Shared Plates: June 2018 Contest Winner
“Making fresh pasta is really quite simple once you have the basic recipe down,” writes Susan Lumetta, this month’s Hour Shared Plates winner. “Because the dough requires some resting time, it is a perfect weekend venture. However, I often make extra to freeze as its quick cooking time makes it ideal for a simple weeknight dinner.”
Winning the Reader’s Choice theme, Lumetta’s homemade pasta carbonara simply looked too delicious for our editors to pass up. “When you take the time to make homemade pasta, it pairs best with a simple yet flavorful sauce such as a carbonara that allows the taste and texture of the fresh pasta to still come through,” she writes.
Homemade Pasta Carbonara
Basic Homemade Pasta Dough*
2 cups all-purpose flour
Pinch of kosher or fine sea salt
3 large eggs
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
Place the all-purpose flour, salt, eggs, and olive oil in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the metal blade.
Process until the dough looks like a coarse meal that comes together when pressed into a ball. This only takes about 10-20 seconds. Do not over-process. If the dough seems overly sticky, you can add a little more flour, 1 tablespoon at a time, and process until you get the desired consistency. Likewise, you can add a little more olive oil if the dough seems too dry.
Turn the dough onto a lightly floured work surface and knead until elastic and smooth, which will take about 3-5 minutes. (Note: when you first turn the dough onto your work surface, it may seem like it’s not holding together. The dough should come together easily when you start kneading.)
Shape dough into a ball and cover with plastic wrap. Let rest for at least one hour at room temperature. (Note: you can make the pasta dough up to 1 day ahead and store in the refrigerator. If you refrigerate it, be sure to let the dough come to room temperature, which will likely take about an hour, before proceeding with the following steps).
Cut the dough into six pieces. Working with one piece at a time, flatten it into small rectangles to fit through a pasta machine. Keep the unused pasta covered in plastic wrap to avoid it drying out.
Keeping the dough lightly floured, flatten the dough and then roll the pieces through a pasta machine set at its widest opening. Keep rolling pasta through machine as progressively narrower settings, making long pasta strips. (Note: for regular pasta shapes such as fettucine or linguine, I usually go to the second to last setting, which is setting 7 on my pasta machine. If I am making a stuffed pasta, such as ravioli, I go to the narrowest setting, which is setting 8.)
Lay pasta strips on a lightly floured surface and keep covered with plastic wrap to prevent the pasta drying out. Change the pasta machine attachment to the desired pasta shape (I used the fettucine attachment) and transfer the cut fettucine to a floured baking sheet.
Cook pasta in boiling salted boiling water for about 2-3 minutes, until al dente. Drain and serve immediately.
*Note: This is my go-to pasta recipe that is versatile enough for various types of pastas shapes and uses. There are variations that I will do with additional egg yolks, semolina flour, or 00 flour for different textures and results. However, this is the recipe I reach for when you just want a basic fresh pasta.
Fresh Pasta Carbonara
1 pound fresh pasta
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
4 ounces pancetta or bacon, cubed or sliced into strips
4 garlic cloves, chopped
4 large eggs
1 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, plus more for serving
Freshly ground black pepper
Handful of fresh flat-leaf parsley hopped
Optional: Red Pepper Flakes
Note: When using fresh pasta, I start preparing this sauce before putting the pasta in the boiling water, as fresh pasta only takes approximately 2-3 minutes to cook. You will want to ensure that the pasta will be hot when the sauce is finished, as the pasta cooks the raw eggs in the sauce.
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a deep skillet over medium heat. Add the pancetta and sauté for about three minutes until the pancetta is crisp and the fat is rendered. Toss the garlic into the fat and sauté for only about 30 seconds to 1 minute to soften. Add a pinch of red pepper flakes, optional.
While the pancetta is sautéing, beat the eggs and parmesan together in a mixing bowl, whisking well to prevent lumps. Add fresh pepper.
Add the fresh pasta to the boiling salt water and cook about 2-3 minutes until al dente. Drain the pasta, reserving ½ cup of the starchy cooking water to use in the sauce, if need be.
Add the hot, drained pasta to the pan and toss to coat the in the pancetta fat and garlic. Remove the pan from the heat and pour the egg and cheese mixture into the pasta, stirring quickly until the eggs thicken, but does not scramble (Note: It is important to do this off of the heat to avoid overcooking the eggs).
If necessary, thin out the sauce with a bit of the reserved pasta water, a tablespoon at a time, until it reaches desired consistency. Season with freshly ground black pepper and salt, if needed. Garnish with chopped parsley and additional parmesan cheese, if desired.