Sunday, January 25, 2015

Spaghetti alla Carbonara with Blackened Amberjack and My New Pasta Machine!

If a picture is worth a thousand words, I could probably share all the photos of me using my Christmas present to create this dish without writing a single word... and you'd get the picture!!! No pun intended! But, as it is, I am slightly more long-winded than that and simply cannot help myself: I have to tell you about this machine and how I made this restaurant quality dish! (My husband said I should say that last part!) 

Spaghetti alla Carbonara with Blackened Amberjack

Since I love all things culinary, my dear husband surprised me with a Philip's Advance Collection Pasta Maker for Christmas this year! If you are not familiar with this piece of equipment, it is an electric pasta machine that does all of the work for you, except cutting the lengths to suit your needs for a particular dish! Can I just say that I think this is my favorite gift of all time! I was so excited to get this machine out tonight and make homemade fresh pasta, I could barely contain myself! I was actually giddy over this gift!

While this post is not intended to be a review of my pasta maker, I will tell you that if you are at all considering an investment in a pasta machine, this is definitely worth the money! The manual is very easy to follow, and the recipe booklet that comes with it has some great dishes to try. This carbonara comes from that booklet with a couple twists of my own.

I will also tell you that I am a visual learner. I love to get my hands-on experience while watching someone else demonstrating. So, I am sharing the link here of the Youtube demonstration that popped up first when I googled how to use this machine.
Christine Monaghen made this demonstration and it was very clear and easy to understand. I actually started my process as I followed along with her demo. It was that EASY! And the pasta machine is preprogrammed to set at exactly 15 minutes from start to finish. You then boil the pasta in heavily salted water for 4-5 minutes for thin pasta and 6-8 on thicker pastas.

Manual recommends using two types of flour ~

After pouring both flours in processing container, Close lid and begin adding liquids.

Pasta will begin extruding in a little as 3 minutes. Get a plate!

This recipe made ALL of this pasta!
I need to also add that the clean up on this was ridiculously EASY! I've been juicing for years and that piece of equipment is far more work to clean than this pasta maker! It's very easy to disassemble and reassemble and there's a little storage compartment underneath the chute for the different pasta cuts discs. 

I can't brag enough about this miracle machine, but I do want to tell you how to make this dish for yourself. (You can use any pasta machine you like for this dish, or even purchase some ready made pasta to boil -- It will still be yummy!)

First, the pasta ~ Ingredients
500g flour ( I used 250g No. 1 Durum Wheat Semolina Flour and 250g King Arthur Unbleached AP Flour) This machine comes with a cup that is the exact measurement needed.
2 large eggs, slightly beaten
water (the water + the eggs should equal 95g) The second cup that comes with this machine has water fill lines for program 1 or program 2. This recipe is for program 2 and makes enough for about 6-8 servings.

Make sure you are using the spaghetti disc for this recipe. Lift lid/cover on pasta machine and pour in each of the 250g of semolina and ap flours. Press power button and select Program 2. (Its a little cup symbol that has #2 on it.) Then press start and the machine will begin churning the flour.  Meanwhile, go ahead and start heating your pot of salted water if you are planning to serve this immediately.
In the provided water cup, mix the egg and water together and start pouring through the vent slowly until you've emptied all of it into the running machine. Stay nearby and place a plate under the chute to catch the pasta. The pasta will begin extruding in about 3 minutes and it takes the full 15 minutes for the process to end. There is no need to dry the pasta or wait, you can simply drop it into the boiling water and cook for about 4 minutes for al dente spaghetti. You may want to wait to drop it until your Carbonara is underway, and your fish is ready to go into the skillet.
The cutting tool is handy for slicing the lengths you wish to use in your dish.

My spaghetti was perfectly cooked in 4 minutes.

For the Carbonara ~ Ingredients

3.5 oz. pancetta or bacon ( I used thick uncured cut bacon, cut into little cubes.)
4 egg yolks
7 oz. heavy cream
1 c finely chopped onion
1 red bell pepper, finely chopped
2 T fresh chopped thyme
1 c grated Parmesan cheese (I used three cheese blend, Parmesan, Asagio and Romano)
3 T pasta water
fresh basil

Ingredients for the Carbonara sauce.


In a large nonstick skillet, saute bacon to render some fat for 2 minutes over medium high heat. Add the onion and pepper and saute another 3 minutes.  Stir in the thyme.

Mix egg yolks, cream and cheese in a small bowl. 

Using a pasta fork, transfer cooked pasta to the skillet with the sauteed veg and bacon. Add in the cream mixture and the pasta water and stir to coat all of the pasta. Swirl onto plates or into pasta bowls and top with Blackened Amberjack and fresh snipped basil.

For the Amberjack ~ Ingredients

1 lb amberjack filet, cut into 4ths (mine were about 1 1/4 - 1 1/2 inches thick)
blackening spice rub:
     1 T smoked paprika
     2 t onion powder
     2 t garlic powder
     1 t oregano
     1 t thyme
     1 t cracked black pepper
     1/2 t cayenne pepper
     1 t sea salt
     cooking spray or coconut oil

The dry rub is ready.


Mix dry rub ingredients together in a pie dish. Dredge each filet in the rub to coat on both sides and place in a glass baking dish. Cover and chill for an hour.

After chilling for an hour, we are ready to sear.

Let fish sit on counter for 15 minutes prior to searing. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Heat a cast iron skillet (that has been sprayed with nonstick spray or lightly coated with coconut oil,) over medium high heat until skillet is smoking hot. Carefully place filets in skillet and do not move. Let them sear for about 3 minutes. Carefully flip filets over to the other side and then sear another 2-3 minutes.  Place skillet in the oven to finish cooking fish for 5 minutes. Place blackened fish atop the Carbonara Spaghetti and drizzle on a little extra cream sauce from the pasta pan. Garnish with fresh basil and enjoy! This dish was out of this world YUMMY!

Spaghetti alla Carbonara with Blackened Amberjack is served!