Monday, March 29, 2010

Homemade Fettucine Noodles with Spinach, Bacon, and Grilled Halibut Carbonara

About 10-12 years ago I dabbled with my hand crank pasta maker. At some point I pretty much said forget it. I wasn't thrilled with the work to make super soft noodles.

For some reason I've been wanting to try it again. Saturday night I made the most exquisite homemade pasta. (My sister tells me I shouldn't always claim that each of these recipes I'm posting is fabulous. I should be more critical. I agree but what happens when I think each recipe IS really good? Lyndie, REALLY, this one is awesome ;)

The tricks - hand kneading the pasta dough and cooking it for only about 2 minutes. It seemed effortless. I guess the Hub was watching me make it because he even commented on how easy it looked.

Pasta Dough
1/2 cup semolina flour
1/2 cup all purpose flour
2 eggs
1 tsp kosher salt
extra flour for dusting

2 8 ounce grouper fillets
1/2 tsp olive oil
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp black pepper

1 tbsp olive oil
1 cup Parmesan finely grated on a microplaner
2 egg yolks
1 cup reserved cooking water from the pasta
2 cups baby spinach
1/2 red onion
2 slices thick cut bacon - chopped
2 cloves garlic minced

Begin to make the pasta dough a few hours before you plan to enjoy. Pile the flour and semolina on the counter. With your hands, toss in the salt. Create a well in the center and add in the eggs. With a fork, slowly combine the flour with the eggs by pulling the flour over and folding into the eggs. Once the dough looks roughly combined pull together into a ball. Wrap in saran wrap and allow to rest in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes to an hour.

Once the dough is done resting, place on a lightly floured surface and knead until the texture of the dough is even in consistency and smooth. Lightly flour as needed to avoid the dough becoming too sticky.

Flatten the dough with the heel of your hand enough so you can run the dough through a pasta roller. With a hand crank pasta maker, roll the dough from the thickest setting to about setting 6. I was able to create 4 sheets about 18 inches long. Once you have the sheets rolled out, run the sheets through the fettuccine cutter on the pasta machine. **If you don't have a pasta roller. Hand roll out the dough with a rolling pin. Roll the sheet up and thinly cut the roll into strips.

As you roll the pasta through the machine, wrap the noodles around your hand to create a ball and place on a towel. At this point you can allow to dry for 24 hour, store in a plastic bag, and use anytime in the future. Or use immediately.

Sprinkle the grouper fillets with salt, pepper and paprika. Grill on medium heat for about 4 minutes per side. Cooking time will vary depending on the thickness of the fillet. Once you remove the fish from the grill tent the plate with tin foil to seal in the heat.

Bring a pot of water to boil with 2 tbsp kosher salt. Once the water comes to a boil, drop in the pasta and cook for about 2 minutes. Remove the pasta from the water and strain making sure to reserve 1 cup of pasta water for the sauce.

In a skillet on medium high heat, add the olive oil and saute the onions and garlic. Once the onions are transparent, add the spinach to wilt. Add in the cooked strained pasta, Parmesan cheese, bacon, and reserved cooking liquid. Turn the heat off and stir in the egg yolk, folding through the pasta. Grate more Parmesan on top if desired.

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