I am suspicious of you. I believe that you are not always totally honest with me. Look me in the eye (Imagine I am there with you.) and tell me that you are always frank with others and with yourself. You are starting to feel a little awkward, aren’t you? We both know the truth. All those “Oooh, I invented it myself” recipes, the unhurried preparation and fun time had with loved ones while you turn out unhurried, perfect plates of food. I think not. I have seen what goes on. I know the realities of the domestic kitchen.
But, I am a nice person. I don’t want to shatter your carefully constructed fallacy filled world so I am letting you choose the post you want. Delusional kitchen happiness follows in purple (as it would be). Reality is in black (as it usually is).
I wanted to make pasta for the first time so I bought a pasta machine to make Pasta Carbonara. I took advice from some Italian friends and looked things up online too. Nothing could go wrong. I would produce an excellent dish with little or no fuss.
I had been looking for a pasta machine for yonks but could not being myself to pay full price. A 50% off sale got me over the line. Now that I had it, I had better do something with it. Pasta Carbonara looked easy. I approached it with trepidation.
All I needed for the pasta was:
- 600 gms of strong flour
- 6 good free range eggs
- A couple of tablespoons of olive oil
- Some more flour for dusting
For the carbonara sauce, I needed:
- Half a litre of lactose free cream
- 3 good free range eggs
- Some thick sliced smoked bacon
- Parmesan cheese
- Black pepper to season
First I sieved the flour onto my granite work surface, made a hollow and broke in the eggs. This makes it easy to mix the egg and olive oil with the flour.
First I sieved the flour onto my granite work surface, made a hollow and broke in the eggs. I had been warned that the key was to mix the egg, olive oil and flour in the well in the middle. It did not look too safe. I think starting with six eggs is a mistake.
I then built up the walls to prevent any possible spillage.
I then built up the walls in a vain effort to avoid the inevitable escape of egg.
The camera never lies.
The camera lies when I ask it to.
I gently whipped the eggs with a fork being careful to blend the olive oil and I prevented any leakage as I went.
At this point, the egg, just like the truth, began to leak out and spread. And also like the truth, it spread faster than I could gather it up again.
When the dough came together, I began to mix by hand and then rolled it out and kneaded it as shown in the picture.
After rescuing the egg from the side of the island unit, there was more dough stuck to my hands than on the work top. I was in a real panic. I could not take any photos because my hands looked like those of the Hulk. …Double damn! I had forgotten the olive oil.
I wrapped it in cling film and left it for 30 minutes to rest. I used the time to do worthy things with my family and friends.
I got the oil and added it to the dough bit by bit. I kneaded and kneaded more than I needed and eventually got the right consistency. The flavour improved, no doubt, by the sweat that dripped from my brow.
I used some of the available time to pair the dish with a bottle of Masi Campofiron 2008. It was well-chosen and, naturally, it worked beautifully with the authentic Italian flavours of the Carbonara.
I needed a drink. The dish was Italian so I grabbed the first bottle of Italian wine I could lay my hands on and downed a glass.
Then, I sliced the bacon into lardons and fried them until almost crisp.
Meanwhile I sliced the bacon into lardons and fried them until half of them were burned. I managed to rescue enough to salvage the dish.
I grated the excellent Parmesan cheese and cracked the eggs into the cream. Whipped it up to make a delicious sauce.
For that much, our realities coincide.
Having rested the pasta I cut it into suitable size pieces and fed it through the pasta machine gradually decreasing the gap between the rollers. This was very straight forward and lots of fun to do.
Now I know why Italians always have four generations of family hanging around the kitchen. I had to get my mother, the Wife, eldest daughter and boyfriend (hers, not mine) to pitch in catching the rolled pasta and building drying racks from chairs and anything else that came to hand.
I added the pasta to a large pot of boiling, salted water. In a very few minutes, the pasta was cooked perfectly. Family and friends were impressed.
I added some of the pasta to a large pot of boiling water. I had forgotten the salt. The pot was not quite big enough and it took nearly 15 minutes to cook the pasta. I now had an audience of my pasta hangers, giving advice and making unhelpful suggestions. I drained the pasta and added the creamy delicious sauce.
I drained the pasta, steaming my face in the process. I added the sauce.
Reality and fantasy merge for the second time in the post.
The end result was heavenly. The family loved it and encouraged me to try some other pasta dishes. Everybody smiled as we ate.
The end result was pretty good. The family really did enjoy it. Though, I don’t remember being encouraged to try any other pasta dishes. Everybody concentrated on their food. To ease the stinging, I rubbed some of the cream sauce on my steamed face.