Carbonara is among my favorite Italian dishes. This creamy pasta dish combines the great tastes of bacon and cheese.

The cooking method is fast and easy. You pour a blend of eggs, cream and cheese onto the pasta. Then, you pour hot bacon and grease. The hot grease cooks the cream mix instantaneously.

Carbonara is heavy on flavor but light on your budget. For $21, you can make enough food for six people.

I learned how to cook carbonara with this recipe. Let’s get started.

Carbonara ingredients

Ingredients

  • 1 lb. Box of dry fettuccine
  • 2 Shallots
  • 1 White onion
  • ½ pt. Heavy whipping cream
  • 3 Eggs
  • 1 cup Shredded Parmesan cheese
  • 1 lb. Bacon, regular cut*
  • 3 Garlic cloves
  • Olive oil, black pepper

*Many people use pancetta (salt-cured pork belly) or guanciale (cured pork cheek). Pancetta can get pricey, so I save it for special occasions. Unfortunately, I can’t find guanciale in my town.

 

carbonara cut bacon

How to Cook Carbonara

Cut slab of bacon into smaller pieces. Chop onions, and mince garlic and shallot. Shallots add extra flavor and aroma. Meanwhile, bring a pot of water to a boil.

 

Carbonara whisk egg cheese mix

Whisk eggs, cheese and heavy cream together in a bowl. Add more cheese if you like.

 

Carbonara add onions

Heat olive oil. Cook shallots and onions until they’re translucent and give off a nice aroma. I use a Dutch oven.

 

Carbonara add bacon

Carbonara stir bacon in Dutch oven

Time for the star to take the spotlight! Add bacon. Cook it thoroughly, but not crispy. Otherwise, you’d just end up burning the onions and shallot. Besides, crispy bacon doesn’t belong with Carbonara.

Add pasta to pot of boiling water. Cook until al dente. That takes about 11 minutes. If your pasta is done before everything else is ready, drain and set the noodles aside in a big bowl. To prevent noodles from sticking together, toss them with a drizzle of olive oil.

 

Carbonara Dutch oven closeup

Add black pepper to taste. When the bacon is almost finished, add garlic. Cook garlic for about a minute, or until you smell the flavor. Don’t overcook it!

 

Carbonara pour mix onto pasta

Carbonara mix poured onto pasta

Pour egg mix onto pasta.

 

Carbonara pour bacon mix onto pasta

Pour hot bacon mixture onto pasta quickly. Toss and serve immediately. Enjoy!

Carbonara mix everything up

Grocery Receipt

Ingredients cost $21.14. If you’re feeding six people, that’s $3.52 per person. Here’s a breakdown of my shopping bill:

  • Bacon: $4.99
  • Garlic: $1.29
  • Heavy cream: $1.69
  • Onions: $1.81
  • Organic eggs: $3.29 for Weis shoppers club members (regular price $3.99)
  • Pasta: $1.59
  • Shallots: $3.98
  • Shredded Parmesan, 6 oz. bag: $2.50 for shoppers club members (regular price $3.19)

Kitchen Tips

  • Carbonara works with spaghetti and other pasta. One restaurant served carbonara with ziti.
  • If your religion forbids you from eating pork, use turkey bacon.
  • I don’t add salt. Bacon is salty enough.
  • My shoppers club card cut $1.39 from my carbonara costs. If your local supermarket chain offers free club cards, get one. It gives you discounts on selected items and can save you lots of money over the long run.

Video Tutorial

I’m making a video tutorial of carbonara cooking. I will post the video when it’s ready.