This creamy Spaghetti Carbonara has crispy pancetta, mushrooms, and Parmesan cheese for a delicious and easy meal!
Say hello to yet another instance where the greatness of eggs shines through. In this case, egg yolks give us the most lusciously delicious pasta sauce.
I remember having frozen meal carbonara when I was a kid and hating it, but became a total convert once I tried it freshly made.
The thing I’ve discovered about spaghetti carbonara is that it must be enjoyed promptly. All pastas tend to dry out a bit after pulled from the water, but this is especially true of carbonara.
A little splash of pasta water helps to keep everything saucy at the end, but the creamy sauce will only last for so long before it starts to dry, so you will want to have everything ready to go at the end. I share more details in the step-by-step below.
There are quite a few versions of spaghetti carbonara out there, and some are so simple that it’s just egg and pancetta with the noodles.
For me, it’s not carbonara unless it also has baby bella mushrooms and sweet peas. However, know that you can leave these ingredients out if you prefer, and you can follow the recipe just the same.
How to Make Spaghetti Carbonara:
Cook diced pancetta with olive oil in a large skillet for about 5 minutes, until crispy:
Remove the pancetta to a paper towel with a slotted spoon, then add sliced baby bella mushrooms and chopped yellow onion to the skillet:
Cook for about 10 minutes, until the onion is soft, and the mushrooms have cooked down:
Add peas to the skillet, and cook for 1 minute, just to warm them through:
Transfer the mushroom mixture to a large bowl, and stir in the pancetta:
You want the bowl to be big enough that you can toss all the pasta in the bowl as well.
Boil a box of dried spaghetti according to package directions, and in the meantime, combine an egg, two egg yolks, and grated parmigiano reggiano cheese in a bowl:
When the spaghetti has finished cooking, immediately add it to the mushroom bowl, and promptly add the egg yolk cheese mixture:
Quickly toss everything together while the pasta is still hot, so the eggs can warm up and the cheese can melt:
The noodles are likely to dry out a bit from the residual heat, so I usually add 1/2 cup of the pasta water to keep things saucy. I also stir in a bit of chopped parsley.
Serve the carbonara promptly, with a sprinkle of extra parmesan cheese on top:
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 4 oz pancetta diced
- 8 oz baby bella mushrooms sliced
- 1 cup finely chopped yellow onion
- 1 cup peas thawed if using frozen
- 1 egg
- 2 egg yolks
- 2 oz grated parmigiano regiano cheese (1/2 cup measured)
- 1 lb spaghetti
- 1/4 cup chopped parsley
- black pepper
- Start preheating a big pot of salted water for boiling the spaghetti.
- Combine the olive oil and pancetta in a skillet set over medium heat, and cook for 5-8 minutes, until crisp.
- Remove the pancetta with a slotted spoon to a paper towel, then add the mushrooms and yellow onion to the skillet. Season with 1/4 tsp salt and 1/8 tsp black pepper, and saute for about 10 minutes, until the onion is soft.
- Add the peas and cook for 1 minute to briefly warm them, then pour the mushroom mixture into a very large bowl (5 qt). Add the pancetta.
- Cook the spaghetti in the prepared pot according to the time stated on the box, and make sure to save the pasta water after it's done cooking. In the meantime, whisk to combine the eggs and grated cheese in a medium bowl.
- As the pasta cooks, prepare for the following to go very quickly: Drain the pasta and immediately put it into the mushroom bacon peas bowl. Immediately pour in the egg cheese mixture and toss the pasta vigorously. The heat of the pasta will cook the eggs and melt the cheese and form a creamy sauce. Toss in the chopped parsley.
- As the pasta dries out a bit from the heat, add pasta water as necessary. I usually add about 1/2 cup of pasta water to make sure it stays saucy. Once everything is tossed, serve the pasta promptly. Enjoy!
Post updated in October 2019. Originally published March 2012.