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.
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!
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.
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??
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:
- It’s easily available in our area
- It is our all-time favourite cheese blend
- It is just SO. GOOD. FOR. PASTA.
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
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.
Now there are a couple of things you should keep in mind:
- Don’t overcook the pasta – Al 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. 😉
Or maybe you should check out our in-depth guide on how NOT to cook Spaghetti all’Amatriciana. 😉
- 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! Drain.
- 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 frying pan 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 (Important!), 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.
- 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?