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The Creamiest No Cream Carbonara Pasta

24/05/2016 (Last Updated: 01/12/2020)

A super easy Italian Carbonara Pasta Recipe with only 6 ingredients – ready on the table in less than 30 minutes? Whaaat? Find out how you can create this mouth-watering Italian dinner that costs less than $10 with plenty left over for lunch.

The Creamiest No Cream Carbonara Pasta - Your dinner dreams have come true. A gourmet meal ready in minutes with only a few ingredients. You've got this. | wandercooks.com

(In a rush? Click here to jump straight to the recipe!)

Today’s I-need-you-in-my-tummy-right-now recipe comes to you all the way from a little town in Italy known as Parma.

Parma’s the original home to such Italian delights as balsamic vinegar, prosciutto, and of course, Parmesan cheese. So naturally it’s one of our favourite places on earth.  😉

A pity for us we had a tight little window in our itinerary to get there… Less than 24 hours to jump on the right train, meet our host, see the sights, and hopefully cook an epic meal together.

In the end we were so late getting there that we almost missed out completely! :O

Creamy No Cream Carbonara Pasta. The hardest part is waiting for the pasta to boil.Click To Tweet

 

With all that waiting for us in Parma, why were we so late getting there?

Well… you see… we kinda got the chance to cook with an Italian chef. And it was sort-of-kind-of irresistible. And and and… We just had to try and squeeze it in somehow!

So there.

Thank god we made it to Parma though, because if we hadn’t, we wouldn’t have met Alberto. And if we hadn’t met Alberto, we would never have nabbed the recipe for this creamy, satisfying, slightly naughty yet super EASY no cream carbonara pasta.

May have drooled on the keyboard just typing that.

Oops.

The Creamiest No Cream Carbonara Pasta - Your dinner dreams have come true. A gourmet meal ready in minutes with only a few ingredients. You've got this. | wandercooks.com

Turns out we arrived just in time for a quick antipasto platter of prosciutto, fresh Parmesan cheese and a glass of chilled lambrusco, before Alberto launched into recreating his nonno’s incredible carbonara pasta.

Out came the spaghetti, pancetta, eggs and cheese. A sprinkling of black pepper, a flick around the frying pan, and dinner was on the table before you could say molto bene.

But hang on a second. Where was the cream??

The Creamiest No Cream Carbonara Pasta - Your dinner dreams have come true. A gourmet meal ready in minutes with only a few ingredients. You've got this. | wandercooks.com

As Alberto went on to tell us, traditional carbonara pasta from the Parma/Bologna region is made with eggs instead of cream, yet the result is a lusciously creamy and super addictive pasta sauce that will have you licking your plate clean and looking for seconds.

It’s usually made with locally produced small goods such as guanciale or pancetta, but when cooking at home bacon is a super handy substitute. (Such a pity that guanciale can be so difficult to source outside of Italy!)

Carbonara is also usually made with Parmigiano-Reggiano or Pecorino-Romano cheese, but when we recreated it at home we used a  Parmesan Pecorino Romano blend from our local fresh food markets, because:

  1. It’s easily available in our area
  2. It is our all-time favourite cheese blend
  3. It is just SO. GOOD. FOR. PASTA.

Yum.

But if you can’t get a hold of those, don’t hesitate to go for a freshly grated parmesan from the fridge section of your supermarket or import store.

And finally, the pasta. If you’re talking truly authentic carbonara then you’ll probably want to go with spaghetti. But we have fallen in-LOVE with this Italian Fettuccine by Divella. Cooked al dente (see below) it is chewy and delicious and oh-so-addictive.

The Creamiest No Cream Carbonara Pasta - Your dinner dreams have come true. A gourmet meal ready in minutes with only a few ingredients. You've got this. | wandercooks.com

The Creamiest No Cream Carbonara Pasta

Our guess is you’re likely to have all the ingredients ready and waiting for you to whip up your very own batch of carbonara pasta at home.

The Creamiest No Cream Carbonara Pasta - Your dinner dreams have come true. A gourmet meal ready in minutes with only a few ingredients. You've got this. | wandercooks.com

Now there are a couple of things you should keep in mind:

  • Don’t overcook the pastaAl dente is where it’s at my friends. Don’t forget to test the pasta while it’s cooking (no burning your tongue please) til it’s slightly ‘firm to the bite’ and not too soft. It’ll keep cooking in the pan anyway, so you don’t want to end up with soggy overcooked pasta. If you still need help, check out this handy guide to cooking the perfect al dente pasta. Once you’ve mastered al dente pasta , you’ll never want to overcook it again!
  • Don’t overcook the sauce – The plan here is to create a creamy, glossy sauce guys, not scrambled eggs. Once you’ve fried up that bacon and thrown the pasta in the pan, you want to pour in your egg +cheese mixture plus a little oil and stir it through, cooking just long enough for the eggs and cheese to melt into saucy glory.

Now you’re ready for a true Italian carbonara feast!

P.S. Don’t forget to season to taste with cracked black pepper and Himalayan rock salt. 😉

Buon appetito!

The Creamiest No Cream Carbonara Pasta - Your dinner dreams have come true. A gourmet meal ready in minutes with only a few ingredients. You've got this. | wandercooks.com

Can’t get enough of that Italian good-stuff? Why not check out our Smoky Beef & Bacon Bolognese (our experimental take on a classic Italian dish) or these Italian Strawberry Vanilla Muffins.

Or maybe you should check out our in-depth guide on how NOT to cook Spaghetti all’Amatriciana. 😉

The Creamiest No Cream Carbonara Pasta - Your dinner dreams have come true. A gourmet meal ready in minutes with only a few ingredients. You've got this. | wandercooks.com

The Creamiest No Cream Carbonara Pasta

A Super Easy Carbonara Recipe with only 5 ingredients - ready on the table in around 20 minutes? Whaaat? For less than $10 you'll have dinner on the table with plenty left over for lunch.
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes
Course: Dinner
Cuisine: Italian
Servings: 4 serves
Calories: 598kcal
Author: Wandercooks
Cost: $5

Ingredients

Instructions

  • Boil up a large saucepan of water and cook your pasta following the packet directions. Aim for chewy al dente pasta, because it will keep on cooking in the next few steps! Feel free to nibble a few strands to be sure it's cooked perfectly, then drain and set aside.
  • Crack the eggs in a small bowl and add the cheese. Whisk until nicely blended, then set aside.
  • Fry up the bacon or pancetta pieces in a large frypan over medium heat (no added oil required!).
  • Add the pasta into the pan with the bacon/pancetta and flip around with a spoon and fork to mix it through nicely. Drizzle with olive oil and flip around once more.
  • Now for the fun step. Reduce the heat to low, then pour in your egg and cheese mixture and stir through - quickly quickly! Don't overcook it - you're looking for a glossy smooth carbonara sauce, not scrambled eggs.
  • Remove from the heat, place into individual serving bowls and serve immediately. Garnish with a sprinkling of salt and cracked black pepper.

Video

Recipe Notes

This recipe usually made with locally produced small goods such as guanciale or pancetta, but when cooking at home simple bacon pieces can be a super handy substitute.
Carbonara is also usually made with Parmigiano-Reggiano or Pecorino-Romano cheese, but we used a  Parmesan Pecorino Romano blend from our local fresh food markets. But if you can’t get a hold of those,  substitute with freshly grated parmesan.
And finally, the pasta. If you’re talking truly authentic carbonara then you’ll probably want to go with spaghetti. But you can make this recipe work with almost any kind of pasta - why not experiment and see what works best? 

Nutrition

Calories: 598kcal | Carbohydrates: 57g | Protein: 38g | Fat: 24g | Saturated Fat: 11g | Cholesterol: 200mg | Sodium: 1685mg | Potassium: 213mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin A: 243IU | Calcium: 133mg | Iron: 2mg
Hey hey – Did you make this recipe?We’d love it if you could give a star rating below ★★★★★ and show us your creations on Instagram! Snap a pic and tag @wandercooks / #Wandercooks

 

The Creamiest No Cream Carbonara Pasta - Your dinner dreams have come true. A gourmet meal ready in minutes with only a few ingredients. You've got this. | wandercooks.com
The Creamiest No Cream Carbonara Pasta

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22 Comments

  • Reply
    Melanie
    16/10/2020 at 5:52 am

    Thanks for sharing! I feel like every family has its own variant of certain things, and Carbonara might well be one of them. My paternal grandmother, whose dad’s family is from Ticino, Switzerland, taught me to make this. She taught me lots of things like that, but always the poor person’s variant (i.e. saltimbocca alla romana made with sage, bacon, and pork loin or tenderloin, not veal, so it’s actually stecchini alla ticinese)…

    Anyway, her Carbonara also includes plenty of parsley, so I was surprised not to see any in your recipe. It and the eggs (one per 100gr of pasta) go into the food processor, and the mixture gets poured over the drained pasta back in the hot pot (though the burner’s off). Then it gets tossed until the eggs are beautifully creamy, and the drained bacon gets crumbled on top. Usually the bacon is so salty, that no extra is needed, and then we add a bit of pepper to taste. Nonna’s family never added parmesan because they couldn’t afford it, but I’ve never missed it…

    Greetings from Western Canada!

    • Reply
      Wandercooks
      16/10/2020 at 5:49 pm

      Hey Melanie! G’day from Aus! 😀

      Yes, you’re totally right. I feel like the variations are even wider when it comes to popular dishes like this as well. How cool though, we’ve never heard of using lots of parsley in carbonara – we’ll have to try that variation next ;). This version is from Parma, Italy (the home of Parmesan cheese!), so it leans quite heavily on the parmesan to bring in that bitey cheese note. The Aussie version that we grew up with is COMPLETELY different again – lots of cream in the sauce and usually tasty cheese on top – sometimes no egg in it at all haha. Crazy hey?

      Thanks so much for sharing your stories, this was a great read!

  • Reply
    Cindy
    25/04/2020 at 3:09 pm

    5 stars
    I scrambled it 🙁 that will teach me for trying to multi-task! was still yum tho, will definitely try it again

    • Reply
      Wandercooks
      27/04/2020 at 10:23 am

      Oh so close! It is lucky it still tastes good when it does that – we’ve done it before too!

      What a pity you have to cook and eat it again hehehe 😉 Thanks for letting us know how you went.

      As a quick tip, I turn it off just before I think it’s ready as it will still cook a little more from the existing heat anyway. Good luck on the next round!

    • Reply
      Scott Lambert
      28/04/2020 at 1:30 am

      Instead of having the heat in low have it off and use some of the pasta water to stop if frying, when you hear no sound then add your cheese/egg mix

      • Reply
        Wandercooks
        28/04/2020 at 10:17 am

        Thanks Scott – this is a great tip. We might have to give this a go next time too!

  • Reply
    Jackie Kiely
    12/11/2019 at 6:55 pm

    5 stars
    I always use 4 eggs 2 whole eggs and two egg yokes, I was taught by some Italian students that stayed with me. Delicious

    • Reply
      Wandercooks
      19/11/2019 at 2:07 pm

      Great variation Jackie! This is a Parma version we learnt, I bet using whole egg yolks would give you quite a rich, golden sauce. 🙂

  • Reply
    Ronelle Tyson
    13/09/2019 at 7:55 pm

    Is it possible to just use egg yolks instead of whole eggs?
    I thought it might take the risk of scrambling the eggs away slightly

    • Reply
      Wandercooks
      18/09/2019 at 9:42 am

      Hey, hey! Great question. Using only egg yolks might make the sauce quite thick. The best way to avoid scrambling is keeping the heat low, stir quick and serve immediately. 🙂

  • Reply
    Tonya Richardson
    26/05/2016 at 2:33 am

    5 stars
    I’ve always used eggs instead of cream! It was the way my mom taught me so I didn’t know it wasn’t normal until a couple years ago! This looks so delicious! Thanks for sharing 🙂

    • Reply
      Wandercooks
      26/05/2016 at 4:06 pm

      We wish we’d found out about it sooner, this version is super tasty and so much lighter than the cream version too. Win win!

  • Reply
    Mandee Pogue
    25/05/2016 at 2:41 am

    5 stars
    I love a good carbonara, and you make it sounds so easy and delicious! Thanks for the recipe!

    • Reply
      Wandercooks
      25/05/2016 at 9:45 am

      Thanks Mandee, this is such a handy recipe to have in your repertoire – super easy, totally delicious, win win!

  • Reply
    Molly Kumar
    25/05/2016 at 2:39 am

    5 stars
    Such a gorgeous looking Pasta Dish and so simple to make too. Bookmarking to make later.

    • Reply
      Wandercooks
      25/05/2016 at 9:44 am

      There’s nothing more satisfying in life than a massive bowl of pasta… unless it’s a glass of wine to wash it down with!

  • Reply
    Sharee @ Savory Spicerack
    24/05/2016 at 11:42 pm

    5 stars
    Wow you made a beautiful carbonara with no cream! Pinning for later!

    • Reply
      Wandercooks
      25/05/2016 at 9:43 am

      Hope you enjoy Sharee!

  • Reply
    Tara
    24/05/2016 at 9:51 pm

    You had me at creamy, glossy sauce. This looks incredible and I love that it is perfect for a weeknight meal!

    • Reply
      Wandercooks
      25/05/2016 at 9:42 am

      Thanks Tara! Who would have thought a no-cream sauce could be so creamy?? 😀

  • Reply
    Gloria @ Homemade & Yummy
    24/05/2016 at 9:11 pm

    Nothing beats a great pasta dish, and this sounds awesome. Perfect for any night of the week.

    • Reply
      Wandercooks
      25/05/2016 at 9:41 am

      Thanks Gloria, it’s definitely got our vote for mid-week pasta awesomeness 😀

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