Pasta Carbonera

This recipe uses very little meat, but even die-hard carnivores love it.  When I make it, I double the amounts given here, and we rarely have any leftovers.  I sometimes add diced tomato or sweet pepper for more color and flavor.

Pasta Carbonera
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Serves 6



  • 1 pound spaghetti, cooked al dente.
  • 1/2 pound of bacon
  • 1 medium onion, minced
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 2 T. fresh basil or sage leaves, chopped fine (or use 1-2 tsp dried)
  • 2 eggs
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Grated Parmesan (optional)

Cook spaghetti according to package directions, draining and setting it aside when done. While spaghetti cooks, chop bacon into 1/2 inch chunks and cook in a heavy skillet until nicely crispy. As you are waiting for the bacon to cook, mince the onion very finely, chop the sage or basil, and peel the garlic. Once bacon is crispy, remove it from the pan and set aside in a small bowl.

Do NOT dump out the bacon drippings, because that’s where this recipe gets its flavor. In the bacon drippings in the same pan, cook the minced onion, sage or basil, and garlic over medium heat until the onion is soft. By now your pasta is probably done. Pour the onion, garlic, and bacon drippings over the hot pasta and toss well.

Crack the two eggs into a small bowl and whisk well. Now you are going to pour those eggs over your still-hot pasta, stirring the pasta quickly so that the eggs coat the pasta as evenly as possible. It is important that the pasta still be steaming hot for this step, since it is the heat from the pasta that will cook the eggs. Season with salt and plenty of black pepper to taste.  Top with grated Parmesan cheese if you wish.

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  1. This sounds wonderful! I’ll put in on my menu in the near future.

  2. We had this last night, too. My five boys didn’t think it sounded or looked good. They changed their tune once they tried it! I also added parmesian cheese. It was fabulous. We finished off the whole thing.

  3. YUMMMMMMM – and I especially love the part where you tell us to not throw out the bacon grease. DON’T YOU WORRY, my friend. 🙂

  4. This sounds so good!

    Now I just need to learn how to cook bacon with leaving it soggy or setting off the fire alarm.

  5. Wow, who would have thought? Esp since I am a single mom always trying to find “cheap eats”
    Thanks for sharing

  6. Wow! That’s sounds really yummy! I’m going to add this one to our menu. Minus the egg…Mr 9 is deathly allergic to eggs so we tend to avoid them when we can. Would the recipe still work well without the eggs?

  7. Amblin, It would be fine. I actually set aside a serving without egg because one of mine is egg allergic too.

  8. I love carbonara, but I only eat it once in awhile, too 😉 and I also add lots of parmesan cheese to it.

  9. its really nice if you add some peas and mushrooms to it as well, yum!

  10. I got this recipe from your book. My six year old son picked out the recipe and and helped me make it. He thought it was very cool that he could cook the eggs over noodles. Everyone seemed to like it except my oldest son, he thought the red sauce was missing. But that was easily fixed by mixing a little bit of tomato sauce and Italian seasoning.

  11. Sounds YUMMY!! 😛 I’m thinking my family would enjoy this. Thanks for sharing.

  12. This recipe is the Best!!! My dear friend cooked it for her family and ours for lunch and we have been enjoying making it ever since.

  13. This recipe has quickly become a family favorite! Thanks for sharing!

  14. This recipe is fantastic and part of my rotation now! Thank you so much for sharing it! (The first time I made it, I over-cooked the onions and they carmelized. The second time I didn’t and my picky 8 y/o complained about their texture. Now I’ll brown them on purpose). Thank you!

  15. I made this last night and my whole family really enjoyed it. There was even a little tussle over who got the leftovers for lunch today.

  16. I got this one from my copy of your book (LOVE that thing!!!) tried this recipe for my family, and it has immediately become a family favorite. Thanks for the recipe, and for the book. I forever recommend it, but I can’t loan it to anyone, since I use it at least 4x per week.

  17. I just tried this recipe tonight…it got rave reviews…I think my hubby was trying to lick the pasta bowl to get the last bits…LOL!!!

  18. Mary,

    I can’t wait to try it.

    Does it freeze well?

  19. Yummy!! I will try this one soon… Thanks!! 🙂

  20. Everyone in my home loves when I make this. It must be that bacon makes everything scrumptious!

  21. Hi have just ordered both your books from amazon, but will have to wait 3-4 weeks as i live in Country South Australia. I thought i would try this recipe out on family tonight, they absolutely loved it. Our fussy 3 year old had three servings and when she found out that it was all gone told me that i had to make some more straight away, as it was very yummy in her tummy. Thanks Mary can’t wait for your books to arrive.

  22. I noticed this ideal recipe last week, subsequently went yesterday afternoon and bought the ingredients and then cooked it for the main meal, really delightful.

  23. We tried this , it was amazing. I am absolutely not what you’d refer to as an experienced cook, and simply cannot get pleasure from difficult dishes that will make me stressed out when I’m cooking. It’s really very simple and delicious, fantastic accompanied by some Bordeaux. Many thanks.

  24. My family loves this recipe from your book, too!f


  25. I made this for my family last night. It was very good! Next time I’ll do the entire package of bacon though. Thank you!


  1. […] of dinners. Half the meals are family favorites: cheesy chicken enchiladas, creamy potato soup, and pasta carbonera are regulars. I then thumb through cookbooks and fill the rest of the two weeks with new and […]