Easy Spaghetti Carbonara Recipe (3-Steps)

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By Ollie Cartwright

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Ready in just 18 minutes this simple, velvety & indulgent Spaghetti Carbonara Recipe stands the test of time. There are only 3 steps!

Spaghetti Carbonara

How to Make Easy Spaghetti Carbonara

A detailed recipe with full quantities can be found in the recipe card at the bottom of this page.

Step 1: Cook your pasta in a large pot of boiling water until al dente. While that’s cooking, heat the oil in a frying pan over medium heat. Cook your sliced pancetta strips, stirring frequently for 2-3 minutes until the edges begin to crisp. (If you’re using frozen pancetta, add an extra 2-3 minutes). Stir in the garlic for 30-60 seconds. Remove from heat and set aside.

Can I Use Frozen Pancetta?

Yes! This recipe is perfect for previously frozen pancetta. Find out how to freeze it here.

Step 2: In a large bowl, whisk the eggs, yolk, parmesan and cream. Whisking your egg whites and yolks together completely is what makes that amazingly creamy, velvety sauce.

Step 3: Add the egg mixture from the bowl to the pan with pancetta & garlic, stirring well until they’re combined. Next, drain your pasta (which should be perfectly al dente at this point) and quickly, but carefully, add it to your carbonara sauce. Do NOT place the pan over heat again! The heat from your pasta will cook the egg slightly to form a creamy sauce. Toss or stir thoroughly, making sure each piece of pasta is well coated.

Plate, garnish with parsley & extra grated parmesan, then enjoy!

Tweaks

As usual, we’ve got several tweaks for you to try……

  • Guanciale or Bacon: Instead of pancetta, try using guanciale for a more traditional Italian flavor. If you can’t find either, bacon works well too.
  • Add Black Pepper: Carbonara is typically seasoned generously with black pepper. Add it to taste, either in the sauce or sprinkled over the dish before serving.
  • Cook the Garlic Longer: For a milder garlic flavor, cook the garlic in the olive oil over low heat until it’s fragrant but not browned.
  • Skip the Cream: Traditional carbonara doesn’t contain cream. You can omit it for a more authentic dish. The sauce will still be quite creamy from the eggs and cheese alone.
  • Pecorino Romano: For a more complex flavor, use a combination of Parmesan and Pecorino Romano cheeses.
  • Adjust Your Egg Ratio: You can play with the number of eggs and yolks to get your desired richness. More yolks will give you a creamier texture.
  • Different Pasta: Tired of spaghetti? Give fettucini or linguine a try! If you’re feeling particularly motivated, make your own fresh pasta to really elevate the dish! (Fresh pasta doesn’t freeze well though.)

Storage

Freeze it Again?

Nope! Not only is this dish best fresh, do NOT thaw it and refreeze it.

Refrigerate: Spaghetti carbonara can be refrigerated for up to 3 days if stored in an airtight container.

Freeze: This meal is best fresh. No question about it! But if you’ve absolutely got to, freeze the sauce and pasta separately for best results.

Reheat: Reheating frozen spaghetti carbonara can be a bit tricky because the texture of the sauce may change. However, if you’ve already frozen it and want to reheat it, here’s how you can do it:

  1. Thawing: If possible, thaw the frozen spaghetti carbonara in the refrigerator overnight.
  2. Reheating on the Stovetop:
    • Heat a skillet over medium-low heat.
    • Add the thawed carbonara to the skillet.
    • Gently heat the carbonara, stirring constantly to prevent the eggs from scrambling.
    • If the sauce seems too thick, you can add a splash of cream or pasta water to help loosen it.
  3. Reheating in the Microwave:
    • Place the thawed carbonara in a microwave-safe dish.
    • Cover the dish with a damp paper towel to prevent splattering.
    • Microwave on medium power in 30-second intervals, stirring in between, until heated through.

FAQs

Can I Use Bacon Instead of Pancetta or Guanciale?

Yes, you can use bacon as a substitute, but the flavor will be slightly different.

Can I Make Carbonara Without Eggs?

Eggs are a key ingredient in carbonara – they create the creamy sauce. However, there are eggless versions of carbonara that use cream or other ingredients to achieve a similar texture.

How Do I Prevent the Eggs From Scrambling When Making Carbonara?

It’s important to remove the pan from the heat before adding the eggs and to toss the pasta quickly to coat it evenly with the sauce.

Do I Need to Use Cream in Carbonara?

Traditional carbonara does not contain cream. The creamy texture comes from the eggs and cheese.

Easy Spaghetti Carbonara Recipe

0.0 from 0 votes
Course: DinnerCuisine: ItalianDifficulty: Easy
Servings

4

servings
Prep time

7

minutes
Cooking time

11

minutes
Total time

18

minutes
Cook Mode

Keeps the screen of your device ON

Ingredients

  • 400 g 14 oz – Spaghetti (or pasta of your choice)

  • 1 tbsp 1 tbsp – Olive Oil

  • 200 g 1/2 lb – Pancetta (1cm wide strips)

  • 2 2 – Garlic Cloves (finely chopped)

  • 3 3 – Eggs (entire egg)

  • 1 1 – Egg Yolk (separated from egg white)

  • 100 ml 1/2 cup – Heavy Cream

  • 50 g 2/3 cup – Parmesan (finely grated)

  • 2 tbsp 2 tbsp – Parsley (finely chopped)

Directions

  • Start Pasta & Cook Pancetta
    Cook pasta until al dente. Heat oil in frying pan over medium heat. Cook sliced pancetta strips, stirring frequently for 2-3 minutes until edges crisp. Remove from heat and set aside.
  • Mix Egg Sauce
    In large bowl, whisk the eggs, yolk, parmesan and cream.
  • Combine & Serve
    Add egg mixture to pancetta & garlic, stirring well. (NOT over heat!) Drain pasta and quickly,add to carbonara sauce in pan. (Do NOT place the pan over heat!) Toss or stir thoroughly, making sure pasta is well coated. Plate, garnish, enjoy!

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