One of my favorite new shows last fall was Aziz Ansari’s Master of None which stars Aziz as an actor, Dev, living in New York. It chronicles an impressive range of topics including experiences with dating, the movie and TV industry, and his parents (played by Aziz’s actual parents). The show has some great scenes that revolve around food and highlights many New York restaurants but at no point did I crave something more than when Dev made carbonara in the season finale.
Months after his girlfriend gave him a pasta maker Dev is finally inspired to take it off the shelf and give it a try. The scene beautifully captures everything about the process from starting with a well of flour and eggs to shaving a bit of parmesan cheese over the finished dish. The verdict? Success! After watching the season twice I turned from the couch to see my pasta maker (which, to my credit has been used several times) and knew I had to give the recipe a try.
Carbonara is one of those dishes that has a simple ingredient list but such incredible flavors. The bacon adds saltiness and crunch to the dish while the egg and cheese combine for a fantastically creamy sauce. Of course you don’t need to make the pasta yourself but if you do I promise it makes the dish even better. When reading over the recipe notice how many things happen within a short period of time. Make sure to have things prepared, including a heated serving dish to help cook the eggs and make an extra creamy sauce before serving.
This was the first time I had made pasta in our new apartment and I cannot even begin to express how much more of an enjoyable experience it was now that I had a long table to use when I rolled out the pasta. The machine still creaked with every turn (sorry neighbors) but I didn’t have to worry about the sheets of pasta falling on the floor or having to rest on a desk somewhere. I took a cue from the scene in Master of None and spiraled the pasta servings into little nests before freezing them. If after you finish Master of None you’re still craving more delicious scenes, I recommend watching Chef.
- 2 large eggs and 2 large yolks, room temperature
- 1 ounce (about ⅓ packed cup) grated Parmesan
- 1 onion
- 3 ½ ounces bacon (3-4 slices), cut into pieces about ¼ inch thick
- 12 ounces spaghetti or other long pasta
- Coarsely ground black pepper
- In a bowl whisk together the eggs, yolks, and cheese. Season with a bit of salt and pepper, then set aside.
- Begin to bring a large pot of water to a boil for cooking the pasta.
- Heat a large skillet over medium heat and add bacon. Cook until the fat begins to render and the bacon is crisp, but not completely hard. Remove bacon from the skillet and place on a paper towel.
- If using pasta from a box, begin to cook the pasta now according to package directions. Cook until done and reserve 1 cup of the pasta water before draining.
- Fill a large mixing bowl (metal if possible) with hot water and set aside.
- In the skillet with the remaining bacon fat cook the onion for 7-10 minutes, until it begins to brown. As it finishes turn the heat down to medium-low.
- If cooking fresh pasta, now add the pasta to the water. Cook for 2-3 minutes, until done.
- Add the bacon and cooked pasta to the skillet with the onion. Stir for a minute so that the ingredients can combine.
- Empty the mixing bowl of the hot water and add the contents of the skillet. Stir in the cheese/egg mixture, adding some of the pasta water if needed to make it extra creamy.
- Serve immediately, shave more parmesan cheese over top if you like.