Every New Year’s Day I create homemade pasta. This year was no different. There is something so soothing and rewarding about getting your hands sticky with flour and eggs. Kneading dough is always rehabilitating. I love pulling the pasta through the machine, making it smooth and thin. It’s magical.
For me, pasta making is a several hour affair, but for you, this recipe makes handmade pasta easy and fast. It does not need to be intimidating. This meal is a special occasion meal that can double as a weeknight dinner.
About five years ago my brother bought me this pasta machine. Even though it only gets used a few times a year, it is the perfect tool for an afternoon of pasta making. I love the whirl of the engine and the ease of getting the job done. If you do not have one–get one! My next purchase will be an attachment for my kitchen aid, but this little red firecracker has done well over the years.
Making pasta is in my DNA. I grew up watching my grandma make fresh dough, hanging the noodle strands to dry over a horizontal broom stick. It’s one of those lazy day creations that brings back special memories with her.
It’s important to toss the fresh pasta in a simple delicate sauce that will step back and let the noodles do the talking. I LOVE carbonara because in all its variations, I always seem to have the ingredients I need.
This was another Grandma staple. She would literally scramble the eggs in with ditilini pasta, add a handful of pecorino romano cheese and sprinkle on salt and pepper. It was truly divine.
Carbonara is so impressive. Silky whipped eggs create a smooth sauce that replicates cream sauce, without the heavy cheese or cream. Carbonara typically has pancetta or bacon, but on this day, I decided to make a cacio e pepe version with some parsley. Simple. Comfort.
I am so happy to share this special dish with you.
- 2 cups flour (durum flour is best)
- 4 eggs, large
- 4 eggs, large
- 1 cup pecorino romano cheese, freshly grated
- salt and pepper to taste
- handful of chopped parsley
- 4 ounces of cooked bacon or pancetta, cubed or sliced (optional, not pictured)
- Empty flour onto a clean surface and make a well in the center with your index finger. Crack the eggs inside the well (pictured below).
- Poke the yolks with your index finder to break them. Swirl around the eggs, incorporating the flour slowly with your finger.
- Begin to blend the flour with the eggs by hand. It will be VERY sticky, be patient and calm down.
- Continue to knead the dough by hand, stickiness and all, until the dough is smooth and is mostly off your hands (about 5-10 minutes).
- Mold dough into a tight ball, tucking the ends under and let it rest at room temperature for 30 minutes.
- Cut the dough into 6 pieces, sprinkle with flour and shape into rectangular pieces.
- Use a pasta machine to smooth out each of the rectangles to the desired setting. * Mine has 9 settings and I run the dough through all of them. This makes the dough so thin you can see your hand through it* Repeat this step with all dough pieces.
- Once you have sheets of pasta, put the dough through the fettuccine setting to form noodles. Ensure that you use extra flour to separate the noodles before laying them on top of one another.
- Boil a pot of water and salt heavily.
- While this boils, whisk the eggs, pecorino romano cheese, salt, pepper and bacon/pancetta (if using) in a medium bowl. Set aside.
- Once water is boiling, cook pasta for 2 minutes, then test if done. Remember, fresh thin pasta cooks VERY fast. When done, strain, leaving 1/4 cup pasta water aside for the sauce.
- Add the pasta back to the pan and off the burner. Slowly whisk in the egg mixture until silky. Add small amounts of reserved pasta water to loosen the sauce. Top with parsley and serve.