Well, we’ve dumped our ISP. They came back on line on Tuesday with a really, really weak apology, something to the affect of “we’re sorry for any inconvenience the outage has caused…” What?! They went dark with no notice and there was no way to contact anyone. Their business office is about a mile from my house and there was no one in the office, the doors were locked, and no communications, even to their parent company’s home office in California. Oh, the irony of that was, their parent company, Next Phase Wireless, answered the sales extension with a human who had no information, but the technical support extension was greeted with, “all circuits are busy”!!!!
In any case I am able to post again. My blog is hosted elsewhere which is why the blog was still up, but I had no Internet access except from work and I could not do blog work there. That could be trouble.
This post has me most proud though, especially after Claudia busted my chops for the lasagna rolls. You see, I had poked her at her site about making her own pasta and then here I was using dried noodles. Methinks me a hypocrite. I got pasta attachments for my KA mixer at Christmas and have yet to use them. Until now that is. Let me tell you, it was extremely easy and the pasta was noticeably different, and by that I mean much better. The texture and the flavor were definitely superior to that of my normal 12 year-shelf-life dried pasta I buy in the super market. A huge difference! I am not just drinking the do-everything-yourself Kool-Aid here people, I mean it, it is much better. And so very easy.
It took, all total, about thirty minutes to make the dough, roll the dough, cut the spaghetti, and get it on the drying racks. Thirty minutes! It is worth it.
So what better way to inaugurate my attachments than to relieve them from their garage captivity, and make a classic dish that I have never made before; spaghetti alla carbonara? It seemed like a fairly easy dish to compose. Since I had recently purchased a nice sampler package from La Quercia which included some really nice guanciale, the traditional meat in carbonara, I figured this had to be done.
So, please try your hand at making pasta. If I can do it, most anyone can. I give you my interpretation of spaghetti alla carbonara con pasta fresca.
I’ve seen various spaghetti carbonara recipes. Some had parsley, some had cream, some had garlic, some had all of those. I chose to do what I read was a tradional “bacon and eggs” version.
Make the pasta:
3 large fresh eggs (the fresher the better)
2 cups unbleached flour (I’ll experiment with others like semolina another time)
To the mixing bowl, add the flour.
Attach the dough paddle and add the eggs to the bowl.
Drop the paddle and begin mixing on two.
Mix until the flour is incorporated and a dough ball has formed. You want the dough to be firm, not sticky, but not completely dry.
Remove the dough ball to a floured surface and knead into a ball.
Cut the ball into thirds.
Take one of the balls, making sure to keep the other two covered with a towel and flatten it down with the palm of your hand.
With the roller attachment set to 1, the largest opening, turn the mixer to 2 and begin feeding the dough through the roller.
When it comes out, place the dough back on the board, dust it lightly with flour, and fold into thirds, like a business letter, creating a rectangle.
Feed the dough through again. Repeat the folding process and feed again. You’ll want to fold over any jagged edges to make them uniform.
Once the dough has become soft, turn the dial down one and repeat. Repeat on each number until you get the desired thickness. I stopped at 5.
Repeat the rolling process with the other two dough balls.
Attach the spaghetti cutter and put feed the pasta strips through.
Put the spaghetti onto a floured cutting board, lightly dust, and separate. Then hang them on a rack, hanger, or set them on a towel in a bird’s nest configuration.
On to the sauce…
6 large fresh eggs
1 lb guanciale (pancetta or bacon)
1 1/2 cups pecorino cheese (Parmigiano-Reggiano will work too)
lots of pepper
salt to taste
Give the guanciale a nice dice.
Beat the eggs and add 1 cup of the cheese. Whisk in salt and a good amount to black pepper twists.
In a large skillet, render the guanciale.
Once the meat is crisp has given up it’s fat, you can pour some of it off, but I wouldn’t. Guanciale fat tastes really good in this. Remove from heat.
This is optional, but I put a large ceramic bowl into the oven on warm for combining the pasta and the eggs.
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. When boiling, add the pasta. Boil for 2 1/2 to 3 minutes. It’s fresh remember?
Drain pasta and keep the pasta water. You’ll need this.
In the warm bowl, add the pasta.
Temper the eggs by slowly, slowly mixing in a small ladle of the warm pasta water.
Add the eggs and cheese mixture to the pasta and quickly begin tossing. I found using two wooden spoons working from the 3 and 9 positions works really well. If the sauce is too thick, add a bit of the pasta water to thin.
Add in the meat and toss.
Add to pasta bowls and top with some of the reserved cheese.