Spaghetti Carbonara

Yesterday when I shared my recipe for Fried Stuffed Zucchini Blossoms, I was reminded of the entree that Ryan ordered that same night in Rome:  Spaghetti Carbonara. For those of you that have never had or even heard of it before, it is spaghetti with bacon, onions, eggs and cheese. What is not to love? It is a little creamy, salty and best of all, super quick and easy to make.

While I love scrambled eggs and bacon as much as the next girl, they aren’t exactly what I am looking for in this recipe. It has taken me a couple of tries before figuring out the perfect way to ensure I don’t end up with scrambled eggs in this dish. The trick is beating the eggs with cheese and then tempering the eggs with a little reserved pasta water. Next, while the pasta is still hot, but not on the heat anymore, I pour the egg mixture over the top and toss with tongs like a mad woman.  Don’t worry, the heat from the pasta will cook the eggs, but instead of scrambled you will have a sauce that will deliciously coat the pasta.

If you have made this before then you may notice that this recipe calls for wine. Traditionally this recipe doesn’t have any wine in it but I had some so I thought what the heck, what could it hurt? I added it to the pan right after I sauteed the onions and garlic. I found it gave a very nice subtle flavor.

Spaghetti Carbonara Recipe

Serves 4 - 6 Prep Time: Cook Time:

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound dried spaghetti
  • about 2 tablespoons kosher salt for pasta water
  • 7 slices thick cut bacon, diced
  • 1/2 onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup dry white wine
  • 1/4 cup freshly grated Romano cheese
  • 1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 eggs
  • fresh cracked pepper
  • fresh chopped parsley

Instructions

1

Bring 4-6 quarts water to boil, add salt and stir in pasta. Cook until al-dente 9-11 minutes. Strain, reserve 1/4 cup pasta water.

2

Meanwhile, in a large pan fry bacon until crispy. Strain on paper towel. Reserve 2 tablespoons bacon drippings.

3

Add onion and garlic to bacon drippings. Cook until softened, about 3 minutes. Pour wine over onions and garlic. Cook 3 minutes. Return bacon to pan.

4

Add pasta to pan with onion, garlic and bacon. Toss with tongs to coat. Cook until the pasta is hot and absorbs the sauce about 1 minute.

5

Beat together eggs and both cheeses. Slowly add a couple of tablespoons of reserved pasta water to temper the eggs. Remove the pasta from the heat. Pour egg mixture over the pasta and toss with tongs constantly until the pasta is coated. Add remaining pasta water if pasta seems dry or is sticking together.

6

Sprinkle with fresh cracked pepper and chopped fresh parsley. Toss once more. Serve immediately.

Notes

If you want even more cheese sprinkle some more grated Parmesan or Romano over the top. If you are looking for something to serve along side, Fried Stuffed Zucchini Blossoms and a green salad make the perfect accompaniments to this dish. Enjoy!

  • What a beautiful picture! No a little wine does not hurt;-)

  • Des! Thanks for keeping this recipe authentic and original!! You know Daziano’s blog? He’s very good at explaining the origin of recipes, and he posted on carbonara’s ethimology, if you will, a little while ago (http://italialicious.blogspot.com/2009/05/spaghetti-alla-carbonara.html)
    I love this dish, it’s quick, easy and rustic. I’m glad you shared the tip about tempering the eggs with pasta water. It makes all the difference :)

  • That looks delicious! I’ve had Carbonara, but never made it myself. I’m definitely saving this recpe to try soon.

  • zoe

    I have yet to try to make this at home because I’ve been intimidated by the raw egg, but you make it seem so easy. Thanks Des!

  • That’s exactly what I’ve been looking for! You can find a million of Carbonara recipes but only one will be as good as Carbonara should be. Thank you so much for sharing!

  • Ben

    HI There

    Really stunning food photos. First off apologies for contacting you through the comments instead of by email but I wanted to bring FoodandFizz to your attention as a great place for you to share some of your photos. We would love to feature some of your photos and hopefully send a little traffic back this way to you :) Drop me an email if you have any problems and look forward to seeing your stuff

    Regards

    Ben

  • What a shame that this recipe is woefully wrong. The italians do not use whole eggs. The yolks must be separated from the whites, and only the yolks are used to combine with the cheese. That is what gives Carbonara its distinctive yellow color. Americans have made an even worse mess of it by using a cream sauce instead.

  • Giuseppe- That is interesting. I knew that it didn’t have cream in it but every other recipe I have seen or tried used whole eggs. I will definitely have to try it with only egg yolks. Thanks for the tip.

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  • Peggy

    Yes it is very important to temper those eggs with hot water. I have seen many recipes for Carbonara that dont tell you to do that and you end up with a chunky eggy mess.

  • Indian Vegetarian Recipes

    Yummy and delicious recipe!!!!!!
    I make it today