This Easy Spaghetti Carbonara Recipe is made with just six ingredients and comes together quickly for a weeknight dinner or fancy dinner party. Rich, creamy parmesan cheese combines with smoky bacon and salty flavorings to give this dish an extra special touch!
Spaghetti Carbonara is a classic Italian pasta dish that originated in Rome. It's made with spaghetti and a creamy sauce made with parmesan cheese, bacon, egg yolks, and garlic. The smoky flavor of the bacon combined with the salty and sharp flavors of the cheese makes it a comforting meal that can be served anytime!
This recipe for classic spaghetti carbonara is an easy pasta dish to make because it only uses six simple ingredients: spaghetti, eggs, bacon, black pepper, parmesan cheese, and minced garlic!
A simple sauce is whisked together and uses pasta water to help thicken. Toss the sauce with cooked crumbled bacon, and you've got a full fancy Italian pasta dish that can easily be enjoyed with a side of Sheet Pan Breadsticks!
Why You’ll Love This Recipe
- This spaghetti carbonara recipe is a classic Italian dish that is full of flavor, smoky bacon, and rich, creamy parmesan cheese.
- It's an easy pasta meal to whip up in under 30 minutes, and the ingredients are simple!
- The black pepper adds an extra layer of flavor, and the garlic adds a little kick.
- You can easily customize the recipe by adding other ingredients like mushrooms, peas, and chopped fresh herbs.
Ingredients You’ll Need
- Spaghetti - Classic spaghetti is the best choice for this dish. The sauce clings to the long strands of pasta better than other shapes.
- Eggs - Eggs act as a binding agent and help thicken the sauce for a creamy texture.
- Bacon - Bacon gives this recipe an amazing smoky flavor that pairs well with the cheesy parmesan sauce.
- Black Pepper - Adds a hint of spice and extra flavor.
- Parmesan Cheese - The cheese helps to thicken the sauce and adds a nice salty flavor.
- Garlic - Garlic gives this dish an extra touch of flavor that is traditional in Italian recipes.
How To Make Spaghetti Carbonara
Combine the sauce ingredients: In a small bowl, add the eggs, pepper, and parmesan cheese. Whisk until smooth and set aside.
Cook the pasta: Fill a large pot with water and salt generously. Bring the salted water to a boil and cook the pasta according to the directions on the package. After cooking, set aside ½ cup of the pasta water and set the rest aside.
Fry the bacon: Preheat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add bacon to the skillet and cook until it turns brown and crispy, about 6-8 minutes. Reserve the excess fat.
Cook the garlic: Add the garlic to the skillet where the bacon was and saute for 30 seconds. Reduce the heat to low, then add in the cooked and drained pasta.
Add the sauce: Slowly pour the sauce and cooked bacon into the pasta and toss with tongs to distribute evenly. Slowly add the ½ cup of pasta water, one tablespoon at a time, until a thick consistency is reached.
Garnish and serve: Distribute into serving dishes and garnish with additional parmesan cheese and freshly chopped pasta. Enjoy!
- Be sure to whisk the egg mixture until it's very smooth, so it doesn't get lumpy in the sauce.
- Use fresh parmesan cheese for best results-avoid pre-shredded cheese as it won’t melt, and mix it into the sauce as well.
- Also, be sure to mix the pasta water in slowly, as adding it too fast can make the sauce too thin.
- If you don't have fresh garlic on hand, you can use garlic powder instead.
- Use tongs to mix everything together so the sauce coats all of the pasta strands evenly.
- You can add mushrooms or peas to the recipe to add more texture and nutrients.
- To give it a spicy kick, add some diced jalapenos or red pepper flakes.
- For a lighter version of this dish, use Greek yogurt instead of egg and Parmesan cheese in the sauce.
- If you don't have bacon, cook diced pancetta or prosciutto in the skillet instead.
- To make the dish vegetarian, omit the bacon and swirl in olive oil for flavor.
- Instead of parmesan cheese, use other hard Italian cheeses such as pecorino-romano or asiago.
- Other pasta types can be used for this recipe, including fettuccine, rigatoni, or campanile.
Storing & Freezing
Storing: Once cooled, leftover carbonara can be stored in the refrigerator in an airtight container for up to 3 days.
Reheating: The best way to reheat spaghetti carbonara is by adding it to a skillet with a little bit of olive oil or butter. Heat over medium heat, stirring often, until heated through. You can also reheat in the microwave in 30-60 second intervals.
Freezing: Allow the carbonara to cool completely before transferring it to a resealable freezer bag. Squeeze out as much air as possible and label with the date. It will last for up to 3 months in the freezer. To thaw, transfer the bag to the refrigerator overnight and reheat in a skillet or microwave as directed above.
Carbonara is an Italian pasta dish made with eggs, bacon or pancetta, and cheese. The name comes from the word “carbonaro” which means charcoal burner-a reference to the coal miners that often ate this dish.
Raw eggs can be used in carbonara sauce, however, it is important to use fresh and high-quality eggs for the best result. If you are concerned about raw eggs, you can opt for pasteurized egg products instead.
Yes, this dish can be made gluten free by using gluten-free pasta. Be sure to check any other ingredients that may contain wheat.
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Spaghetti Carbonara Recipe
- Add eggs, pepper, and parmesan cheese to a small bowl. Whisk and set aside.
- Following the package directions, boil the pasta in a generously salted large pot of water. Once cooked, set aside ½ cup of pasta water and drain the pasta.
- Preheat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add bacon to the skillet and cook until it turns brown and crispy about 6-8 minutes. Then, set aside any excess fat.
- Add garlic to the skillet and stir for 30 seconds. Then, reduce the heat to low.
- Add cooked pasta to the skillet, and slowly pour in the egg mixture and bacon. Mixing with a pair of tongs until well incorporated.
- Gradually add the reserved pasta water, one tablespoon at a time, until the desired consistency is achieved.
- Garnish with parmesan cheese and parsley before serving.
*All nutrition information provided is automatically calculated and is an estimate and will vary based on ingredients, brands, and changes in cooking methods listed in the recipe. If you need exact numbers on your ingredients, I would recommend calculating them with your prefered nutrition calculator.