This Creamy Carbonara recipe is a plate of heavenly, creamy pasta. Silky spaghetti with crispy pancetta in a super creamy and cheesy sauce. Simply delicious and so easy to make at home.
Crispy pancetta is my absolute favorite member of the vegetable food group. Wait…you mean it’s not a vegetable? Well this is Jo Cooks world, and in this world – we get 3 – 4 servings of pancetta a day. This delectable pork topper adds the perfect texture and flavor to our creamy dreamy oh so silky carbonara.
What Is Carbonara?
At its core, this Italian dish is from Rome and is super super simple. It’s made from egg, hard sharp cheese, pepper, and guanciale – a cured pork. If guanciale is a little too hard to find pancetta or bacon works in a snap.
My carbonara recipe uses some cream to thicken it all up and ensure it really sticks to your ribs. Yes, I know the traditional dish doesn’t have cream in it, but that’s why this is creamy carbonara!
- Pasta – I used spaghetti for that fork twirling goodness, feel free to use any pasta you have on hand.
- Pancetta – Our key pork treat, feel free to substitute bacon if that’s what is on hand.
- Cream – I used half and half but if you’d like to cut back on calories feel free to use a lighter cream or whole milk.
- Eggs – Just the yolks! Save those whites for breakfast tomorrow morning.
- Cheese – You need a sharp hard cheese like Parmesan or Pecorino, today I opted for parm!
- Pepper – Just fresh ground pepper today, no need for salt!
- Basil – Fresh and chopped up fine for some fragrant garnish.
How To Make Creamy Carbonara
- Prepare the pasta: Bring a large pot of salted water to boil over high heat. Add the pasta and cook according to package instructions. Drain and set aside.
- Crisp the pancetta: Add the pancetta to a large skillet and saute over medium-low heat until crisp. Transfer the pancetta to a bowl using a slotted spoon.
- Get saucey: Add the half and half to the skillet and bring to a simmer. Whisk the egg yolks into the sauce followed by the Parmesan cheese. Stir in the black pepper. Taste for salt and season if needed.
- Finish the carbonara: Add the cooked spaghetti, bacon and basil to the skillet and toss well to combine. Garnish with more cheese and serve hot!
If you want to go as authentic as possible, nix the cream and hunt down some guanciale, which is available is most specialty Italian supermarkets. Just keep in mind that axing the cream will result in a dish that is a bit drier, hence not quite a creamy carbonara. For pasta you can also use fettuccine, rigatoni, or bucatini.
Store in an airtight container for up to 3 – 4 days. This creamy carbonara recipe does not freeze well as the pasta can become mushy and the egg based sauce may separate upon reheating so try to make it day or week of if you’re planning on feasting!
More Pasta Recipes To Try:
- Cajun Chicken Pasta
- Creamy Avocado and Spinach Pasta
- Pesto Shrimp Asparagus Pasta
- Baked Mac and Cheese
- Easy Chicken Alfredo Pasta Bake
- One Pot Creamy Parmesan Pasta
- Easy Pasta Alfredo
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- Bring a large pot of salted water to boil over high heat. Add the pasta and cook according to package instructions. Drain and set aside.
- Add the pancetta to a large skillet and saute over medium-low heat until crisp, about 8 minutes. Transfer the pancetta to a bowl using a slotted spoon.
- Add the half and half to the skillet and bring to a simmer. Whisk the egg yolks into the sauce. Whisk in the Parmesan cheese. Stir in the black pepper. Taste for salt and season if needed. I find no salt is needed since the cheese adds plenty of saltiness.
- Add the cooked spaghetti, bacon and basil to the skillet and toss well to combine.
- Garnish with more Parmesan cheese if desired and serve immediately.
- Half and Half: Half and half has 12 percent fat content. Heavy cream can also be used. It is also called heavy whipping cream because it’s whipping cream with a milk fat content between 36 and 40 percent.
- Leftovers: Store leftovers in an airtight container for 3 to 4 days. Make sure to refrigerate within two hours of cooking.
- Nutrition: Please keep in mind that nutritional information is a rough estimate and can vary greatly based on products used.