Simple Sundays | Homemade Spaghetti with Baby Zucchini, Bacon and Mozzarella

Skydiving. The Taj Mahal at daybreak. An African safari. Homemade pasta.

What’s on your bucket list?

Some life goals are easier to achieve than others. I may never skydive – not because of fear or lack of opportunity, but simply because I know my husband may not be able to sleep at night knowing his wife will jump out of plane. For him, I am willing to never feel that jolt of adrenaline and panic as you peer over the edge of the open plane door. I will never feel the wind pull against my skin, forcing my face into an evil smile. I will never feel the pull of the ripcord and the peaceful descent to the ground. And I am absolutely okay with that. For him. (And maybe because I am a teensy bit scared.)

But this weekend, I finally crossed another one off the list.

Last Christmas, he surprised me with pasta roller attachments for my stand mixer. He has known how much I have wanted to make my own pasta, and we were both eager to challenge ourselves with dough. But weeks passed – the time (or lack of it) never seemed right. Between work and travel and full weekends, we haven’t had a leisurely day to devote to pasta. But today was the day. Deadlines had been met. There were no commitments. And the rain started to fall. It was a perfect day to stay in and play with some flour.

And boy, did the flour fly. By the time I was through, every surface was dusted and occupied by sheets of pasta. Let me assure you – it was worth it. Suffice it to say, it was rewarding to knead my own dough. And see the ball transformed into beautiful ribbons. But to toss the freshly cooked pasta into a pan of fresh baby zucchini with some bits of salty bacon and to twirl the spaghetti to raise it to your mouth – those tender bites were unlike any boxed version we had ever had.

Yes, I crossed it off the list. And I’ll be crossing it off again, and again, and again.

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Homemade Spaghetti with Baby Zucchini, Bacon and Mozzarella

Yield: Serves 4-6.

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 1 hour

Total Time: 1 hour 15 minutes

If you haven't tried making your own pasta, you will be surprised at how easy (and fun) it is. You may never go back. Of course, if you don't have a pasta roller, by all means, substitute your favorite store bought spaghetti. It will be wonderful in this simple and flavorful pasta dish.

Ingredients:

Basic Egg Pasta
3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, sifted
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 large eggs
1-2 tablespoons water

Spaghetti with Baby Zucchini, Bacon and Mozarella
1 lb spaghetti, homemade or store bought
12 oz smoked bacon, sliced into small chunks
1 lb baby zucchini, sliced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
reserved pasta water
Kosher salt
1 cup shredded mozzarella
1/4 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
Freshly ground black pepper

Directions:

For the Homemade Spaghetti
In the bowl of your electric mixer, whisk together the flour and salt. Drop in the eggs and 1 tablespoon of water. Using the paddle attachment, stir on low speed for 30 seconds. Switch the attachment to the dough hook and continue combining the dough for about two minutes. Add an additional tablespoon of water if the dough seems too dry. The mixture will look crumbly but if you take a morsel and squeeze together, the dough should come together.

Empty the dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead until the dough comes together into a ball. Let it sit for 20 minutes.

Divide the dough into 4 pieces. Roll one of the pieces out to about 1/4 inch thickness. Using the large pasta roller attachment, pass it through the 1 setting and fold the dough over. Pass through again and repeat until the dough is smooth. Lower the setting to 2 and pass through. Continue until you are at the 5th setting. The pasta will be long - lay it on a lightly floured surface and cut into 3 or 4 pieces. Lightly dust the top of the pasta sheets with more flour. Repeat with the remaining pieces of dough.

Switch the pasta attachment for the spaghetti cutter. Pass the dough through and set the spaghetti aside.

For the dish
Bring a large pot of boiling water to a boil. Salt the water.

In a large, deep sided saute pan, add the sliced bacon and place over medium heat. Let the bacon brown and all the fat render. Use a slotted spoon and place the browned bacon on a plate lined with paper towels to drain.

Meantime, drop the pasta into the boiling water and cook. If using homemade, it will take 2-4 minutes and float to the top when done. Drain.

Discard some of the remaining bacon fat, leaving about 1/4 cup in the pan. Return to the heat and add the baby zucchini, garlic, and red pepper flakes. When the zucchini is a bright green and just tender, add the pasta and bacon to the pan and toss. Season with a little salt to taste. If the pasta seems too dry, ladle in some of the pasta water to create more sauce. Turn off the heat and stir in the mozzarella and Parmigiano-Reggiano cheeses. Season with freshly ground black pepper. Serve immediately.

Basic Egg Pasta from KitchenAid. Pasta dish adapted from Gemellis with Asparagus, Mozzarella, and Bacon, The Martha Stewart Living Cookbook, 2000.

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by Liren Baker on March 25, 2012

22 Responses to “Simple Sundays | Homemade Spaghetti with Baby Zucchini, Bacon and Mozzarella”

  1. Olga @ MangoTomato March 25, 2012 @ 3:41 pm (#
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    this looks delicious! and I love the shot of pasta coming out of the cutter.

    I’m making fresh pasta in an hour: wish me luck! I’ve done it before, but it’s been a few years. dusting off my manual machine.

    bucket list? Greece, Italy, finding the ♥ of my life, etc :)

    • liren replied: — March 25th, 2012 @ 3:58 pm

      Wishing you luck, I wish I could join in your pasta fun, especially since I’ve never used a manual machine before! Ok, now I have to add *that* on the bucket list :)

  2. Mary@siftingfocus.com March 25, 2012 @ 5:11 pm (#
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    Liren, the pasta photo is absolutely spectacular! You have motivated me to dust off my Kitchen Aid pasta making attachment. It’s been years – and frankly – the last go I had at it wasn’t exactly successful. But, I’m up for the challenge of giving it another try.

  3. Lisa { AuthenticSuburbanGourmet } March 25, 2012 @ 5:19 pm (#
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    Liren – your photo of the hanging pasta is breadth taking! I adore homemade pasta and I am so glad that you accomplished your goal. I am with you on the sky diving – not high on my list however African Safari is and I hope to one day cross that off my list. I am pinning your recipe – it looks and sounds perfectly delicious!! Hope you have a wonderful “Simple Sunday”! :-)

  4. Magic of Spice March 25, 2012 @ 6:09 pm (#
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    You did a beautiful job with this pasta! It is the best isn’t it, and such fun to make :)
    Great dish as well, I have some seriously bacon loving sons that would so enjoy this!

  5. Jean March 25, 2012 @ 9:32 pm (#
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    Liren, it looks so good! At least you didn’t wait two years before opening up your box of Kitchenaid attachments like i did, LOL! I’ve always imagined that fresh pasta needs very little enhancement and I think you’ve accomplished that here. Love the flavors you put together here! Wish me luck that I’ll have the same success today! :)

  6. Betty Ann @Mango_Queen March 25, 2012 @ 9:45 pm (#
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    Wow! What an amazing feat! And you make it sound so easy. I’ve always wondered how it would be like to make one’s own pasta. I can’t even begin to imagine. I’m sure it felt so rewarding. And you shared the recipe, how great is that! Must bookmark this. I’m not yet brazen enough to make pasta on my own….so can I just drop by your house one of these days? Those gorgeous food photos are so inviting ! Cheers!

  7. Suzanne March 25, 2012 @ 10:58 pm (#
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    How fun, your photo of the long noodles is really a neat photo. I have only made it a few times when our pasta maker back in the 90′s was a new gift. I need to drag that out of the cabinet and give a it a go again, thanks for the reminder of how fun making pasta is.
    PS I want to skydive too :) but I’m scared to deaf but still want to do it.

  8. Suzanne March 25, 2012 @ 10:59 pm (#
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    *death :)

  9. Jen Laceda @ Tartine and Apron Strings March 26, 2012 @ 1:34 am (#
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    looks absolutely delish! i wish my husband was as thoughtful as yours – heehee!

  10. patty March 26, 2012 @ 2:21 am (#
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    Beautiful post Liren;-) My husband and I took a pasta class that included dinner with the group in the class. We were in a small farm house in Tuscany, we made ravioli and I still make that recipe, we love it! It is a project to make fresh pasta but so worth it, your pasta looks delicious and I love the sauce;-)

  11. Lindsey@Lindselicious March 26, 2012 @ 2:57 am (#
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    OH the pasta photo is amazing! This sounds so good, I love the mix of things you put into your pasta. Now I’m totally craving pasta. YUM

  12. Belinda @zomppa March 26, 2012 @ 3:50 am (#
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    So impressed!! I have yet to master homemade pasta – this plate is stunning!

  13. Sandra's Easy Cooking March 26, 2012 @ 6:11 am (#
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    I need pasta machine..Love freshly made and I cannot get results like that using my rolling pin:)) I am loving your dish..very pretty and refreshing!!!!

  14. Laura (Tutti Dolci) March 26, 2012 @ 11:26 am (#
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    Your pasta is beautiful! Homemade pasta is on my bucket list too.

  15. Erin @ Dinners, Dishes, and Desserts March 26, 2012 @ 11:50 am (#
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    My family won’t let me sky dive either! I have wanted to forever. Parents wouldn’t let me when I was a kid, and I married hubby 3 months after college, so now he won’t let me!

    The pasta looks perfect! I haven’t made my own in YEARS!!!!

  16. Aggie March 26, 2012 @ 6:15 pm (#
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    What a beautiful pasta dish. I love zucchini in my pasta and as soon as the zucchini is plentiful here in FL (it’s about to happen any minute) then pasta with zucchini will be happening a lot in my kitchen. It’s simple and just perfect. Love your photography!

  17. Nami | Just One Cookbook March 26, 2012 @ 8:21 pm (#
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    Amazing! I always wish to make homemade pasta but now looking at your delicious pasta dish, I should put the machine in my shopping list. :-) Beautiful pasta shot and I love your zucchini bacon pasta! Yum!

  18. Jennifer (Delicieux) March 27, 2012 @ 4:58 pm (#
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    How sweet of your husband to give you the pasta roller attachments :D My Mum actually gave me my pasta roller attachments for my Kitchenaid, but I have to admit I’ve only used them a handful of times. I really need to get a drying wrack for spaghetti as last time I made it I had it hanging all over the kitchen! And your right, everything does end up covered in flour!

    I especially love that photo of the pasta coming out of the roller! Great capture Liren! :D

  19. Chung-Ah | Damn Delicious March 30, 2012 @ 10:30 am (#
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    I’ve been saving up to get a pasta attachment for my kitchenaid but looking at this post is making me very antsy!

  20. Kiran @ KiranTarun.com March 30, 2012 @ 9:33 pm (#
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    Nothing beats a good homemade pasta, and that looks insanely delicious :)

  21. meatballs & milkshakes August 1, 2012 @ 12:38 pm (#
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    Yum! I’ve been trying to hold off testing out my new pasta machine, being bathing suit season and all, but I think you’ve convinced me to give it a go…

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