Rachael Ray’s Carbonara Recipe

When I’m pressed for time, low on ingredients, and everyone’s sick of spaghetti, I go for carbonara. It’s cheap, easy, and really tasty. Our picky preschooler eats gobs of it every time I make it. Here’s the recipe, with a few mentions of our family’s tweaks.

Photo by Culinary Curiosity

  • salt & freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 1 pound pasta, such as spaghetti or rigatoni
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 pound pancetta, chopped (We do 1/2 pound of ground beef because we can’t get pork products here. Crumbled bacon would also work, I imagine.)
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 5 to 6 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 2 large egg yolks
  • freshly grated Romano cheese (we do mozzarella)
  • handful of finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley, for garnish (we do dried)

Cook pasta according to package directions. Meanwhile, heat a large skillet over medium heat (I use a wok). Add the olive oil and pancetta. Brown the pancetta for two minutes; add red pepper flakes and garlic, and cook 2-3 minutes more. Add the wine and stir up all the pan drippings.

In a separate bowl, beat the yolks, then add 1 large ladleful (about 1/2 cup) of the pasta cooking water. This tempers the eggs and keeps them from scrambling when added to the pasta.

Drain pasta well and add it directly to the skillet with the meat and oil. Pour the egg mixture over the pasta, and toss rapidly to prevent the egg from cooking. Remove the pan from heat and add a big handful of cheese, lots of pepper, and a little salt. Continue to toss and turn the pasta until it soaks up the egg mixture and thickens, about 1-2 minutes. Garnish with the parsley and extra grated cheese.

Yum! This super-easy recipe is a family favorite, and it definitely works for us.

Tsh Oxenreider

Tsh is the founder of this blog and just finished traveling around the world with her husband and 3 kids. Her latest book is Notes From a Blue Bike, and believes a passport is one of the world's greatest textbooks.

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  1. I’ll definitely have to try this – my son always asks for spaghetti and meatballs then decides it doesn’t like red sauce. Great recipe, thanks.

  2. Carbonara is also a hit with my kids. And me too!

  3. I got RR’s “Comfort Foods” book for Christmas this year and am just now pulling it out. We’ve had this recipe twice this month and it’s awesome!

  4. This was great with bacon. Thanks for the yummy, kid-friendly recipe!

    Julies last blog post..Growing people

  5. Does anyone know how many servings this makes?
    Please e-mail me and let me know. Thanks.

    • I got this recipe out of a woman’s magazine. It says 6 servings, but I usually cut it in half and then eat it all by myself. (groan)Oh yes, I use applewood smoked bacon that I get locally (idaho) and I use the whole egg.

    • Hayly Amber says:

      6 Servings, as per original recipe from Rachael!

  6. I just made this on Sunday! It was a BIG hit. I used broth instead of wine, and accidentally poured in BEEF broth instead of chicken as I intended. But, WOW was it even better! I also forgot (as I always do) do save the pasta water for adding to the eggs so I just used tap water and it was fine. Thanks for putting this out there!
    .-= Terri´s last blog ..Discover Card jumps on the bandwagon =-.

  7. Thanks for the idea! But…whoa 1 teaspoon of red pepper flakes! I added 1/2 teaspoon and it was a bit too hot for the kids. On Rachael’s website she has 1/4 teaspoon. Just wanted to add this note for other reader who might use this recipe :).

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