This Spaghetti Carbonara Recipe is famously flavorful! Tender pasta is tossed in a delicious parmesan-egg sauce with savory panetta. The heat from the pasta cooks the sauce making for a quick and creamy dish!
What is Spaghetti Carbonara?
Sounds fancy, right? Spaghetti a la Carbonara is one of the easiest recipes you can make but can also make you look like a master in the kitchen. This dish adds an uncooked egg mixture to hot pasta and the heat from the pasta cooks the egg mixture making for a rich creamy sauce.
- Pancetta adds a delicious salty flavor to this recipe (although it can be substituted with bacon)! In Italy this dish is made with guanciale (pork jowl) but it’s hard to find here so we use pancetta (from the pork belly).
- Parmesan Cheese is common in North America (as it’s easy to find) although spaghetti alla carbonara is traditionally made with Pecorino Romano.
- Any pasta shape will do, like fettuccine, or penne, or even rigatoni style but a classic spaghetti carbonara is traditional.
How to Make Spaghetti Carbonara
Carbonara has a creamy sauce with an egg base. The heat from the noodles cooks the eggs so it’s best of the eggs are room temperature and you have it prepared so it can be added to the hot pasta quickly!
- Whisk eggs, parmesan cheese and black pepper bowl and set aside.
- Saute the chopped pancetta (or bacon) until it is crisp.
- Boil the pasta until it is ‘al dente’ (not soft, but ‘to the bite which is what al dente means.’). Save one cup of the pasta water because it is starchy and you can use it to adjust the consistency of your sauce if needed. Do not rinse the pasta, the starch helps the consistency of the sauce.
- Quickly add the egg mixture to the hot cooked pasta. Stir in the pancetta and toss to combine. The heat from the pasta will thicken the egg. Add a bit of pasta water if needed to get the right consistency.
Top with a sprinkle of parmesan cheese and a little chopped parsley for garnish!
Work Quickly for a Smooth Sauce
Remember that your pasta has to be hot to cook/thicken the egg mixture. If it’s too hot your sauce will not have a smooth consistency (so remove the pan from the heat just before tossing the egg mixture with the hot pasta).
Add a few tablespoons or so of the reserved pasta water to reach the desired consistency. Cream isn’t traditionally added to carbonara but you can add a small splash of cream if you’d like.
What Wine Goes with Spaghetti Carbonara? Spaghetti Carbonara is a rich pasta dish so the best wine pairings will always be crisp whites like Pinot Grigios or Gris. Let the full-bodied flavors of the eggs, cheese, and garlic take center stage and pair with a light, pear or citrusy flavored wine.
More Italian Favorites
- Easy Chicken Parmesan – so flavorful
- Skinny Chicken Alfredo – lightened up version of our favorite
- Easy Chicken Marsala Recipe – so delicious and easy
- Homemade Spaghetti Sauce – kid approved and freezes well
- Chicken Piccata – another Italian favorite
- 1 lb spaghetti
- 6 slices pancetta chopped, or bacon
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 3 eggs
- 1 cup parmesan cheese shredded
- freshly ground black pepper
- Whisk eggs, parmesan cheese and black pepper in a bowl. Set aside.
- Cook pancetta over medium heat until crisp. Remove from pan and add garlic. Cook 1 minute.
- Cook pasta in salted water until al dente. Drain reserving 1 cup of pasta water.
- Place hot pasta in pan with pancetta/garlic and toss to coat. Quickly remove from heat and add egg mixture.
- Using tongs, mix well adding pasta water if needed. Stir in pancetta/bacon and add parsley/parmesan for garnish.