Ready in just 15 minutes, Homemade Spaghetti Carbonara is so easy and so scrumptious, you’ll never order it at your favorite trattoria again. This creamy pasta is quick enough for weeknight menus but showy enough for dinner parties.
Adjust an oven rack to the middle position and preheat oven to 200 degrees. Place a large serving bowl on middle rack (large enough to accommodate a pound of cooked pasta).
Bring 4 quarts water and 1 tablespoon salt to boil. Add spaghetti and cook until al dente, about 10 minutes. Reserve 1 cup pasta water, then drain well.
Meanwhile, in a medium skillet over medium heat, add bacon and cook until brown and crispy, about 5 to 7 minutes. Stir in garlic until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Remove from heat.
Carefully remove bowl from oven and add eggs, cheese, and pepper to taste (I like 1/2 teaspoon). Beat with a fork to combine. Immediately add pasta, bacon with garlic, and rendered fat and toss to combine.
Add a splash of pasta water until desired consistency is reached (it should be creamy), then season to taste with salt and pepper. Garnish with more cheese and freshly parsley, if desired.
Spaghetti: Or any long cut of pasta, such as bucatini, linguine, or fettuccine.
Bacon: Traditional carbonara uses some type of cured pork jowl, like guanciale or pancetta diced into small cubes. If you have it, by all means, use it. But bacon works, too.
Eggs: The raw eggs become cooked and silky when tossed in the hot pasta. Before you begin this quick dinner recipe, bring the eggs to room temperature. If you forgot to bring the eggs to room temperature early enough, place the uncracked cold eggs in a bowl of warm water for several minutes until they no longer feel chilled.
Parmesan cheese: Carbonara sauce usually uses an aged Pecorino, a sheep milk cheese that tastes a tiny bit sharper than Parmesan. Use it if you got it, but again, Parmesan can totally pinch hit. Just make sure that you use fresh Parmesan, shredded from a block, not the Parmesan that comes in the green can. (Although that has its place, too!)
Yield: This recipe makes six generous servings of a little more than 3 ounces of pasta. I find this rich enough that this Spaghetti Carbonara portion satisfies as a main dish, but multiply as desired. I wouldn't blame you for dishing up seconds!
Storage: This dish is best enjoyed the day it is made, but leftovers can be stored covered in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.