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cooking at home – La Gourmandista

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Etiqueta: cooking at home

My Best Spaghetti Carbonara Recipe

This is the season when I take advantage and eat pasta without any guilt whatsoever with the excuse that my body will take care of burning the additional calories due to the cold weather and my ballet class (but I haven’t been attending regularly, oopsie!) Anyhow, since this is probably the dish I am mostly disappointed at when I go to Italian restaurants, I decided to prepare it a few days ago at home, since they will add heavy cream to the sauce, and to my knowledge, carbonara sauce does not have it in Italy. The creaminess is achieved through the egg yolks, the pasta cooking liquid, and the pasta itself.

Hence, I share this dish because it’s one of my Winter favorites, and since I’ve heard people say that once you convert to eating fresh pasta you can’t go back, and I truly believe it, here is the recipe I prepare at home. I know, however, that there may be many fresh pasta recipes out there.

Spaghetti Carbonara

Fresh pasta with carbonara sauce is proof that a pasta dish changes radically whenever it's homemade.

  • Chopping board
  • Chef's Knife
  • Big Bowl
  • Small bowl
  • Plastic wrap
  • Rolling Pin
  • Pasta machine with cutter (if you don't have one, you may use the rolling pin and cut with a knife)
  • Sheet tray
  • Big sauté pan or medium sauce pan
  • Medium Pot
  • Spatula
  • Spider or clotted spoon
  • Cheese shredder

For the Pasta:

  • 100 g Italian-style ’00’ flour
  • 100 g semolina flour 
  • 2 eggs
  • 150 ml olive oil
  • Bench flour and/or semolina to manipulate the fresh pasta dough

For the Carbonara Sauce:

  • 200 g Parmesan cheese (grated)
  • 150 g bacon (diced)
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 1 whole egg
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 pinch nutmeg (*optional)

For the Pasta:

  1. In a large bowl make a well with the semolina flour and the Italian-style flour. Add the eggs, and the olive oil to the center of the well and incorporate all of the ingredients working from the inside out being careful not to over work the dough. Use your hands.

  2. Shape it into a ball and put some plastic wrap around it. Let it rest for around 30 minutes.
  3. Once it has rested, flatten it out a little with the rolling pin, and then start to flatten the dough with the help of a pasta machine. Flatten the dough out going from number 0 to whichever thickness you desire (I flatten only to number 4) and then cut it into spaghetti. To avoid the spaghetti to stick together, set it in a sheet tray with some semolina and/or all-purpose flour. It'll help the spaghetti keep its texture and form.

For the Carbonara Sauce:

  1. Sauté the bacon previously cut into small pieces in a sauté pan. I highly recommend a large pan or a medium saucepan, since you will have to add the pasta later on in the preparation.

  2. In a bowl, mix in the egg yolks, the egg, the freshly grated Parmesan cheese, and the pepper. Whisk it until the sauce becomes creamy.
  3. Cook the pasta previously cut into spaghetti in a pot with salted boiling water. Since it’s fresh pasta, please remember that the cooking time will be much shorter than if the pasta would come out of a box. Therefore, in the case of spaghetti it will be of just a few seconds.
  4. Whenever the pasta has been cooked, add it into the sauté pan where the bacon is getting fried and sauté the spaghetti for a moment.
  5. Add some of the cooking liquid as well as the egg and cheese sauce. Mix it all and verify seasoning with salt and pepper should it be necessary. You may want to add a little nutmeg as well.

  6. Lastly, serve the dish and sprinkle some additional cheese and/or freshly ground pepper. I hope it’s dreamy, since I find quite a bit.
carbonara, from my kitchen, Homemade, Italian food, Pasta, spaghetti

A Small Step, but My Own Giant Leap

Since I was 8 years old, I found my special place at our home’s kitchen. And even until last December, I was just a small home cook passionate about eating well at preparing good food for my people in order to pamper them, to treat us, to share it with our friends and adorn our table, but moreover, it was for me, to enjoy myself, to de-stress. I was an expat who had to find a way in order to recreate the flavors from a faraway land which we missed and learn how to mix it with the new ones.

Firstly, I learned how to make tortillas. Before, I just had to go and buy them. Then, I searched for specific recipes for things I wanted to prepare, such as pan de muerto for the Day of the Dead, or Rosca de Reyes for Epiphany, or even tamales for February 2 to celebrate Candlemas. Lastly, I was courageous enough to prepare dishes from our new home, and I did so with a Quiche Lorraine just the way Mrs. Guyon (or Mamie Gigi for the grandchildren, a.k.a the mother of our dear friend Stéphane) does it, and then even a pot of Bœuf Bourguignon according to the instructions in the cookbook of the very important French Chef, Mr. Paul Bocuse. And it was just then, when I realized I was living in the Mecca of world gastronomy, and therefore decided to follow upon a childhood dream which I had ignored for almost 20 years.

The beginning was more than 8 months ago, and I can’t find any word which may better describe my passage by the kitchens of Le Cordon Bleu than a whole adventure in itself. I thought I had come to learn French Cuisine, and in fact, I learnt everything again from scratch. How to hold a Chef’s Knife and take care of any product since the very first Lemon Sole I found myself in front of, and which I had to cut to obtain its filets. A few months later, I was capable of deboning a whole chicken almost without any tears. I got to know new products and learned the difference between a jus and a sauce. Towards the end of the journey, I even had the courage to create new recipes.

And even when there has been a lot of acquisition, I am sure this is just the beginning. I have to keep on working, training myself to master it all. Evidently, I would have loved more training, more theory, more direction in plating, and more hours dedicated to matching wines with different plates, but professions are not just learned at school. One has to fly to become a pilot.

Life brought me to Paris for a specific reason, and while walking my own path, I chose to live this amazing culinary adventure. The diversity of nationalities found in the group of students made the classes richer, but thanks to most of the Instructor Chefs being French and evidently holding on to the savoir-faire of their ancestors, the training became unique in its class.