Quick, easy, and a pure delight to the tastebuds, this Pasta Carbonara Recipe is simplicity at its finest. It’s made all in one Dutch oven, making any busy weeknight dinner a breeze.
The spaghetti gets cooked in a garlicky, creamy sauce made of pecorino cheese, crispy pancetta, and more to create one of the easiest, most delicious pasta recipes your hands have ever made. Period!
I love making this spaghetti carbonara dreaming about when it’s cold outside, soft flakes of snow falling from the sky, and blanketing my little world with white. It’s the perfect time to gather around a warm bowl of this comfort food. And when I say easy, I mean E-A-S-Y. Just cook the pasta, make the cheese sauce, create the meaty, aromatic base, and bring it all together.
What’s In Pasta Carbonara
- Spaghetti: we kept it classic and used spaghetti for this recipe. It cooks evenly and tastes great with the carbonara sauce.
- Pancetta: thick, salty slices of pancetta are perfect for this easy carbonara recipe. It adds a rich, smoky flavor to the dish.
- Dry white wine: we used Sauvignon Blanc, as we find it pairs well with the cheese and pancetta. This is used to deglaze the pan and enhance the flavor of the dish.
- Anchovy paste: anchovy paste adds an umami flavor to the dish, making it taste richer and more complex.
- Eggs: eggs are essential in creating the creamy sauce that coats the spaghetti.
- Pecorino romano: a perfect combination of nutty and salty, pecorino romano is a hard cheese made from sheep’s milk. It gives the carbonara sauce its signature flavor.
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Variations and Substitutions
This classic pasta carbonara can be easily mixed and matched to suit your taste preferences. If you don’t have spaghetti, any long pasta type, such as fettuccine or linguini, will work just fine. And if you’re not a fan of pecorino romano cheese, you can use parmesan cheese instead for a slightly milder flavor.
Thick-cut bacon is a great substitute for Pancetta. Just chop it into small pieces and cook it until crispy. You can also add some vegetables like peas, mushrooms, or asparagus to make the dish more hearty and nutritious.
Top Tips for Pasta Carbonara
- To help the pasta water cool off quickly, place it in the fridge for a few minutes before using it to make the sauce. This will prevent the eggs from scrambling when they’re added to the hot pasta water.
- Don’t overcook the pancetta. Cook it until it’s just crispy, not burnt, as it can make the dish taste bitter.
- Mix quickly and thoroughly. Once you add the egg mixture to the pasta, work quickly and mix well to ensure that all of the spaghetti is coated evenly with the creamy sauce.
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Storage + Freezer Directions
Place any leftover carbonara in an airtight container and store it in the fridge for up to 4 days.
To freeze, place in a freezer-safe, airtight container and store in the freezer for up to 3 months.
The Great Jones “The Dutchess” is our favorite Dutch oven for every day cooking. It’s great for one-pot meals, soups, and more!
What to Serve with Pasta Carbonara
There are a whole bunch of ways to make this Pasta Carbonara an even more epic meal. For one, you could make this delicious Grilled Bruschetta Chicken and serve it over your pasta or on the side.
You could also enjoy this pasta dish next to a tasty Chicken Caesar Salad to add a refreshing element to the meal.
Simple Pasta Carbonara
This simple pasta carbonara is super easy and comforting, making it a delicious and nourishing meal for those busy weeknights. The combination of cheese, pancetta, and pasta is a classic for a reason — it’s simply delicious!
- 16 oz. spaghetti
- 8 oz. pancetta diced
- ½ large white onion minced
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- 5 cloves garlic peeled and minced
- ¼ cup dry white wine we used Sauvignon Blanc
- 1 teaspoon anchovy paste
- 2 large eggs
- 2 large egg yolks
- ⅓ cup whole milk
- ½ cup finely grated pecorino romano + more for topping
- ¼ cup starchy pasta water
- freshly cracked pepper
- 1 tablespoon fresh chopped parsley
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the pasta to the water and cook until al dente. Remove 1 cup of the starchy pasta water from the pot before straining the pasta. Set pasta aside, but try to keep the pasta warm.
Next, add the eggs, whole milk, and pecorino cheese to a large bowl and whisk until combined. Slowly drizzle ¼ cup of the warm (not hot) pasta water into the egg mixture, whisking constantly until combined. Be sure the pasta water is not hot, or it will scramble the eggs. Set aside.
Heat a large Dutch oven over medium/high heat. Add the pancetta to the Dutch oven and cook for 4-5 minutes until partially cooked.
Add the onion and garlic and season with salt. Sauté for 1-2 minutes, and then add the garlic. Cook for an additional 1 minute.
Deglaze the Dutch oven with white wine. Pour the wine into the pan and scrape the brown bits from the bottom of the pan. Then, whisk the anchovy paste into the white wine.
Add the cooked spaghetti to the Dutch oven and toss it with all of the ingredients.
Remove the Dutch oven from the heat and let it cool for 2-3 minutes.
Once the pot has had time to cool, slowly pour the egg and cheese mixture over the pasta and constantly stir to be sure the egg doesn’t scramble.
When the egg mixture becomes creamy and warm, serve with cracked pepper, shredded cheese, and chopped parsley. Be sure the Dutch oven isn’t hot, or else the eggs will scramble.
Tips & Notes
- Any long pasta type can be used for this recipe.
- Option to place the starchy pasta water in the fridge for a few minutes to help it cool off.
- Parmesan cheese can be used in place of pecorino romano.
Calories: 549kcal Carbohydrates: 60g Protein: 22g Fat: 23g Fiber: 3g Sugar: 3g
Photography: photos taken in this post are by Ashley McGlaughlin from The Edible Perspective.