Pasta Carbonara Recipe has spaghetti coated in a simple sauce made of eggs and pasta water dressed up with bacon, parmesan cheese, black pepper and more. While this spaghetti carbonara recipe may be simple, it’s SO flavorful!

Check out more of my favorite easy pasta recipes like Tomato Basil Pasta, Chicken Spaghetti and Chicken Carbonara.

This easy Pasta Carbonara recipe is great for those nights when I’m feeling just a little bit fancy. Is it actually fancy? Not really… but it’s a step above the usual Spaghetti and Meatballs, so it’s great for at-home date nights or dinner parties!

When making recipes like this one, I like to try and keep things as authentic as possible. That’s why you don’t see any heavy cream or sauce listed in the ingredients. In true Italian fashion, we’re creating our own luscious sauce with just a few ingredients.

I think what really makes this carbonara recipe so good is the pancetta (or bacon), of course! There’s plenty of it in there so you’ll enjoy a little salty kick with every bite you take.

What is Carbonara?

Carbonara is an Italian pasta dish that consists of al dente spaghetti and pancetta (or sometimes bacon) tossed in a delicate creamy sauce that’s made up of eggs, hot pasta water, parmesan, and black pepper.

Occasionally, there is a bit of cream or garlic added although this isn’t the traditional way. I like to add a bit of fat from the cooked down bacon or pancetta for a smooth sauce with lots of flavor!

Why we love this Pasta Carbonara:

Classic: You won’t find any unnecessary frills here! Just all of the classic carbonara elements you know and love and big flavor.

Quick and Easy: This easy dinner is on the table in less than 30 minutes.

It feels fancy: Carbonara always feels like something extra special but it is so simple to make. It’s perfect for date night at home or a weeknight dinner with the kids!

Pasta Carbonara Ingredients Needed:

Spaghetti – You can really swap this with any other pasta shape you like best! Linguine, penne, or even ravioli would work just fine.

Bacon – Here’s the deal. I personally prefer bacon over pancetta… So that’s what I use! That’s the beauty of cooking your own meals at home, you get to decide what goes. Feel free to use either bacon or pancetta!

Eggs – This is a key ingredient for any carbonara recipe. They serve as the base of the sauce and should be room temperature.

Parmesan – Freshly grated right off the block is recommended for the best flavor and consistency. Pre-shredded cheese will not mix as well with the other ingredients to create a smooth sauce.

Black Pepper – If possible, grind the peppercorns yourself for the most potent flavor.

Garlic – of course!

How to make this Spaghetti Carbonara recipe

You’re going to love how simple this recipe is! Scroll down to the recipe card located at the bottom of this page for more detailed steps and ingredients.

Add the bacon/pancetta to a skillet over medium-high heat with whole garlic cloves. Cook until brown and crisp. Then, remove the bacon with a slotted spoon and pick out the garlic cloves. Reserve 1 tbsp bacon fat.

Whisk together the eggs, cheese, rendered bacon fat and black pepper.

Cook bacon and garlic until crispy

Whisk together eggs, parmesan, bacon fat and pepper

Cook the pasta in salted water according to package instructions. Reserve 1 cup of pasta water before draining.

Add the pasta to a bowl with the egg mixture, ¼ cup pasta water and cooked bacon. Toss to combine and add more pasta water if needed.

cook the spaghetti

toss it all together

What’s the Secret to Making Carbonara?

It’s very important to toss and stir the pasta with the egg mixture so the sauce doesn’t become clumpy!

Toss and toss and toss some more! As the hot pasta heats the egg mixture, it will thicken slightly and form a creamy sauce. if you don’t toss the pasta to coat, it will make scrambled eggs instead.

Variations and Substitutions

Bacon or Pancetta: Either one will work! While pancetta is more traditional, I personally prefer bacon and it’s usually less pricey. Use whichever you like best. Or, omit the meat entirely for a protein-packed meatless entree!

Parmesan or Pecorino: Either of these cheeses will work fabulously in this pasta recipe. Whichever you use, try to grate it off the block yourself for the best results.

Change the Pasta: You can swap the spaghetti with pretty much any other pasta you like best! Be sure to comment below and let me know what worked for you.

How to store Pasta Carbonara

In an airtight container in the fridge, any leftover spaghetti carbonara you have will stay fresh for about 2-3 days. Add a splash of water or cream and reheat it in the microwave for 30 seconds at a time, stirring each time it stops, until warmed all the way through.

Can I freeze Pasta Carbonara?

Sure thing! Let it fully cool to room temperature, then transfer the carbonara pasta to a freezer safe container. Date, label, and freeze for up to 3 months. Let thaw completely before reheating.

Keep in mind that pasta has a softer texture after being frozen and thawed. If you love your pasta al dente, this may not be the best option for you.

Serving suggestions:

Complete your Italian-inspired dinner with side dishes like Garlic Parmesan Air Fryer Broccoli, Cheesy Baked Asparagus or (my personal favorite) some Roasted Garlic smeared all over this crusty No Knead Bread!

You can also pair it with these simple Baked Chicken Breasts or this Easy Roasted Pork Tenderloin for more protein.

More Pasta Recipes You’ll Love!

Cook ModePrevent your screen from going dark
In a medium skillet over medium-high heat, cook bacon or pancetta with whole garlic cloves until bacon is browned and crisp (if the garlic begins to get dark, just remove it). Remove bacon with a slotted spoon (pick out garlic cloves) and drain on a paper towel. Reserve 1 tablespoon bacon fat.In a large bowl, whisk together eggs, cheese, reserved bacon fat and some freshly cracked pepper (start small, and add more later as needed). Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add spaghetti and cook according to package directions until al dente. Reserve 1 cup pasta water and drain.Add cooked spaghetti to the bowl with the eggs, along with ¼ cup pasta water and bacon. Use tongs to toss and turn the pasta in the eggs, adding more pasta water as needed, until the sauce cooks the pasta. *It’s important that you toss and stir a lot when adding the pasta so that the sauce does not become clumpy*Taste and adjust salt and pepper as needed before serving.

Ingredients and Substitutions:
Bacon: bacon is not traditional in carbonara but we prefer it over pancetta. Feel free to use either interchangeably in this recipe, or omit for a meatless version.
Spaghetti: any pasta shape will work here! We love this sauce with linguine, penne, even filled pastas like ravioli.
Calories: 598cal | Carbohydrates: 67g | Protein: 23g | Fat: 25g | Saturated Fat: 9g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 4g | Monounsaturated Fat: 10g | Trans Fat: 0.1g | Cholesterol: 196mg | Sodium: 421mg | Potassium: 345mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 3g | Vitamin A: 305IU | Vitamin C: 0.5mg | Calcium: 103mg | Iron: 2mg
Keywords pasta carbonara, spaghetti carbonara

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