Pasta Carbonara


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).

Pasta Carbonara | Cooking Classy

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!

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Pasta Carbonara

4.74 from 15 votes

My favorite carbonara recipe! Pasta is coated with a perfectly creamy and rich sauce and tossed with crips bacon and parmesan. And no curdled separated sauce here, you'll love this method!

Servings: 6 Servings
Prep Time 1 hour 45 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 35 minutes


  • 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


  1. Add bacon and 1/2 cup of the water to a large non-stick skillet and bring to a simmer over medium-high heat.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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
  6. . 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.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. Recipe source: adapted from Cook's Illustrated
Nutrition Facts
Pasta Carbonara
Amount Per Serving
Calories 414 Calories from Fat 90
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 10g 15%
Saturated Fat 4g 20%
Cholesterol 132mg 44%
Sodium 761mg 32%
Potassium 233mg 7%
Total Carbohydrates 58g 19%
Dietary Fiber 2g 8%
Sugars 2g
Protein 21g 42%
Vitamin A 6.8%
Vitamin C 0.8%
Calcium 27.7%
Iron 9.3%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Italian
Keyword: carbonara, spaghetti carbonara
Calories: 414 kcal
Author: Jaclyn


  • U.B.F.: Loved this dish, lots of leftovers which got fried in butter and served with a salad.
    Shared the recipe with my daughters and granddaughter.
    Real comfort food. Thank you for a delicious recipe! February 8, 2019 at 11:37am Reply

  • Gloria: Tried this for our new years eve dinner, and the family says it’s a keeper January 7, 2019 at 6:04pm Reply

  • RalphFroio: Looks fabulous December 29, 2018 at 12:50pm Reply

  • Maddy: Absolutely delicious! My husband said better than a restaurant and wants it once a week (save the whole cholesterol thing.) December 11, 2018 at 8:05pm Reply

  • Tess Wynn: Yumminess! We added a few Green peas and some onion. Perfect dinner! November 12, 2018 at 4:29pm Reply

  • Samantha: I used pancetta, less salt and added peas … all just preference, but the recipe it’s self is amazing. Best one I’ve made so far… thank you! November 7, 2018 at 4:00pm Reply

  • Debi: Absolutely yummy. What a great recipe. I have never made this before and I’m glad that I found this recipe. It took me longer to prepare than the instructions say. But that’s just me. I’m keeping this one! Many thanks. October 18, 2018 at 10:09pm Reply

  • Debbie: Yums!!! Does it make a difference with Fresh or box pasta? Gonna make this tonight! Love ur recipes! September 19, 2018 at 10:54am Reply

    • Jaclyn: Fresh pasta would be great but you’d need a greater weight since it isn’t totally dry (and cook to al dente according to directions). I think dry pasta makes about 60 percent more using the same weight. So I think you’d need about 26 oz. Hope you enjoy! September 19, 2018 at 6:13pm Reply

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