
2 heaped tbsp creme fraiche
1 tbsp grated parmesan
Salt and pepper to taste

First of all fry your bacon until it’s browned, for the last minute add the minced garlic. At the same time cook your pasta, fresh pasta will take much less time than dried. Once it’s done, drain. If possible, keep a cup or so of the pasta water. It’s always useful to do this when you have pasta in any kind of sauce as the reserved water is a great way of thinning  the sauce if needed.

Mix the remaining ingredients together, the consistency should still be thick but like cream, use milk to thin a little if necessary. Make sure your frying pan is warm but not too hot. Toss the pasta and the cream in with your frying pan with the bacon. Stir quickly, you only need to heat through the sauce and you want to avoid ending up with scrambled eggs. Using creme fraiche and leaving on the heat too long means my sauce was not quite the way I wanted it, still tasty though. Top tweaks are listed below.

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Top tweaks:
Swap the bacon for pancetta
Swap the creme fraiche for double cream
Add chopped spinach or a handful of peas
Fry mushrooms at the same time as the meat
Swap bacon for smoked salmon – fry the garlic in a little butter and add the salmon at the same time as the sauce

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