Pasta Carbonara

08.27.2015

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!

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

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Pasta Carbonara

Yield: About 6 servings

Ingredients

  • 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

Instructions

  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. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. Recipe source: adapted from Cook's Illustrated

54 comments

  • 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

    • Julia: The ultimate dish! Thanks for the recipe, it looks fabulous! November 23, 2016 at 9:44pm 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

    • Tygre: Pancetta is the “authentic” ingredient. Delicious! Tends to be a little saltier than bacon but less fatty. I prefer it. With pancetta you will have to substitute bacon grease with olive oil and back of salt a bit March 25, 2017 at 4:22am 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

  • love quotes: Thank you for the recipe! Other recipe I found ask me for heavy cream :/ and it’s hard for me because the store near my house doesn’t have it. Your recipe looks really delicious and the ingredients I can buy easily :D July 8, 2016 at 6:39am Reply

  • Denise: Made this for dinner tonight and it was fabulous! A little more work than I was expecting, but worth it! Thanks for the recepie! August 7, 2016 at 10:01pm Reply

    • Jaclyn: I’m so glad you enjoyed it Denise! Thanks for your comment! August 8, 2016 at 10:49am Reply

  • chris middlecamp: My 12 year old son and I just made this for dinner. Yummy. September 9, 2016 at 6:32pm Reply

  • Rachel: Yum! Your site makes me so hungry, lol! September 14, 2016 at 2:03pm Reply

  • sara: Jaclyn, please don’t call your pasta “alla carbonara”. The original recipe is “spaghetti alla carbonara”, you used “linguine” but the most important thing is the fact that garlic and parsley have nothing to do with spaghetti alla carbonara; the bacon is fried with one tbsp. of extravergin oil of olive for about 2 min until becomes golden crispy; separately whisk 1 egg york/person + 1 egg with pecorino romano and parmigiano and peper. No salt. You have to salt the water when boil pasta. If pasta isn’t salted, your dish is a bad one. Anyway this is a recipe you have to cook in 5 min, exactly the time to cook the pasta al dente. When pasta is al dente you drain it and add hot pasta (no water!) to the egg – cheese mixture mixing continuously being aware not to cook eggs, have to remain creamy. For sure you are doing something else I don’t dare to try. Better watch this Italian video http://ricette.giallozafferano.it/Spaghetti-alla-Carbonara.html . Even if you don’t speak Italian you’ll SEE what’s alla carbonara about! September 18, 2016 at 4:25pm Reply

    • Dawn: Why do people feel the need to add comments like this. Have you never heard the saying ,if you can’t say something nice, say nothing at all?

      Recipe was delicious! October 8, 2016 at 3:50pm Reply

      • Jaclyn: Glad you liked it Dawn! Thanks for your comment :)! October 8, 2016 at 10:47pm Reply

        • sara: lol…. you really don’t want to learn to cook Italian dishes. I am Italian and I can’t stand you offending our “spaghetti alla carbonara”. Please call your recipe as you want but not alla carbonara. I always try to learn new recipes and I was interested in your traditional dishes but unfortunately I found your ridiculous Italian recipe/s. Why you and Dawn (who doesn’t understand that saying the truth has nothing to do with saying something nice; that’s why they call it “comment” not “positive comment only”, darlin’!) don’t try our original recipe? I bet you’ll love it… Your recipe? If you like it, call it however you want but not alla carbonara. France had to apologize for a recipe like yours posted on utube!
          pls see links below:
          http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2016/04/10/outrage-in-italy-over-frances-awful-reinvention-of-carbonara/
          http://www.konbini.com/us/lifestyle/dear-france-make-carbonara/ October 27, 2016 at 5:23pm Reply

          • rick: Sara, you’re stupid and ignorant and i am sure, a waste of skin. don’t comment if you don’t like it, stop acting like your relevant and your opinion means anything to anyone. maybe start your own food blog and see how many people like or more accurately, don’t like your attitude or cooking.
            again, your irrelevant so just shut up and leave November 15, 2016 at 3:42pm

  • cynthia: Made this and was awesome and a big hit with family. Thank you! November 2, 2016 at 9:42am Reply

    • Jaclyn: I’m glad your family liked it Cynthia! November 5, 2016 at 8:18am Reply

      • Lawra: Made it for the first time tonight. So easy and yet soooooo delicious! November 23, 2016 at 9:15pm Reply

    • Kylie: This is much easier than the recipe I used last time – I’m going to try it next time ! November 23, 2016 at 9:14pm Reply

  • Diane: I made this after watching it on Cooks Illustrated and loved it. It was similar to the way I usually make it but a better sauce. I also love mushrooms so I add them to my carbonara(I slice and saute them in some of the bacon grease). December 9, 2016 at 1:51am Reply

  • Lydia Wood: Whenever I see chicken carbonara, I want to scream, “I doesn’t exist.” The recipe is so easy and tasty, you don’t need to add anything. May 29, 2017 at 7:25pm Reply

  • Anne: Wow! This sounds delicious! Gonna try it for dinner real soon! Thanks for the recipe! Can’t wait to follow your blog to get more recipes! July 11, 2017 at 4:52pm Reply

    • Jaclyn: I hope you love it Anne! Glad to have you following along! July 26, 2017 at 3:05pm Reply

  • Sherry: I’m used to feeding football players so I doubled this and your delicious rosemary dinner rolls. It was a HUGE hit! Everyone had seconds. Sadly, no leftovers but I will definitely make this again. For dessert I made(for the 2nd time) your brownie cupcakes with cookie dough frosting. There’s 4 left!!! July 30, 2017 at 4:32pm Reply

    • Jaclyn: So glad they were all a hit Sherry! Thanks for the positive feedback! August 11, 2017 at 12:19pm Reply

  • Emma: This is probably a silly question but i have this awful fear of raw eggs, do you think they’re cooked by the time you eat and just saucy due to the water?
    Your recipe looks lovely and I’ll definitely be trying it :) id just love to know what you think. August 3, 2017 at 1:52am Reply

  • Dean: After cooking the bacon add a 1/4 cup of dry white wine and simmer for a few minutes to add a wonderful flavor and finish to a delightful meal October 1, 2017 at 5:12pm Reply

  • Karrie: This was great!! I made this in about 15 minutes shortly after being told we didn’t have enough odds & ends to make a meal!! :) The only thing I did differently was use 4 cups chicken broth & 4 cups water to boil the pasta….was a nice substitute for salt & sauce still set up perfectly. Thanks for making “Italian” so easy!!! October 8, 2017 at 6:56pm Reply

    • Jaclyn: Love the broth idea! Thanks for your comment Karrie! October 8, 2017 at 9:29pm Reply

  • Kala: I am excited to try this recipe. I am an American bu i live in Italy and have had amazing carbonara homemade by real Italian nonnas. So my standards are pretty high lol but I would love to have a recipe to share this dish when family comes to visit. :) October 18, 2017 at 7:25pm Reply

    • Jaclyn: I hope you love it! October 19, 2017 at 12:11am Reply

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