If you love bacon and eggs for breakfast then why not try some bacon and eggs for dinner too? I’m talking about Spaghetti alla Carbonara, a traditional Italian pasta dish that transforms eggs and bacon into a creamy velvety sauce using just the heat from the cooked pasta.
Unlike most pasta sauces that require a method of cooking directly onto heat with maybe some simmering time to allow the sauce to thicken, the carbonara sauce is made using only the heat from the pasta. The raw egg mixture is poured directly onto hot pasta and then stirred very quickly to give you a creamy texture. In other words, the only preparation you need for making the carbonara sauce is beating some eggs into a bowl. How easy (and fast!!) is that? It almost sounds too good to be true, but believe me it is all real! The key thing to remember however is to stir quickly because if you don’t then you will end up with pasta with scrambled eggs.
A carbonara dish is traditionally made with diced guanciale (pork jowl), but if you are unable to find it then you can certainly replace it with bacon, or you can use pancetta too which is a popular substitute and my personal preference. Garlic is not typically added in a traditional carbonara, but I add it in because pasta without garlic is just plain boring, right?!
The next time you are at the grocery store pick up these few ingredients to make Spaghetti alla Carbonara. It will become your new favorite weeknight meal because the time it takes to boil and cook the pasta is literally all the time you need to prepare this delicious Italian homemade meal.
A traditional Italian pasta dish originating from Rome. The hot pasta cooks the raw eggs into a creamy smooth texture. So simple and so delicious.
- 1 lb (450g) dried spaghetti
- 3 eggs
- 3 egg yolks
- 1 cup Parmesan, finely grated (divided in half)
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 200g pancetta, chopped (or substitute with bacon or guanciale)
- 2 cloves garlic, minced (optional)
- Fresh parsley, chopped
- Freshly ground black pepper
- Step 1 In a large pot of boiling salted water cook spaghetti according to package instructions.
- Step 2 While the spaghetti is in preparation whisk all the eggs and half of the Parmesan cheese in a bowl. Set aside. (Note: You can substitute with grated Percorino Romano cheese, or a mixture of the 2.)
- Step 3 Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add chopped pancetta and cook until well done, about 7 minutes. Reduce heat to low and add garlic (if using). Stir for about a minute more. Turn the heat off and transfer the pancetta and garlic (with all the grease) into a large bowl. You should have this step done before pasta is completed.
- Step 4 Working with tongs transfer ‘HOT’ spaghetti directly from the large pot where the spaghetti was cooked, including any water still clinging onto the pasta, into the large bowl (the bowl with the pancetta). It’s ok when some pasta water is also transferred (meaning the pasta does not need to be 100% drained).
- Step 5 Add in the egg mixture right over the hot spaghetti and very quickly combine everything together. You want to move quickly to avoid curdling/scrambling of the eggs. The heat from the hot spaghetti will gently thicken the eggs into a creamy sauce. If you desire a thinner sauce add in a tablespoon of pasta water at a time.
- Step 6 Add the remaining Parmesan, fresh parsley and a few grinds of fresh black pepper. Combine.
- Step 7 Serve immediately.