Fresh pasta carbonara

An overabundance of yard eggs (not mine; I’m still sadly chicken-free) inspired me to make a batch of fresh pasta.  Now, prior to this, I’d made fresh pasta a grand total of ONE time (read about it here).  But I still have many kilos of Caputo “00” flour staring me in the face, along with those eggs, so I decided to give it a shot.

Whaddaya know?  The second time was certainly a charm.  On the first go-round, I was burdened with pasta-making theory culled from a variety of cookbooks.  This time, I just dumped two eggs into my stand mixer along with 1-3/4 cup Caputo 00 flour, and I let the mixer knead it until it looked cohesive (about 7-10 minutes; I really wasn’t watching the clock).  After giving the dough a few turns by hand, I let it rest for 30 minutes to relax the gluten.  The rested dough was divided into six, then I rolled the pasta to thickness #6 with my KitchenAid pasta roller.  A quick swap of accessories, and I cut the flour-dusted sheets into a pile of spaghetti (and a little fettucini).

With impeccable timing, my better half showed up and suggested that the spaghetti become carbonara.  The stars were aligned in his favor, as I had an abundance of good eggs, a chunk of guanciale, and plenty of Pecorino, Parmesan, and black pepper.  No, I don’t use cream or butter in my carbonara:  fresh eggs and good cheese make the dish far rich enough without it.  Even if you don’t have fresh pasta, this carbonara is a treat.  It is adapted from David Downie’s Spaghetti alla Carbonara recipe in Cooking the Roman Way; I have adjusted the egg and cheese ratios to my personal taste.

Pasta carbonara

  • 2-4 quarts water
  • 1/3 cup of finely diced guanciale (pancetta or even ordinary bacon will do in a pinch)
  • 2 whole eggs and 1 egg yolk
  • 1/4 cup finely grated quality Parmigiano Reggiano cheese (reserve 2 T for garnish)
  • 1/4 cup finely grated Pecorino Romano cheese (reserve 2 T for garnish)
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 8 oz fresh spaghetti (or dried, if that’s what you have)
Bring water to a rolling boil in a stockpot.  Keep it at a boil, awaiting the pasta.  Meanwhile, saute guanciale in a nonstick skillet over medium heat; it will release a great deal of fat.  Continue cooking it until it is dark golden brown, then turn off the heat.  Allow the skillet to cool for several minutes and pour off all but a tablespoon of the guanciale fat.  In a bowl, combine eggs and egg yolk, grated cheeses, and a generous grinding of black pepper.  Pour this mixture into the warm skillet, stirring to incorporate the crispy guanciale bits.  Add the pasta to the boiling water; cook fresh pasta for 2-3 minutes (or according to package instructions for dried pasta).  Once spaghetti is al dente, drain it and quickly add the hot pasta to the skillet containing the egg mixture.  Stir and fold the pasta, ensuring that each strand is well coated.  Cover and let stand 2-3 minutes.  Portion onto individual plates and garnish with reserved cheeses and additional black pepper.
NOTE:  I do not salt the pasta water or the egg mixture as my guanciale is quite salty.

8 thoughts on “Fresh pasta carbonara

  1. That sounds soooo good! I used to make Carbonara with thick sliced bacon all the time. I’ve never had the patience to make my own pasta though! Good job!

  2. With a stand mixer, the pasta doesn’t require much patience at all. 5 minutes of kneading, 30 minutes’ resting, and you’re ready to roll it out.

  3. Carbonara is one of my most favorite pasta dishes ever. I need to get the pasta attachment for the mixer so I can make my own pasta. Nice post, Celeste, you’ve inspired me.

    • I initially bought the single roller & two cutter combination, but now I’m wishing I’d sprung for the big “pasta excellence” set. It contains a roller, multiple cutters, and a (gasp!) ravioli filler!

  4. Too many restaurants have turned this dish into an overly-creamy alfredo-ish stew. “Carbonara” means coal miner, a group of folks who’re not known for the lavishness of their ingredients; cooking,sure, but not rich ingresients. I’m delighted to see the dish (one of our go-to dinners) presented in it’s proper style.

    • I hear ya regarding the inferiority of creamy, over-sauced carbonara. If it’s not covered in “carbonara” (black pepper “coal specks”), then it’s NOT carbonara. On the Alfredo front, poor old Alfredo must be rolling in his grave over the goopy bastardizations of his simple pasta preparation.

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