Tuesday, February 8, 2011


This may be my greatest cooking feat. Ever. I mean, deep frying was a lot of work but this...this was...laborious.  

For the un-Italians out there, that means basically long, flat pasta with a white sauce with enough cheese, eggs and bacon to kill you. Also known as my dad's absolute food. So it was a labor of love. He brought me a special recipe and insisted I use THAT one and no other. It was from old cook book. He kept copies of the page in his work bench in the basement...? It is just that important to him. So I worked hard, and followed that recipe (x2) and made him that pasta. It actually came out really, really well!

Now listen, before you think I am being dramatic let me clarify something. When I say I MADE the fettuccine carbonara, I don't mean I cooked some pasta and put sauce on it. I mean I, crazy Italian that I am, MADE, as in not out of a box, from scratch the pasta. And then the fancy sauce. Oh. Yes. I. Did.

Recently my mom has been really into pasta making. She bought a pasta machine and she and her slaves the kids have been cranking out mass amounts of pasta dough. Works out well, because they find cranking the handle on the machine to be fun.

I announced last week that I would be making pasta on Monday. I thought that implied that they would help me. It is really a multiple person job, involving rolling, feeding it into a machine, while turning a handle, while catching it to it doesn't stick to itself as it comes out. But, instead my mom showed me how it was done, and then she and all the handle-crankers went of to a birthday party. And I ended up alone. Making pasta by hand for AN HOUR AND A HALF! (then another hour on sauce and stuff) Oh. my.

But I did it. And I made some banging sauce too (with a pesto option for the dairy intolerant/vegetarians amongst us). Let me walk you through it. Warning, this will be a long post. Lots of pictures, as it was a LONG process.

 To make the dough, first you need 2 cups of flour (we used regular, but you could use semolina), 4 eggs, little oil, little salt. (I made 2 batches to feed the family of 10)
 Incorporate the flour into the eggs, slowly and carefully.
 Until it all begins to come together into dough.
Then you kneed it for ten minutes.
Plastic wrap it and let it rest for a half hour.
 Then the long process of cutting off small chunks of dough, making it into a rectangle and feeding it through the pasta machine 11 or 12 times. Each time. Lots of handle cranking.

 This would be why you want someone to catch it. This is what sticking looks like.
 then after you have big flat sheets, you put it through the cutting side. Boom. It is suddenly fettuccine.
*my beast at cooking little sister, modeling the pasta before she left me.

 Then, sheet by sheet, piece by piece, you lay it all out (on more flour) to dry for a lil bit.
*Seriously, just look at that flock of pasta I made. WHOA.
 After a little drying you twist it into "nests" (which I think are really cute). This is just to make cooking easier later. Can't do it all at once or you'll have a sticky mess.
WE ARE NOW DONE WITH THE PASTA MAKING. Just have to cook it later. Now onto the sauce...*that'd be the carbonara part...

a lot of delicious cheese + a cheese grater (which is seriously one of the things I fear most on planet earth.)
 = over 2 cups of cheese grated (and I have all my fingers and skin!)

 Then to take 4 eggs and 4 eggs yolks (remember I doubled the recipe. In case you like cholesterol, I used a total of 16 eggs in the making of dinner. YEAH!) and beat them up. Then put 1 cup of cheese into it (other cup sprinkled on finished dish later), mix it up, and set it aside.

Then in a sauce pan combine (simmer) 2 cups of heavy whipping cream and a tablespoon of bacon fat (oh yum...). Heat up. Keep warm for later.
The recipe didn't have nutmeg, but my dad swears this is a secret ingredient that will make or break the whole dish. So into the heavy cream went a teaspoon of nutmeg.

In another bowl (no picture) soften and smush 8 tablespoons (whole stick) of butter. 
*oh yeah. this dish is so good for you!

Bacon (which normally you would cook first. But my dad did it for me Sunday night. Also where the bacon fat came from). Cut up. Ready to toss in later. Also a cup or so of frozen peas is optional. We chose that option.

NOW! It is time (after like 2 hours) to bring it all together. Go get your pasta nests. Bowl a beastly pot of water. Get something like a deep-frying basket; the pasta takes like 1 minutes to cook. Drop it in, pull it out. I did like 2 or 3 nests at a time so it wouldn't stick. 

Pull it out, and drop into a big serving bowl that has your cream/bacon fat mixture in it. Grab yourself and assistant and have them toss that all together, also slowly adding in the raw eggs (which cook as they hit the hot pasta) and softened butter. Continue this until you have cooked all your little nests and tossed them into the sauce. Add in bacon pieces and peas. Pepper. More tossing.


I am pretty proud of myself. It was a lot of work, but it came out well. My dad, the ultimate judge on this dish, approved.

*and in  case you are worried about the sister with the dairy allergy and my mom and I who are vegetarians, we ate fettuccine with pesto/pistachio sauce on it. Also good. But much less work.

Not only did my dad approve, but so did everyone else...including the Ethiopian baby! They ate it all up!


I feel like I have done a great work. I learned how to make pasta. I did it. I made my dad his favorite dish successfully. And now I won't be doing it for a long time...or at least until April when my dad's bday comes around...


Ellie said...

oooohhh, i'm hungry! that looks sooooooo good! you are definitely awesomebella! :)

Ellie said...

by the way, I love your new look! It's wonderful on you! :)

Ashley said...

you made this? you make it look so easy!!!! i could never! looks delicous :)


Related Posts with Thumbnails