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Authentic Pasta Carbonara

I learned on my culinary internship in Tuscany that real Italian cuisine is simpler than you think! This carbonara is quick, simple and delicious, just the way they like it in Italy. —Lauren Brien-Wooster, South Lake Tahoe, California
  • Total Time
    Prep: 20 min. Cook: 15 min.
  • Makes
    8 servings


  • 1 package (1 pound) spaghetti or linguine
  • 6 bacon strips, chopped
  • 1 cup fresh or frozen peas
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons grated lemon zest
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • Additional grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, optional


  • In a large saucepan, cook pasta according to package directions for al dente. Drain pasta, reserving pasta water; keep pasta warm. In same pot, cook bacon over medium heat until crisp, stirring occasionally. Add peas; cook until just heated through.
  • Add pasta to pot; toss to combine. Stir in remaining ingredients, adding enough reserved pasta water for sauce to reach desired consistency. If desired, serve with additional cheese.

Test Kitchen Tips
  • The heat of the pasta cooks the eggs, but they may not reach 160°, the temperature at which they're considered safe to eat. To prevent food-borne illness, you can use pasteurized eggs.
  • Pancetta is the preferred ingredient of choice for true Italian carbonara but it can be a little hard to find, which is why we called for bacon. If you can get pancetta your carbonara will be all the better for it.
  • Nutrition Facts
    1 cup: 353 calories, 12g fat (4g saturated fat), 65mg cholesterol, 326mg sodium, 46g carbohydrate (3g sugars, 3g fiber), 14g protein.

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    Average Rating:
    • KatherineKitKat
      Jun 11, 2020

      Wow, I made this for a luncheon at work and everyone, and I mean everyone, said it was the best meal ever! I served it with some shrimp and garlic butter. I cook a lot and the first time I try a recipe I try to cook it exactly. I did add some butter (1 stick), to add to it. But otherwise I stayed true to the recipe. Definitely will make again - so easy! Thanks!

    • Karla
      Jun 11, 2020

      MY husband and I loved this recipe. It was quick and very tasty. I made it with bacon. I was worried about all the bacon grease in the pan, but I went with it, and didn’t take any out. I’m so glad I did. It gave it so much flavor. THere was just a hint of lemon flavor. I also added about 1 3/4 pasta water. It was nice and saucy. Will make this again or sure.

    • James
      Jun 10, 2020

      Easy and delicious. I would almost call it an Amalfi-Napoli type take on the dish with the just a taste lemon that may be too strong for more bland pallets. It was fresh and a great summer pasta.

    • Carlo aldo
      Jun 7, 2020

      Parsley? Piselli? Strip beacon?..........this is totally fake, not a carbonara at all! Tu sei matta

    • Valeria
      Jun 7, 2020

      I haven't made this recipe yet. It sounds interesting and do-able during the pandemic-related grocery shortages. However, it calls for bacon, which I find disgusting. Considering the volume, just omitting it without a substitution wouldn't work. What do you recommend as a non-meat substitute for the bacon?

    • Kim
      Jun 7, 2020

      No comment left

    • Gail
      Jun 7, 2020

      This recipe is tasty and a good one to keep in mind when you need a quick and easy dinner. Do add 1-2 tablespoons of bacon grease and plenty of warm water from the pasta, reember the pasta will continue to soak up the sauce resulting in a dry dish so add enough water to have it seem very wet initially. And, adding peas is absolutely authentic Italian! Italy is a big country with many different regions each with their own unique versions of recipes. I lived in southern Italy for over 4 years and traveled all over the country. I often found peas included in carbonara at family restaurants! Pizza ingredients also varied widely in different regions and were quite different from whst we in the USA think of as Italian pizza.

    • Kimberly
      Jun 7, 2020

      Giving it 4 stars because basically this is the same way I've made carbonara for years. I've never tried using the pasta water, though; I was taught to use butter and olive oil. I think the addition of peas would be a great idea and plan on doing that next time. Thanks for the idea!

    • Erica
      Jun 7, 2020

      This was so good, my family fell in love with it! Sheryl, yes you are suppose to put the grease from the bacon in with the pasta. If you think it's too much you can dump some. But honestly the more the better, it help make it even more flavorful!

    • Angela
      Jun 7, 2020

      High fat, Carbs. Not flavorful really, blah recipe