Foolproof Spaghetti Carbonara ATC

Prep Time
Cook Time
Ready In

Recipe: #24962

September 30, 2016

"From ATC, another great recipe. This one cuts the fats but still has the creaminess that Spaghetti Carbonara is known for. Is it a traditional version? Heck no! Bet you'll love it, though... The secret to this version is the use of the starchy pasta-cooking water to replace most of the fat. The pasta cooks in half the amount of water usually recommended for pasta. But, the result is a sauce that is relatively resistant to temperature change, which means the sauce does not tighten up as it cools. It will stay silky for up to 15 minutes."

Original is 4 servings


  • Serving Size: 1 (264.4 g)
  • Calories 818.3
  • Total Fat - 32.6 g
  • Saturated Fat - 11.5 g
  • Cholesterol - 228.5 mg
  • Sodium - 1753.8 mg
  • Total Carbohydrate - 88.1 g
  • Dietary Fiber - 0.2 g
  • Sugars - 0.3 g
  • Protein - 48 g
  • Calcium - 243.6 mg
  • Iron - 5.8 mg
  • Vitamin C - 0.7 mg
  • Thiamin - 0.8 mg

Step by Step Method

Step 1

Bring bacon and water to simmer in 10-inch nonstick skillet over medium heat; cook until water evaporates and bacon begins to sizzle, about 8 minutes. Reduce heat to medium-low and continue to cook until fat renders and bacon browns, 5 to 8 minutes longer.

Step 2

Add garlic and cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Strain bacon mixture through fine-mesh strainer set in bowl. Set aside bacon mixture.

Step 3

Measure out 1 tablespoon fat and place in medium bowl. Whisk Pecorino, eggs and yolk, and pepper into fat until combined.

Step 4

*NOTE FROM THE TEST KITCHEN It’s important to work quickly beginning with Step 4. The heat from the cooking water and the hot spaghetti will “cook” the sauce only if used immediately. Warming the mixing and serving bowls helps the sauce stay creamy. Use a high-quality bacon for this dish.*

Step 5

Meanwhile, bring 2 quarts water to boil in a Dutch oven. Set colander in large bowl. Add spaghetti and salt to pot; cook, stirring frequently, until al dente. Drain spaghetti in colander set in bowl, reserving cooking water.

Step 6

Pour 1 cup of the cooking water into a liquid measuring cup and discard the rest. Return spaghetti to the now-empty bowl.

Step 7

Slowly whisk ½ cup of the reserved cooking water into the Pecorino mixture. Then, gradually pour the Pecorino mixture over the spaghetti, tossing to coat.

Step 8

Add bacon mixture and toss to combine.

Step 9

Let spaghetti rest, tossing frequently, until sauce has thickened slightly and coats spaghetti, 2 to 4 minutes, adjusting consistency with remaining reserved cooking water if needed. Serve immediately


No special items needed.

2 Reviews


This was a healthier, and still delicious, version of one of our favorite decadent meals. I really didn't miss the extra bacon fat (although, I admit to adding a bit of it back in). The pasta still had a creamy-like texture and was full of flavor. Thank you, Lori!


review by:
(15 Jul 2019)


Yum! We thoroughly enjoyed this with some chicken and boy, we're full - these are some big portions! Wouldn't change anything. Made for CQ19. Thanks JustLori! :)


review by:
(2 Jul 2019)

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