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Make this easy weekday night meal with green veggies mixed with red wine vinaigrette or an asparagus salad, or serve it up at your next dinner with my favorite red sangria. Discover even more Italian recipes (but don't look when you're hungry).
Why is homemade pasta carbonara so unpredictable? While this humble Italian staple couldn't be simpler, many people never dare do it at home. And when they do, the Internet fills up with their problems of boiled eggs in carbonara sauce and less creamy results.
If you think carbonara pasta is beyond your abilities, think again. You may surprise yourself. This cool technique makes failsafe pasta without stirring the eggs, making every bite with bacon unforgettably good.
Here is the secret: Preheat a bowl to mix the pasta with the egg and cheese, to prevent them from turning into scrambled eggs. The result? A delicious and silky texture that is as good as any Italian restaurant.
Spaghetti Carbonara Ingredients:
Although creamy, this carbonara sauce recipe is cream-free. You really only need these four ingredients: spaghetti, eggs, bacon, and Parmesan cheese.
As with all simple recipes, quality ingredients mean you will get a better meal.
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- Spaghetti. You can use any long pasta you want, really. Bucatini, linguini, fettuccini.
- Bacon. The traditional carbonara uses some type of cured pork jowl, such as guanciale, pancetta, etc., cut into small cubes. If you have it, of course, use it. But bacon works just as well for preparing dinner at the table.
- Garlic. A little garlic improves everything.
- Eggs. Raw eggs become cooked and silky when thrown into hot pasta.
- Parmesan. Carbonara sauce generally uses an aged sheep cheese, a sheep's milk cheese that tastes a little stronger than Parmesan. Use it if you have it, but again, Parmesan works great. Just be sure to use fresh parmesan, not the stuff in the green can. (Although that also has its place!)
- Salt and freshly ground pepper.
- Parsley. Optional, to decorate.
- Peas. Shelled peas are very common in alla carbonara dishes. If you are buying raw peas, blanch the peas for a minute in the pasta water. Then add them to the eggs when you add the pasta.
- Onions. Some cooks insist on onions, but it is not traditional. If you like onions, cook them in the pan until golden brown at the same time you cook the bacon.
How to make carbonara:
Grate the cheese, break the eggs and chop the bacon before starting, because this recipe moves.
- First, place a large serving bowl on the center rack of the oven and preheat the oven to 200 degrees. This will prepare the egg bowl a little later.
- Meanwhile, cook pasta until al dente in boiling salty water. When draining the pasta, be sure to reserve about a cup of pasta water, which is added to the carbonara sauce and helps emulsify.
- While the pasta is cooking, cook the minced bacon in a skillet over medium heat until golden and crisp. Add the minced garlic and cook for another 30 seconds, then remove the pan from the heat. (If you use guanciale or pancetta, it will look more translucent than crisp, that's what you want.)
- Then, remove the hot bowl from the oven and add the eggs, grated cheese, and a little ground pepper. Whisk everything together with a fork to combine.
- Then immediately add the pasta, bacon and garlic, and any processed bacon fat to the bowl and mix everything well to combine.
- Finally, add a little of the pasta water until the pasta becomes creamy and shiny. Give it a final seasoning with salt and pepper. Then garnish with parsley and extra cheese, if desired. Serve immediately in the warm bowl.
Tips for making the best carbonara:
- Use eggs at room temperature. Leave the eggs on the counter while you cook, or put them in a glass of warm water to warm them up.
- Make sure the bowl is preheated. The residual heat from the pasta and the heat from the bowl will work together to make that glorious, silky sauce.
- Keep the pasta moving. Mix and match pasta well to cover each strand.
- Enjoy immediately. This is a humble pasta dish that is made on the go and should be eaten right away. No advance advice here.
Pasta Carbonara: what have I been doing wrong?
Have you ever failed in the carbonara game? Nine out of ten times, people overcook eggs. What they end up with is a crumbly-looking, dry pasta sauce.
Each chef has his own method for the best carbonara. Some ask to create a double boiler on the stove to gently heat the eggs once they have been added to the paste. It's great, but it requires a lot of additional configuration.
Others insist that you do it quickly while holding the (very heavy) pan just above the stove flame. That can be really tricky, unless you have a third arm or someone else holding the heavy skillet.
And finally, because each person's stove, skillet, and cooker are different, it can be difficult to know what the problem is without extensive trial and error.
However, this recipe takes a lot of guesswork out. Using a hot bowl keeps everything warm enough for the eggs to do their thing. Nothing cooks too much, and you get fantastic creamy pasta every time.
How about Spaghetti Carbonara with cream?
Some recipes add a generous amount of thick cream to the recipe to ensure creaminess. The cream also helps to unite everything on the stove.
Of course, it tastes good, as it does thick cream, but you really don't need it with this technique. You'll still get great texture with just eggs, bacon fat, and cheese.
Can I get sick from raw eggs in Pasta Carbonara?
While the eggs may not reach 160 degrees for cooking, they are also not absolutely raw. This recipe should be fine for most people with healthy immune systems.
But most importantly, always be careful with raw or undercooked ingredients. Fortunately, you can buy pasteurized eggs in most well-stocked supermarkets, which reduces the risk of salmonella or other foodborne illnesses.
If consuming undercooked eggs worries you, or if you're preparing food for children, the elderly, or pregnant women, be sure to research the safety guidelines for eggs in your region before preparing the recipe.
A recipe for Spaghetti Carbonara that is so easy to make and so incredibly delicious that you will never ask for it again at your favorite trattoria. This creamy pasta is perfect for low-key dinners, or just for loading carbs on the couch with your favorite show. Cuisine: American, Italian Preparation time: 5 minutes Cook time: 10 minutes Total time: 15 minutes Servings: 6 servings Calories: 492kcal
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1 pound of spaghetti
- 6 slices of minced bacon
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- 3 large eggs
- 1 cup grated Parmesan cheese and more to serve
- Chopped fresh parsley for garnish, optional
- Set the oven rack to the middle position and preheat the oven to 200 degrees. Place a large serving bowl on the center rack (large enough to accommodate a pound of cooked pasta).
- Boil 4 quarts of water and 1 tablespoon of salt. Add spaghetti and cook until al dente, about 10 minutes. Reserve 1 cup of pasta water, then drain well.
- Meanwhile, in a medium skillet over medium heat, add bacon and cook until golden and crisp, about 5 to 7 minutes. Add garlic until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Get away from the heat.
- Carefully remove the bowl from the oven and add the eggs, cheese, and pepper to taste (I like 1/2 tsp.). Whisk with a fork to combine. Immediately add the pasta, the bacon with garlic and the fat and mix to mix.
- Add a little pasta water until you reach the desired consistency (it should be creamy), then season to taste with salt and pepper. Garnish with more cheese and fresh parsley, if desired.
Most of the Carbonara recipes I found use a skillet to heat up the egg mixture which can be delicate and cause scrambled eggs. I love Mark Bittman's method of using a heated bowl in the oven as described in his book, Dinner for All.
Calories :: 492kcal