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5 from 6 votes

Creamy Bacon Pasta (Carbonara - No Cream!)

Indulgent, easy and oh so delicious! This creamy bacon pasta is for those days when nothing but a big bowl of comforting pasta will do. Learn how to make authentic spaghetti carbonara from scratch with only 5 simple ingredients (and none of them are cream!). With a deliciously rich and creamy sauce, this recipe only takes as long to make as it does to cook the pasta.
Prep Time5 mins
Cook Time15 mins
0 mins
Total Time20 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Italian
Servings: 5
Calories: 636kcal

Ingredients

  • 350 grams fresh or dry spaghetti
  • 3 fresh eggs, plus one yolk room temperature
  • 1 cup finely grated pecorino romano cheese or parmesan. (Around 100 grams). Grate your own fresh cheese, rather than pre-grated cheese from a packet.
  • 1 ½ cups pancetta or guanciale or bacon, diced. 300 grams weight.
  • 4 cloves garlic peeled and crushed
  • salt and pepper
  • 2 tbsp olive oil

To serve

  • extra pecorino cheese shaved or finely grated

Instructions

  • In a large pot over high heat, bring 4-5 litres of water and 1 tablespoon of salt to the boil. Add your pasta and cook to the packet instructions, until the pasta is cooked to your preferred tenderness.
  • In a small mixing bowl, whisk the eggs, some cracked pepper and the pecorino, until combined. Set aside.
  • While the pasta is cooking, add the pancetta (or bacon), garlic and olive oil to a large frying pan and cook over medium-high heat until the pancetta is crisp and lightly browned.
  • Before draining the pasta, reserve one cup of pasta water and set aside. Drain the pasta.
  • Add the cooked pasta and reserved pasta water to the pan with the cooked pancetta and stir over heat until well combined.
  • Turn the heat off and let the pan sit for a minute. This step is important to prevent the eggs from scrambling. Make sure you have some tongs or a spoon handy for when you add the egg and cheese mixture.
  • Working quickly, add the egg and cheese mixture to the pasta and stir or toss until completely combined. The residual heat from the pan and pasta will be enough to cook the eggs, without curdling. Keep stirring or tossing until the sauce has thickened to a cream-like consistency.
  • Serve immediately with some extra pecorino cheese. Enjoy!

Video

Notes

  • Take it off the heat before adding the eggs! This might be the most important step in making pasta with egg sauce. Before adding the eggs and cheese to the pasta, you must turn off the heat. If you don’t, you risk overcooking your sauce and scrambling the eggs in the pan. The residual heat from the pan and cooked pasta should be hot enough to “cook” the egg and thicken the sauce, without scrambling. Getting carbonara right can take some practice, so don’t worry if your sauce is a little lumpy the first time you try it.
  • Work quickly! Adding the egg and cheese mixture to the pasta can only be done once. So make sure you have everything you need ready to go. Once you add the eggs, quickly stir or toss with tongs and keep going until the sauce thickens.
  • Don’t add any extra salt! The bacon or pancetta, as well as the salty pecorino cheese and reserved pasta water all contain salt, so leave the seasoning until the end, after you’ve tasted it.
  • Use room temperature eggs. This will help to keep your sauce smooth and light.
  • Don’t forget to save a cup of pasta water before draining the pasta! It helps to thin out the sauce and the starch helps hold everything together.
  • For creamy chicken carbonara, add some sliced chicken breast to the pan before adding the pancetta and garlic. Or stir through some shredded, pre-cooked chicken breast at the end, before serving.

Nutrition

Calories: 636kcal | Carbohydrates: 55g | Protein: 25g | Fat: 34g | Saturated Fat: 12g | Cholesterol: 152mg | Sodium: 613mg | Potassium: 318mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin A: 244IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 249mg | Iron: 2mg