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Beer Brat Carbonara Pasta: An Oktoberfest Recipe

Beer Brat Carbonara Pasta: An Oktoberfest Recipe

Although it seems like most of America sees Oktoberfest as The Festival of Barely Contained Breasts And Bad Beer In October, it really isn’t meant to be any of those things.  Oktoberfest began more than 200 years ago as a wedding celebration, it’s morphed into a celebration of local food and drink.

In Germany, they take that local notion seriously. Only beer brewed within the Munich city limits is allowed to be served at the festivities, and last year nearly 7 million liters were served up. Which may explain why 37  kids were reported missing, as well as a live rabbit, during last years event (all children and furry creatures were found safe and sound).

Beer Brat Carbonara Pasta: An Oktoberfest Recipe

The authentic Oktoberfest festivities take place in Munich Germany, starting around mid-September and ending the first Sunday in October, making this year’s event well underway. To celebrate in my own house, far, far from the Bavarian epicenter of the German Beer Lovers Fest, I made a hearty pasta, full of beer brats and brown ale.

The bratwurst began as a peasants dish, using all the scraps left over once the more expensive cuts were taken, which makes it a perfect addition to carbonara pasta, which has its own humble beginnings on a peasants table in Europe.

To sum it up, my friends, celebrate in an authentic fashion: strap on some lederhosen, drink local beer, cook some sausages in beer, but just don’t forget where you put your kids or woodland creatures.

O’zapft is!

Beer Brat Carbonara Pasta: An Oktoberfest Recipe

Beer Brat Carbonara Pasta

Ingredients

  • 5 ounces gaunciale or 6 strips thick sliced bacon
  • 1 sweet white onion, sliced into rings
  • 1 tbs olive oil, plus 2 tbs, divided
  • 6 bratwurst (raw)
  • 12 ounces brown ale
  • 1 lb spaghetti
  • 2 Roma tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 cup fresh grated Pecornio or Parmigiano-Reggiano
  • ½ tsp sea salt
  • 1 tsp fresh cracked black pepper
  • 4 large eggs

Directions

  1. In a large pot over medium high heat, cook the gaunciale (or bacon). Remove from pan, chop. Pour off about half the pork fat, leaving about 2 tbs still in the pan. Add 1 tbs olive oil and onions, cook over medium heat until the onions start to caramelize, about 8-10 minutes. Remove onions from pan, set aside.
  2. Increase heat to medium high, add the bratwurst, cooking until browned on both sides. Add the beer and reduce heat to medium low, simmering until the bratwurst are cooked through, 10-12 minutes. Slice into rings.
  3. While the bratwurst are cooking, cook the spaghetti in lightly salted boiling water until al dente, drain and return to pot.
  4. Add sliced brats, chopped gauncaile (or bacon), caramelized onions, tomatoes, cheese, salt, pepper and remaining 2 tbs olive oil to the spaghetti, toss to combine.
  5. One at a time poach the eggs in simmering water until the whites have set but the yolks are still runny.
  6. Divide the pasta between 4 bowls, top with poached eggs. Serve immediately.
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Carbonara Couscous

There is something so comforting about being busy. A hectic lifestyle reminds me that I’m needed, that I have a function. I was interviewing a brewery owner yesterday for a piece I’m writing for Honest Cooking and he put it into perspective for me. "When I’m old, I don’t think I’ll wish I slept more." Having things to do, people to talk to and jobs to get done is a good place to be. As hard as I try and fight that 5:30am alarm clock, or force myself to shut my eyes when I finally get back in bed, I know I’ll miss it someday.

For now, I’m trying to enjoy the pace my life has taken. The people, places and opportunities that are taking my life down a new and exciting path. And I’m just trying to do it all justice. Approaching it with an open heart and a grateful spirit that will allow me to fully appreciate this time in my life without focusing on what seems to be my near constant caffeine  deficiency and lack of "free" time. It all goes back to the motto of my life: figure out what is great about the situation you are in and enjoy the crap out of it. 

And I have to say, I really enjoyed the crap out of this couscous.

Carbonara Couscous

 1 cup dry Israeli (pearl) couscous

1 tbs buter

5 ounces pancetta

5 basil leaves

½ cup parmesan

1 tsp pepper

2 eggs (plus 2 additional if desired for side dish size portions)

Makes 2 entrée portions or 4 side dish portions

Cook couscous according to package direction. In a separate pan, melt the butter over medium-high heat. Add the pancetta and cook until browned, do not drain, add to the couscous. Chop basil leaves, add to the couscous along with parmesan and pepper, stir to combine.

Poach eggs in simmering water.

Distribute couscous equally among dishes, top with poached egg, serve warm.

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