Spaghetti Carbonara with Leeks and Pancetta

  • sandybnfla Posted: 01/29/10
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    Some of the reviewers commented on this recipe being dry. The real carbonara has more eggs in it. I know it is Cooking Light's version, but there should be at the very minimum 2, but more like 3. eggs; 4 eggs for a pound of pasta. Don't forget to use the pasta cooking water, it makes it a little creamy. I love the idea of using leeks, I usually just use sweet onions. This recipe you can whip up for dinner in no time and you should always have the ingredients on hand. If you don't have pancetta, use bacon; if no leeks, use onion.

  • onemosphere Posted: 02/11/10
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    Made a few modifications: used rotini instead of spaghetti, used prosciutto instead of pancetta, used two eggs instead of one egg and one egg white, added a little bit more cheese because we love cheese. This was delicious and easy to make. Will definitely be making again for a scrumptious weeknight dinner.

  • SarahMJ Posted: 06/05/09
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    I've made this recipe several times and I love it. It really is an easy dish that works for a dinner party or a weeknight meal. If it is too dry you can add a little more water as others have suggested or if you want something a little richer add some half and half. Once I forgot to buy pancetta and I substituted deli ham. It was still surprisingly good.

  • spicyaddict Posted: 09/19/09
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    This recipe is worth making again! I don't care for Italian food but this was delicious:). I got good reviews from my taste testers. Also I noticed that it didn't turned out dry. It was just right!

  • leileis Posted: 01/30/10
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    Yum! This dish was delicious. I just made it for my husband and I. We were starving and ate it all! We made it as is and had some sauteed swiss chard on the side.

  • WineLover3 Posted: 10/27/09
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    Wonderful alternative to the same old spaghetti and various tomato sauces. I wouldn't change a thing.

  • Rachelle8 Posted: 02/06/10
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    This was my first time cooking with leeks and we thought the recipe was delicious. I will definitly make it again!

  • kitwillow Posted: 05/25/11
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    My whole family LOVED this recipe. I subbed w/bacon, added 4 eggs for 1lb. whole wheat pasta, and threw in some freshly-shelled English peas just before draining pasta. We do not have any parsley growing right now, so the dish went w/o--tasted amazing anyway. Everyone requested that I make it again soon.

  • Belladonna714 Posted: 08/29/11
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    This was very good. I used whole wheat pasta and peppered bacon instead of pancetta because that's what I hade on hand, but I accidentally used twice as much as the recipe calls for, because although I was halving the recipe I forgot to halve the amount of bacon. I also drained the bacon grease before adding the leeks to the pan to cut back on some of the fat. I served this with the recommended raddichio slaw, (also delicious) and red grapes. I would make this again.

  • scargosun Posted: 11/20/11
    Worthy of a Special Occasion

    This truly is a 4 star recipe. It is not a 5 b/c I made modifications according to what others have said. That being the case, they are not modifications that require additional time or ingredients (unless they are already on hand). I added an extra egg white and 1/4 cup of the pasta water b/c reviewers mentioned it was a bit dry. I also used nice thick bacon chopped b/c that is what I had on hand. The only random addition was fresh baby spinach. I had a bunch that needed to be used and added it while I was cooking everything in the pan right at the end. It was more of a lazy thing b/c I didn't feel like making a salad. ;). It worked REALLY well with the flavors already there. I would definitely serve it to guests with the modifications...although...the two of us scarfed it ALL down. We'd have to serve a good deal of appetizers or a sizable salad.

  • seaside725 Posted: 10/29/11
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    My family loved this dish. I took one of the readers advice and added prosciutto instead of the pancetta. I also saved some of the water from the cooked pasta to add to the dish in case it was too dry. I made this twice, the first time it was perfect, but the second time it was a bit dry. I will definitly make it again.

  • jpiter Posted: 11/14/11
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    Never had leeks in Carbonara . Actually never cooked leeks at home, great addition. I used jowl bacon, couldn't find pancetta at local markets., also something I never used before. Gonna see how it does for weekend breakfast Mine was two dry. Next time I will add more cooking water and less cheese. I think the cooking directions are out of order. If you drain the pasta before you start everything else, it would be cold.

  • DS3000 Posted: 11/23/11
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    This recipe was a great substitute for the regular spaghetti with meat sauce. Very light and definitely a keeper in our family.

  • paddymom Posted: 11/12/11
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    A total waste of ingredients. Bland as bland can be. There are just some classics that are not meant to be "lightened".

  • Faintgirl83 Posted: 11/28/11
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    Turned this into an everything left in the fridge kind of meal and added asparagus and peas to the basic recipe. It was great, easy and tasty.

  • portland Posted: 11/27/11
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    good standard, a little too much leek for my taste. very easy and quick to make.

  • khowefer Posted: 02/05/12
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    This was delicious--I just used up some thin sliced ham I had in the freezer and substituted 1 c. onion for the leeks. 2 oz. of parmesan measured about a cup and a half when grated on my microplane. I weighed it out of curiosity. Also added at least 1/2 cup of pasta water when tempering the egg & cheese mixture. Oh, and I had a head of roasted garlic I squeezed in.

  • tgleaves Posted: 11/27/12
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    This is a great healthy version of TRUE carbonara. Having traveled to Italy several times and taking cooking lessons while there, true carbonara has no cream in it. It is pasta, egg yolks, cheese, pepper and pancetta or prosciutto. This version has leeks in which is not in a true Italian version, but those who are used to America's Italian chain restaurant version of carbonara might like the extra flavor. We leave it out. When I'm in the mood for a healthy version as well as not making homemade pasta, we turn to this.

  • TeresitaK Posted: 03/07/12
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    Kind of bland. You can taste the low fat in this. I love carbonara, and this just doesn't do it for me. Wouldn't make again.

  • Denise23 Posted: 11/13/12
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    I make this regularly and use two whole eggs (yolks and all - egg white doesn't have enough flavor). I add half to two-thirds of a cup of dry white wine to the leek/garlic mixture and simmer couple of minutes until the liquid is down to about a third of what I oringinally added. I also use more salt and parmesan than this recipe calls for - but not a lot. A little extra salt really brings out the flavors.

  • Cherrybelle Posted: 01/28/14
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    While I enjoyed this my Husband and Son did not. It needed less leeks and some more meat. Maybe next time I will make it as a side dish with some grilled chicken instead.

  • Toby000 Posted: 01/05/14
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    tasty enough as a low cal substitute for heavy cream carbonara would not cook pancetta too long or crispy really becomes crunchy didn't find leeks need to be sauteed for a full 4 minutes, onions would work just as well could use more flavor, seemed to take quite a bit of prep work

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