Photo: Randy Mayor; Styling: Cindy Barr
2 servings (serving size: about 1 1/4 cups)

The luxurious, velvety texture of a good pasta carbonara is ephemeral at best, so you must enjoy it right away. Tempering the egg with hot pasta water keeps the sauce creamy by preventing it from curdling. For a smoky taste, use bacon in place of pancetta.

How to Make It

Step 1

Cook pasta according to the package directions, omitting salt and fat. Drain pasta in a colander over a bowl, reserving 1/4 cup cooking liquid.

Step 2

Combine milk and next 4 ingredients (through pepper) in a small bowl; set milk mixture aside.

Step 3

Heat a medium nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Coat pan with cooking spray. Add pancetta to pan; sauté 3 minutes or until lightly browned. Add onion and garlic to pan; sauté 3 minutes or until onion is lightly browned. Reduce heat to medium-low. Add milk mixture and pasta to pan; toss gently to coat.

Step 4

Place egg in a small bowl; stir with a whisk. Gradually add 1/4 cup reserved hot cooking liquid, stirring constantly with a whisk. Gradually add egg mixture to pan, stirring constantly; cook 4 minutes or until sauce is thick and creamy.

Ratings & Reviews


March 16, 2016
Disappointed... I don't know if it was the fact that I changed out the linguine for pappardelle but I found that the sauce was just bland and there wasn't enough of it. I tempered the egg with about 1/2 cup of sauce and slowly added it to the sauce but it still ended up separating, that could just be my own fault.

emanwe's Review

October 28, 2013

Mommaoftwo's Review

February 10, 2013
Very good and so creamy! I doubled the recipe and then added one extra egg. I used some homemade bacon that is really smoky so that added a lot of flavor. Used boiling pasta water to temper the eggs and let the pan with the onions cool down quite a bit before adding everything too it, then slowly heated it all up together.

RedPen's Review

May 02, 2012
I used this recipe as a treat to my boyfriend and now he asks me to make it all the time. It is always quick and SO easy to make. I love that it allows for many tweaks: I like it with more cheese, parsley and pancetta. More calories, but more flavor too!

jrdrylie's Review

August 03, 2011
This is a tasty recipes that is very easy to make. I use bacon rather than pancetta because I always have it in the fridge. It is still good. This Carbonara recipes is a nice change of pace to marinara or Alfredo.

ajb1978's Review

May 12, 2011
This recipe worked perfectly - no problems. the sauce was just fine and held to the pasta the way it should. I couldn't believe this was light! I did make two teaks - extra garlic and added peas.

KristaLula's Review

February 16, 2011
Absolutely delicious! I'd been wanting to make some sort of pasta carbonara for my boyfriend for a while now but was always discouraged by the amount of calories & fat in the recipes. This one tastes like the real thing but has way lower fat & calorie counts. My boyfriend requested that I throw in some turkey Italian sausage along with the pancetta, and it was even more delicious. Also, I'm a very novice cook, and this was SO easy. This one is definitely going to be a dinner staple for us.

reneelynn's Review

February 14, 2011
I made this with ham and leek with the other ingredients. Although I tempered the egg with very hot water, it separated into a mealy glop in a very watery base. Am going to stick with the authentic version for special occasions only. This one did not even make it to the table.

tonig692's Review

February 14, 2011
I made this just this evening for my husband and he loved it ( he can be rather picky). We love sauce so I tripled the sauce but didn't add enough noodles. But very easy to make. I seared scallops to go along with it and all was great (and easy). When you add the hot water to the eggs make sure you add a little bit at a time or your eggs will start to cook.

hardworkingmom's Review

March 12, 2009
I have been looking for an authentic linguine carbonara since we went to Italy 2 years ago--this is it!--my family loves it. I can understand why some may not like it--most American restaurants serve carbonara that has a sauce like alfredo--carbonara is quite different and much lighter (in taste and calories). It is exactly like in Italy where the egg and cheese stick together to the pasta. I use bacon--you can use pre-cooked to whip up a fast meal for kids.