Spaghetti alla Carbonara

The fastest, cheapest, most elegant main dish ever. How and where this fabulous creation originated is disputed. Some say that American soldiers infatuated with pasta brought bacon and eggs to Italy at the end of World War II and asked their Italian friends for a dish that used these ingredients. This pasta has been a family favorite of ours for years. It is so simple but looks and tastes impressive. Great comfort food, and great for entertaining!

Makes 4 Servings - $1.54 per serving Show Detailed Pricing

  • 8 strips of bacon
  • 6 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 pinches red pepper flakes
  • 8 ounces spaghetti (or other long pasta such as linguine or pappardelle)
  • 1 cup green peas (frozen)
  • 4 eggs (medium sized), beaten
  • 8 tablespoons parmesan cheese, grated
  • pinches of salt and pepper 

Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 15 minutes

  1. Cut the bacon into bite-size pieces and cook in a large sauté pan over medium heat until just done but not crisp. Drain off bacon fat (or don’t pour off the bacon fat if you crave that extra-rich taste), turn heat to medium-low and add olive oil plus a pinch or so of red pepper flakes. Heat gently for 5 minutes, remove from heat and cover.
  2. Meanwhile boil salted water and cook pasta until done, al dente; add peas for the last minute of cooking; drain pasta and peas. Add them to the pan with the bacon. Toss with the beaten eggs,* then the parmesan cheese, and salt and pepper to taste. Serve right away.
    *Be sure to add the eggs when the pasta is still very hot so that they cook, or else use pasteurized eggs. 


  • We used medium eggs for this recipe, but if you have extra large or jumbo eggs you may want to decrease the quantity to 2-3 eggs.
  • You can replace the eggs with 3/4 cup of sour cream or heavy cream if you prefer. Take care to gently warm the cream with the cooked bacon (do not let it come to a simmer) to prevent curdling.
  • Spaghetti is traditional, but pappardelle and linguine also work well in this recipe. It’s an art to match pasta and sauce, and delicate angel hair or robust rigatoni won’t be nearly so successful in this dish.

The $5 Foodie

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