A velvety, creamy spaghetti Carbonara that is full of flavor and so easy to make. Also, it’s totally foolproof, so don’t worry about messing it up.
Who doesn’t like spaghetti?? Here at my house my kids’ eyes shine when they see it on the table, specially if it has bacon, as in this easy and delicious Spaghetti Carbonara.
Spaghetti alla Carbonara is an Italian dish that contains delicious ingredients, like pancetta or bacon, eggs, garlic and cheese. Although it’s very simple to make, many people struggle when cooking it, because of the eggs in the sauce. If not made correctly you might end up with pasta and scrambled eggs.
So, for this recipe, I’ll show you a way to do it that is easy, delicious, and won’t give you the chance to end up with a lumpy sauce.
How to make Spaghetti Carbonara
Start bringing about 2 liters (or 2 quarts) of water to a boil.
While the water heats up, chop the bacon (or pancetta) and cook it in a skillet until crispy. When you see that the bacon is almost ready, add the chopped garlic, and cook it for about 1 minute. Let it get a slight golden color, but be careful to not let it get brown. Light colored garlic has a delicious flavor, but brown garlic tastes bitter.
Once you’ve got the color you wanted for the garlic, drain bacon and garlic, and set them aside in a bowl. Reserve about 2 tablespoons of the bacon oil for later (3 tbsp if you plan on adding any leftover cooked chicken or vegetable).
Now, shred your cheese. It is important to use a good sharp flavored cheese, like Pecorino or Parmesan, because it’s going to be one of the most prominent flavors in the recipe. If you use a not so good cheese, your pasta might end up with a not so good taste.
In a medium bowl, whisk the eggs and the yolk, and add a pinch of salt.
So, by now your water must be already boiling, and you can cook your pasta if you haven’t yet. Once the pasta is cooked (for the time stated in the package), get a mug and reserve 2 cups of the pasta water. Then, drain the pasta and very quickly run some cold water on the empty pan (not pasta), so it won’t be burning hot. This will help to not scramble the eggs when they get in contact with the pan.
Put the pasta back in the empty pan, add 2 tablespoons of the reserved fat and stir to coat. Add the bacon and garlic that were set aside.
The important step
Now, the most important step for a perfect Carbonara: Pour 11/2 cups of the reserved scalding water over the egg mixture. Whisk it constantly while pouring the water. This process will give you a few things: First, the scalding water will kill bacteria from the raw eggs. Second, the starch in the water will help you achieve the thickness and silky texture desired for the sauce. Third, it will be another help to not scramble the eggs.
Pour the egg/water mixture over the hot pasta and add the cheese. With the help of a tong, toss the pasta to get it all coated.
Pronto! Now you have a delicious Spaghetti Carbonara just for you!! Just kidding!… Although it’s so good that you might want to eat it all by yourself, it gives you enough servings to share with the people you love!
Making it a ‘Smart Dish’
If you are not familiar with this term, smart dish is the name I give to the dishes that you can create using leftovers from previous recipes. This way you can have a new dish without all the previous work, meaning less wasting of time and less wasting of money.
So, for this Carbonara, for example, you can use some diced chicken you might have hanging around.
In my case, on the day before, we had rice, salad and chicken breasts. So what I did, I baked a few more breasts and saved them for the future. Put 2 cooked breasts in the freezer, and 2 in fridge. So today for my Carbonara I also added some cubed chicken, to make it even more filling.
Since my chicken was already cubed, the only thing I did was to heat it up in the 1 tablespoon of bacon fat remaining in my pan. (I set aside 3 tablespoons of fat: 2 for the pasta and 1 for the chicken).
That’s it! Just 2 minutes heating up the chicken and it gave me a more filling and full of protein dish.
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- 1 lb spaghetti
- 2 liters (or quarts) water
- 2 tbsp table salt
- 3 whole eggs
- 1 yolk
- 9 slices bacon
- 5 cloves garlic
- 11/2 cups grated Parmesan cheese
- 2 cups pasta water
- 2 tbsp parsley optional
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Start adding about 2 liters or 2 quarts of water in a pot, and bring it to a boil.
Salt it with about 2 tbsp of table salt. Cook pasta for the amount of time
stated in the package. Drain it reserving 2 cups of the cooking water.In the meanwhile, chop the bacon (or pancetta), mince the garlic, and grate the cheese.In a skillet, cook bacon until crispy. When you see that the bacon is almost ready, add the chopped garlic, and cook it for about 1 minute. Let it get a slight golden color, but be careful to not let it get brown. Light colored garlic has a delicious flavor, but brown garlic tastes bitter.Once you've got the color you wanted for the garlic, drain everything and set aside in a bowl, reserving about 2 tablespoons of the bacon fat. (3 if you plan on adding any leftover cooked chicken or vegetable).In a medium bowl, whisk the eggs and the yolk and add a pinch of salt.By now your pasta is already cooked and drained (don't forget to set aside about 2 cups of the pasta water), so very quickly, run some cold water on the empty pan (not pasta), so it won't be burning hot. This will help to not cook the eggs when they get in contact with the pan.Put the pasta back in the empty pan and add 2 tablespoons of the reserved bacon fat, tossing to coat. Add the bacon and garlic that were set aside.Now, the most important step. Pour 1 1/2 cups of the reserved hot water over the egg mixture. Whisk it constantly while pouring the water.Once water and eggs are combined, pour the mixture over the hot pasta and add the cheese. With the help of a tong, toss the pasta to get it all coated.You'll see that the sauce will get thicker and will cover the pasta. Add parsley and pepper, if desired, and correct salt if needed.Voila!! You've just made a delicious Carbonara by yourself!Enjoy!!
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