Pasta Carbonara


Pasta Carbonara | Cooking Classy

Pasta carbonara is one of those simple dinners we should all know how to make. It’s the perfect go to for a busy weeknight and it’s also a dish fit for the weekend or even to serve to guests. It seems like one of those dinners with so few ingredients that how could you possibly mess it up, but oh how you can if you aren’t using with the right method. I’m no expert on carbonara which is why I turned to Cook’s Illustrated, they are the kitchen geniuses. I loved how they cooked their pasta in less water to begin with to really concentrate the starches which will help bind everything in the sauce and prevent separation when you add it to the egg mixture. I also loved that they simmered the bacon in water first, I always feel like my bacon burns or unevenly cooks for some reason when I cook it in a skillet but when I went their route and cooked it in water first and let it simmer off then continue to brown it worked like a charm. I had perfectly browned and crisp bacon. I also loved that they tested and came up with the perfect ratio of eggs and yolks (or one yolk in this case) to have the perfect custard flavor and the perfect consistency. Just be sure you immediately add the hot pasta water into the egg mixture to help cook it (if needed you could even re-warm it in the microwave but it needs to be very hot).

Their recipe listed Romano cheese but I always have Parmesan on hand so I went with that to keep the simple weeknight meal idea here, but I’m sure Romano would also be delicious. Better yet, use half of each. Just be sure it’s freshly grated. Enjoy!

Pasta Carbonara | Cooking ClassyPasta Carbonara | Cooking Classy pasta carbonara+srgb.Pasta Carbonara | Cooking Classy

Pasta Carbonara

Yield: About 6 servings

Pasta Carbonara


  • 8 - 10 slices bacon, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 8 1/2 cups water, divided
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 lb linguine or spaghetti
  • 1 1/4 cups finely grated parmesan cheese, plus more for serving
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 1 tsp each salt and pepper
  • Chopped fresh parsley, for garnish


  • Add bacon and 1/2 cup of the water to a large non-stick skillet and bring to a simmer over medium-high heat. Allow to simmer until water evaporates about 6 - 7 minutes, then reduce heat to medium-low and continue to cook until bacon is brown and crisp, about 6 - 8 minutes longer. Place a fine mesh strainer over a bowl then pour bacon into strainer while reserving about 1 tsp of the rendered fat in pan. Return pan to heat and saute garlic about 30 seconds, until fragrant and lightly golden. Pour into a medium mixing bowl then add 1 Tbsp rendered bacon fat (drippings in bowl set under strainer) to mixing bowl with garlic. Add eggs, egg yolk, parmesan and pepper to garlic mixture and whisk until well combined.
  • Meanwhile, bring 8 cups of water to a boil in a large dutch oven (no more than 8 cups because you want a very starchy water for the sauce). Add spaghetti and salt to boiling water and cook until al dente. While pasta is boiling, set a colander in a large bowl. Drain al dente pasta into colander in bowl, while reserving pasta water in bowl. Measure out 1 cup hot pasta water and discard remaining water. Place pasta in now empty large bowl. Slowly pour and whisk 1/2 cup pasta water into egg mixture, then slowly pour mixture over pasta while tossing to coat. Add bacon and toss to combine. Season with salt if desired. Let pasta rest, tossing frequently, 2 - 4 minutes until sauce has thickened slightly and coats pasta. Thin with remaining 1/2 cup hot pasta water as needed. Serve immediately topped with additional parmesan and parsley.
  • Recipe source: adapted from Cook's Illustrated


  • Bella B: This looks so good!
    August 27, 2015 at 9:52pm Reply

  • Ana: Me encanta!
    Se ve delicioso! August 28, 2015 at 12:37am Reply

  • Danika Maia: Oh man I haven’t even had breakfast yet and that’s got be craving dinner big time!

    Danika Maia August 28, 2015 at 1:00am Reply

  • Joanna: Spaghetti Carbonara is one of my favourite foods, but I usually prepare it without putting much thought into it. But now that I’ve seen your version, I’m going to take my pasta to the next level. It really looks like a meal from a top restaurant. I know what I’m talking about, because I’ve only eaten perfect Carbonara once and it wasn’t homemade. I’m pinning this recipe!
    August 28, 2015 at 3:07am Reply

  • Laura Dembowski: Such a classic dinner! Love that you used Parmesan- I always have it in the refrigerator too. August 28, 2015 at 6:04am Reply

  • Martha in KS: This will be dinner tonight. Thanks! August 28, 2015 at 7:21am Reply

  • SaraLily: I love good carbonara! I tend to treat myself at restaurants when they have it on the menu but never thought to just make it myself! I think the egg part always intimidated me. This doesn’t seem so bad, though! August 28, 2015 at 7:36am Reply

  • Anne: Carbonara . . . the ultimate pasta dish! Thanks for the recuoe, it looks fabulous! August 28, 2015 at 7:31pm Reply

  • Joyce: 8 1/2 CUPS of water??? Really???? August 28, 2015 at 8:22pm Reply

    • Jaclyn: If you read through the directions you’ll see the 8 cups is just for boiling the pasta. August 30, 2015 at 3:41pm Reply

  • Joyce: Oh dear. Sorry about the water. I had a couple glasses of wine and removed my glasses … lesson learned, no drunk commenting! August 30, 2015 at 4:44pm Reply

    • Jaclyn: Lol no worries :)! August 30, 2015 at 11:20pm Reply

  • Shawn @ I Wash You Dry: I love mine with LOTS of bacon and cheese. Yum! September 2, 2015 at 11:38am Reply

  • Ko: Carbonara is one of my favourite meals every but I never though I could make it at myself at home… this recipe looks amazing and something I could do myself. So excited to try it out! September 12, 2015 at 1:40pm Reply

  • Jocelyn: Excellent recipe! My family loved it! September 12, 2015 at 7:54pm Reply

    • Jaclyn: I’m so glad it was enjoyed Jocelyn! Thanks for leaving a comment! September 13, 2015 at 10:07am Reply

  • Katie: How would you recommend reheating? I made this for two, so we have left overs. October 12, 2015 at 6:31pm Reply

  • Cindy: The recipe calls for 3 eggs and 1 egg yolk. So does that mean there are 4 yolks all together? Or 3 egg whites and 1 egg yolk? October 13, 2015 at 4:17pm Reply

    • Jaclyn: 3 whole eggs and 1 egg yolk, sorry for the confusion. October 13, 2015 at 4:47pm Reply

  • Katie: How would you recommend reheating this? October 13, 2015 at 5:10pm Reply

  • Sarah: Can you use pancetta instead of bacon?

    Thanks. October 23, 2015 at 12:32pm Reply

  • Angela: I am so grateful you posted this! I made the carbonara for lunch today. It was so delicious. I haven’t been able to find the dish anywhere local since I moved. I halved the recipe and used shredded Parmesan cheese since that’s all I had on hand. It was perfect. Thank you! December 3, 2015 at 1:29pm Reply

  • Michelle Seidemann: Simply delicious! Carbonara is one of my favourites but my husband has never liked it until now. I did add some cream as we like it saucy and it was amazing. Thanks for pinning. December 28, 2015 at 11:03am Reply

  • Amber: Does the egg get cooked enough to eat? I’m pregnant so I worry about that stuff ;) May 25, 2016 at 5:24pm Reply

    • Jaclyn: I probably wouldn’t recommend eating it while pregnant. The eggs aren’t raw but they also aren’t cooked entirely through and set. May 25, 2016 at 8:38pm Reply

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