|Nutrition Facts (per serving)|
|Amount per serving|
|% Daily Value*|
|Total Fat 43g||56%|
|Saturated Fat 18g||89%|
|Total Carbohydrate 87g||32%|
|Dietary Fiber 4g||13%|
|*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.|
Traditional carbonara is an Italian pasta dish made with a sauce of cured pork, eggs, and cheese. The creaminess comes from the egg yolks and eggs mixed with the grated Parmesan and a bit of pasta cooking water. Although this time-honored dish is made without cream in Italy, adding a bit takes the creaminess up a notch (and is more like that served in popular American restaurants).
The Italians make carbonara with guanciale, which is a sort of bacon made from cured pork cheeks, but you can substitute pancetta, which, like bacon, is from the pork belly, or just use ordinary bacon. Guanciale is not typically smoked, though, so for the most classic flavor, don't use smoked bacon.
- Kosher salt, to taste
- 1 pound spaghetti
- 1/2 pound pancetta or bacon (cut into 1/2-inch dice)
- 4 egg yolks
- 1/4 cup heavy cream
- 3/4 cup freshly grated Pecorino-Romano cheese (or Parmesan)
- 1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 tablespoon Italian parsley (chopped)
- Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Gather the ingredients.
Fill a large soup pot with cold water and add a handful or so of kosher salt. Stir and taste; it should taste like seawater. Cover the pot and heat the water until it boils.
Drop the spaghetti into the boiling salted water and cook according to package instructions, about 6 to 9 minutes or until al dente—tender but still firm to the bite.
Meanwhile, add the diced pancetta or bacon to a cold sauté pan and cook slowly over low heat for 10 to 15 minutes or until crisp. Remove from the pan and drain on paper towels.
Combine the egg yolks, cream, cheese, and olive oil in a bowl and beat with a whisk until completely mixed.
Once the pasta is done, scoop out 1/2 cup of the pasta water and set it aside. Drain the pasta and discard the remaining pasta cooking water.
Place the cooked pasta in the pot along with the cooked pancetta or bacon.
With the pot off the heat, add the egg and cream mixture and stir briskly while the sauce thickens up. You can adjust the consistency with some of the reserved pasta water.
Transfer to serving bowls and garnish with the chopped parsley and freshly ground black pepper. Serve right away, with additional grated cheese if desired.
Raw Egg Warning
Consuming raw and lightly-cooked eggs poses a risk of food-borne illness.
- Although the recipe says "spaghetti," you can make this carbonara with penne or fettuccine, or bucatini. If you're looking for a healthier option you can also use spaghetti squash.
- For a little extra flavor, in conjunction with a heartier meal, try adding diced roasted red peppers along with cooked chicken or shrimp.
- For a bit more texture, color, and nutrition, stir a cup of frozen peas into the sauce.