This is by far the best spaghetti carbonara recipe I have ever had. Traditionally, a Carbonara is an Italian pasta dish made with eggs, hard cheese (like Pecorino Romano or Parmigiano-Reggiano), pancetta, and black pepper. The version I am sharing below is not authentic, but it sure is delicious! And, it is one of the best pasta dishes you will ever make with just a few simple ingredients.
Ingredients & Substitutions
I make my carbonara with a few pantry staples.
Pasta: Be sure to cook the spaghetti noodles al dente, according to package instructions. You could also use other pastas like angel hair or bucatini, just to name a couple.
Pasta Water: After you have cooked the spaghetti, reserve about a cup of pasta water before draining the noodles. You may want or need to add it the the dish at the end.
Bacon: After you cook the chopped bacon, remove it from the skillet, but leave the grease to cook the onions. You could also use pancetta.
Parmesan Cheese: Not only will the cheese be mixed with the eggs, be sure to have some extra for the topping.
Why Save Pasta Water?
As I stated above, pasta water should be reserved. But, why? The pasta water is added to the sauce and cooked noodles. The starch from the pasta water also helps bind the sauce and pasta together rather than simply coating the noodles. This gives you a full-flavored taste in every bite!
Optional Add-Ins to Easy Carbonara
White Wine – This can be added after you have cooked the garlic. About a cup will do.
Heavy Cream – this can be added at the end after all other ingredients have been added. The sauce will be thick and coat the noodles and bacon (more like an alfredo sauce).
Mushrooms – I prefer to use fresh mushrooms and cook them separately (in another pan) while the onions and garlic are cooking. Add them before adding the egg & parmesan mixture.
Peas – Frozen peas can be cooked with the spaghetti, added for the last 3 minutes. Fresh or thawed peas can be added with the garlic.
How to Store Spaghetti Carbonara
Let the spaghetti carbonara cool completely before storing it in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. To reheat it, just add the noodles back into a warm skillet and toss it occasionally. You can also add more olive oil or heavy cream when reheating. You may also need another pinch of salt & pepper.
- 1 box (16 ounces) spaghetti noodles
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 8 slices bacon, chopped (can use Pancetta)
- 1 medium white onion, chopped
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 4 large eggs, beaten
- 2 cups Parmesan cheese, grated, plus 2 tablespoons for topping
- 1 pinch salt and black pepper, to taste
- 2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped (optional)
- In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook spaghetti until al dente (about 8-10 minutes). Drain. (Can reserve a cup of pasta water just in case you want a thinner sauce.) Toss with 1 tablespoon of olive oil, and set aside.
- In a large skillet over medium heat, add chopped bacon and cook until crisp; remove and drain onto paper towels.
- To the same skillet over medium heat, add chopped onion. Do not wipe down the skillet before adding the onion.
- Once onion is translucent (about 3-5 minutes) add the minced garlic, and cook for one more minute.
- Add the spaghetti noodles back into the pan and toss to coat and heat through. Reduce the heat to low.
- In a medium bowl, mix together eggs and parmesan cheese. Add this to the noodles and cook, tossing constantly with tongs until eggs and parmesan develop into a light sauce over the noodles.
- Add in bacon, salt and pepper to taste, and top with remaining parmesan cheese. (And chopped parsley for garnish if you so desire.)
- Serve immediately.
Did you make this recipe?
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