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Easy pasta carbonara – perfect weeknight dish

Pasta carbonara

Pasta carbonara is one of my favorite dishes to cook on weeknights, because it’s very easy to prepare and usually takes me only 25 minutes. I also like to make pasta carbonara when I am short on ingredients, since it requires such basic ones: bacon (or prosciutto for less fat), eggs, stock, pasta, and Parmesan cheese.

The other night I was looking for an easy pasta carbonara recipe that was a bit different from my usual way of preparing it, and I found an interesting recipe on Pioneer Woman that uses 3 additional ingredients: lots of garlic, onion, and quite a lot of fresh parsley. I happened to have several bunches (!) of fresh parsley (due to my recent obsession with the Chimichurri sauce), so I was especially excited to use up the parsley instead of throwing it away.

Pasta carbonara

This recipe takes a little bit more time to prepare than the 25 minutes I usually spend on pasta carbonara – but still under an hour – due to all the chopping and incorporating of additional ingredients. I also halved the recipe because I do not like to reheat the egg-based pasta sauces the next day – the texture can really suffer. So I just cooked what I needed – half a pound of pasta, which makes perfect 4 servings.

What I really liked about this recipe is that it doesn’t use heavy cream, and with the minor changes I incorporated (reducing the amount of butter and reducing the amount of grease from bacon), the dish comes out not even being that heavy on the fat. However, keep in mind that this recipe is somewhat heavy on fresh parsley, so, if you don’t like a lot of parsley in a single dish – you might want to limit it to a couple of tablespoons instead of using a bunch as Pioneer Woman recommends. I thought using a lot of parsley added a really nice fresh touch to this version of pasta carbonara.

Pasta carbonara

Total time: 1 hour

Adapted from The Pioneer Woman.

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 pound bacon or pancetta
  • 1 whole small onion
  • 5 cloves garlic
  • 1/2 cup white wine (or chicken or vegetable stock)
  • 1/2 cup chicken stock
  • 1/2 bunch parsley
  • 2 whole eggs
  • 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese plus more for garnish
  • 1/2 pound linguine pasta
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper

Makes 4 servings

1) Slice bacon into thin slices and cook on stove top until cooked. Drain bacon from grease on paper towels and set aside. Reserve some grease for cooking onions in step 2.

2) Chop onion finely and cook diced onion in a reasonable amount of bacon grease (1 or 2 tablespoons) for 2-3 minutes over medium-high constant stirring to avoid burning.

3) Slice the garlic and add it to the onions, after the onions have cooked for a couple of minutes. Cook garlic and onion together for 2 more minutes and remove them from the pan, using slotted spoon. Discard the grease.

4) Place the same pan (where you cooked onion and garlic in bacon grease) back on high heat, pour in the white wine (or stock) to deglaze the pan. Stir, scraping the bits off the bottom of the pan. Add 1/2 cup chicken stock. Return bacon, onion and garlic back to the pan. Let simmer covered over low heat, do not let too much liquid (chicken stock) to evaporate.

5) Chop the parsley. Crack eggs into a large bowl. Add Parmesan cheese and chopped parsley to the eggs. Leave a little Parmesan and parsley out for a garnish. Mix well with a fork.

6) Cook pasta in a large pot of boiling water according to pasta instructions, al dente. Drain the pasta and add very hot pasta to the egg mixture and mix thoroughly. Then add bacon, onion, and garlic mixture to the pasta, mix again. Add 2 tablespoons of butter to mix. Salt and pepper to taste and garnish with grated Parmesan cheese and chopped parsley.

Pasta carbonara

Pasta carbonara

{ 36 comments… add one }

  • Monique April 4, 2013, 9:32 pm

    We love this dish:-)
    I always put garlic:-) and parsley:-)
    Your additional dishes make everything look even more appetizing..sometimes I add a few toasted pine nuts:-)

    • Julia April 8, 2013, 1:23 am

      Oh, addition of toasted pine nuts sounds so good!!!

  • Jean | Delightful Repast April 4, 2013, 10:09 pm

    Looks delectable! However, I would skip the garlic or cut waaaaaay back on it. But that’s just me.

    • Julia April 8, 2013, 1:24 am

      Absolutely, skip the garlic! I do love to use lots of garlic sometimes, especially for home dinners.

  • Angie@Angie's Recipes April 5, 2013, 5:48 am

    A creamy and soul-satisfying pasta!

  • Maureen | Orgasmic Chef April 5, 2013, 6:32 am

    Wow, that top photo is fantastic and all I want now is pasta carbonara!

  • Denise Browning@From Brazil To You April 5, 2013, 8:28 am

    Julia: What a beautiful and appetizing pasta dish — perfect for any occasion!!!

  • Laura Dembowski April 5, 2013, 12:57 pm

    I always want to try carbonara. This looks positively incredible. Love the addition of garlic. I’m a garlic freak!

    • Julia April 8, 2013, 1:24 am

      Me too! :) The more garlic – the merrier!

  • Rosie @ Blueberry Kitchen April 5, 2013, 7:03 pm

    I love carbonara pasta, yours looks so delicious – thanks for sharing this recipe! :)

  • Ari @ Ari's Menu April 5, 2013, 10:26 pm

    It’s soooooo pretty. And I love that the first ingredient is bacon :)

  • ahu April 6, 2013, 9:56 am

    Beautiful!

  • Jill April 6, 2013, 3:40 pm

    Like the addition of wine and fresh parsley. Also like halving the recipe. Great idea!

  • Choc Chip Uru April 6, 2013, 5:47 pm

    Your pasta looks healthy and light and delicious :D

    Cheers
    CCU

  • ATasteOfMadness April 6, 2013, 5:52 pm

    Holy moly, this looks great! I haven’t made pasta for so long, I think I might start with this

  • foodie@foodieportal.com April 6, 2013, 5:55 pm

    I love your pictures and recipes, they are mouth watering. Would love for you to share them with us at foodieportal.com. We are new but at foodieportal.com we are not photography snobs, we are just foodies.

  • GourmetGetaways April 6, 2013, 6:46 pm

    Oh yum!!! Your dish looks so delicious!! I always use garlic and onion in my carbonara but I will now be adding parsley ! I have so much growing in the back garden, it would be a great use for it.

    • Julia April 8, 2013, 1:26 am

      I am jealous! I’d love to have parsley growing in my back garden!

  • Suzanne perazzini April 6, 2013, 7:23 pm

    Pasta carbonara is one of my go-to meals when I don’t know what to cook. But I would always cook it the traditional way or Italian husband would complain. There is superb gluten-free pasta on the market now so I don’t have to miss out on any of the pasta dishes I love.

    • Julia April 8, 2013, 1:27 am

      I need to check that out – gluten-free pasta.

  • Barbara April 6, 2013, 7:49 pm

    I’ve always loved pasta carbonara. Really like your version. My mouth is watering!

  • Colleen, The Smart Cookie Cook April 6, 2013, 8:05 pm

    Definitely the perfect weeknight dinner! Can you believe I still haven’t made pasta carbonara myself? I don’t know why; it’s got so many things I love.

  • Liz April 6, 2013, 10:03 pm

    One of our favorite dishes! Beautifully done!!!

  • Carole April 7, 2013, 3:43 pm

    Julia, this looks really good. I would love to finally make a successful carbonara from scratch. Cheers

  • Marina of Let the Baking Begin! April 9, 2013, 5:33 am

    Definitely comfort food material, right there))

  • Jessica June 3, 2013, 10:36 am

    Nice recipe! I love carbonara here’s another Fettuccine Carbonara Recipe you might like to try.
    Thanks for sharing :)

    Jess

    • Julia June 6, 2013, 7:13 pm

      Thanks for that link – I bookmarked it. The addition of bacon and mushrooms sounds absolutely delicious! Added to my ever growing to-do (or to-cook) list. :)

  • foodienewz June 22, 2013, 8:32 am

    Your food photos are amazing. You can share your mouth watering photos with us at foodienewz.com. foodienewz.com is a new food sharing site and we actually try our best to promote your food photos. At foodienewz.com all your food photos will be published without any editorial review so I really hope you come and join us.

  • Leslie September 30, 2013, 1:02 am

    Love the pictures!

    • Julia October 3, 2013, 2:48 am

      Thank you :)

  • Megan January 17, 2014, 8:15 pm

    Just made this for dinner tonight and it was fantastic. I didn’t have parsley or Parmesan cheese on hand so I subbed with Italian seasonings and oregano, and mozerella cheese and it was delicious! Thanks for sharing

    • Julia January 20, 2014, 2:48 pm

      Megan, very glad you liked it! :) I bet it would be so good with mozzarella cheese!

  • duffgirl March 12, 2014, 7:47 pm

    This was delicious. Very easy to prepare. I made it with bacon, and I think next time I will try the pancetta, I found the bacon to be a little overpowering for my taste. Thank you for sharing, this is PINNED.

    • Julia March 19, 2014, 3:25 pm

      Thank you for your comment – so happy you liked this dish! :) I actually myself prefer to use pancetta or prosciutto for pasta carbonara, too. :)

  • Meg March 17, 2014, 5:50 pm

    Simple but elegant I love this dish! I’m a teenager and just started cooking so I was adamant to make this dish, but it was easier then I thought and totally DELISH thanks Julia :)

    • Julia March 19, 2014, 3:19 pm

      Meg, thank you for your comment! I love the simplicity of this dish, too – it’s got the perfect number of ingredients: not too few and not too many. :) And the cooking process is very easy and straightforward. So glad you enjoyed it! :)

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