Pasta Carbonara is on your table in 20 minutes, and is absolutely delicious. Follow this simple recipe for a fast dinner recipe everyone will love!
Carbonara is such a simple and traditional pasta dish. I love that it has just a few ingredients but still lands on your table as a big bowl of flavorful comfort.
True story: I got so hungry just writing this post for Carbonara, that I walked to my kitchen to make sure I had all the ingredients to make it again. We are in luck my friends, I do.
Looks like we are having Pasta alla Carbonara again tonight!
The ingredients for Carbonara are so simple and also very easy to keep on hand, making this a great last minute meal in my house.
- Thick Cut Bacon
- Parmesan Cheese
- Salt and Pepper
How to Make Pasta Carbonara
While this dish is very simple there a few important steps to it. I urge you to read through the recipe at the bottom of the post (always a good idea) before you start the recipe.
- Prepare all of the ingredients before you start cooking – cut up the bacon, shred the cheese, and whisk together the eggs and cheese.
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil, adding a teaspoon of salt to the water.
- Cook the spaghetti according to package instructions, making sure to reserve 1/2 cup of pasta water before you drain it.
- Cook the bacon, adding garlic just before the bacon crisps up.
- Toss the pasta with the bacon and garlic making sure the pasta gets coated with the bacon fat.
- Remove from the heat and add the egg and cheese mixture. The heat from the pasta will cook the egg.
How Does the Egg Cook
As noted in step 6 above, the heat from the pasta will cook the egg. This is why it is key that everything is ready to go when the pasta is finished cooking. You don’t want the pasta to cool while you prepare everything else.
It’s also important to remove the skillet from the heat before adding in the egg mixture. Keeping it over the heat runs the risk of scrambling the eggs, a texture that wouldn’t be great in this recipe.
Freshly Grated Parmesan or Canned Parmesan
We’ve made this recipe with both freshly grated Parmesan and Parmesan that you buy finely grated in a can. I will say that both versions of this recipe are delicious, but I do prefer freshly grated Parmesan cheese.
A block of Parmesan cheese can be expensive. If that holds you back from making this dish, please go with the cheaper version so you can still have this delicious pasta recipe.
Bacon or Pancetta
Pasta Carbonara is traditionally made with pancetta. While delicious, it can be difficult to find and expensive. Thick cut bacon works great in this recipe.
Other Fast Dinners
You just can’t beat a dinner that is on the table in less than 30 minutes. Here are a few others I think you’ll like.
- My Chicken Wraps are so fast and delicious – plus I have several flavor options.
- Baked Chicken Fajitas are a great option because the hands on time is so short.
- This Creamy Cajun Shrimp recipe is a huge win in my house!
If you make this Pasta Carbonara recipe or any of my other recipes, leave me a comment and let me know what you think!
These are the tools I’m in love with that will make this recipe easier.
- Skillet: This one is my favorite. I’ve been using it every day.
- Cheese Grater: We have had this one for years and love it.
- A Good Knife: A great knife is essential for cutting bacon.
- 1 pound uncooked spaghetti
- 6 ounces thick cut bacon diced (before you begin the rest of the recipe)
- 4 cloves garlic minced
- 2 large eggs
- 2 large egg yolks
- 1 cup parmesan cheese plus more for serving
- salt and black pepper
- chopped parsley
- Read through the instructions before beginning this recipe.
- Beat the eggs, parmesan, and 1/4 teaspoon black pepper together in a bowl until fully combined.
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add 1 teaspoon kosher salt and the dry spaghetti. Cook the pasta according to package instructions. It is important that while the pasta is cooking you work on the sauce so it is ready when the pasta is done and still hot. Be sure to reserve 1/2 cup of the pasta water when you drain it.
- While the pasta is cooking, cook the bacon until almost crisp in a large skillet. Add the garlic and sauté for 30 seconds, until just fragrant. (If the pasta isn't done yet, remove from heat, making sure the garlic does not burn.)
- Add the drained hot pasta to the bacon and garlic and toss over the heat to combine for about 2 minutes, ensuring that the spaghetti gets well coated in the rendered bacon fat.
- Remove the pan from the heat and mix in the egg mixture. It will thicken and coat the pasta. (It is important to remove the pan from the heat. If you leave it over heat when you add the egg-cheese mixture, it will scramble the eggs.) If the sauce becomes too thick, you can add a little of the reserved pasta water.
- Plate the hot pasta, and top freshly ground black pepper, additional parmesan, and freshly chopped parsley.