Becky Luigart-Stayner; Jan Gautro
4 servings (serving size: 1 1/4 cups)

A small amount of the pasta's cooking liquid is whisked into the egg mixture to prevent the eggs from overcooking when added to the hot pasta. This procedure, called tempering, results in a rich, creamy sauce that easily coats the noodles.

How to Make It

Step 1

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

Step 2

Combine cheese, pepper, salt, egg, and egg white in a small bowl, stirring with a whisk. Gradually add the reserved 1/4 cup cooking liquid to egg mixture, stirring constantly with a whisk.

Step 3

Cook pancetta in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until crisp. Remove pancetta from pan, reserving drippings in pan; set pancetta aside. Add leek to drippings in pan, and sauté 4 minutes. Add garlic to pan; sauté for 1 minute. Add pasta, cheese mixture, and pancetta to pan; reduce heat, and cook 1 minute, tossing well to coat. Cook 1 minute. Sprinkle with parsley; serve immediately.

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Ratings & Reviews

portland's Review

November 27, 2011
good standard, a little too much leek for my taste. very easy and quick to make.

crtsshelby's Review

November 10, 2008

kitwillow's Review

May 25, 2011
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.

Cherrybelle's Review

January 28, 2014
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.

DS3000's Review

November 23, 2011
This recipe was a great substitute for the regular spaghetti with meat sauce. Very light and definitely a keeper in our family.

Faintgirl83's Review

November 28, 2011
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.

sandybnfla's Review

January 29, 2010
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.

tgleaves's Review

November 27, 2012
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's Review

March 07, 2012
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.

marieclaude5's Review

March 04, 2012