Pasta Carbonara

I have had great need of comfort food lately.

And for me that often means cheese and cream and pasta. Emphasis on cream. Sure, throw bacon in there too. So, no, this is not going to be low-fat or healthy or in any way, shape or form good for you, unless you have a severe bacon deficiency. (And wouldn’t that be wonderful?)

This is a totally bastardized version of Pasta Carbonara. Yes, I sometimes make the real stuff. No, this isn’t it. Yes, it’s still good.

Pasta Carbonara

I’ve loved pasta carbonara since I was a kid when my grandfather would make it for me.

I like the contrast of the salty bacon and the slightly sweet onions and the smooth creaminess bundled with the slight chew of a wide, flat pasta. (Why do I always delay so long in writing blog posts. I’m killing myself right now, having eaten the last of this for lunch.)

You may notice that I put a pound of bacon in the ingredient list. I cook up a pound but can guarantee nothing near that actually makes it into the dish. A lot of bacon snacking goes on. I consider it part of the cooking process.

Oh, and I cook it in the oven. This may seem like a weird extra step, but it means I’m not standing around watching it cook in the pan (read: I can go mess around on the computer) and it makes relatively quick work when doing an entire package of the stuff.

Since I make enough for a family of six, I typically have a lot of leftovers. Let me offer you one tip when it comes to reheating: add a bit of milk or cream to the bowl/tupperware container. It will help steam and revitalize the noodles and sauce instead of frying it.

So, now that I’m drooling, I’m not going to keep waxing poetic on how good this is. Trust me. Make it. And don’t feel guilty about it. Sometimes life needs a bit of cream and bacon and pasta.

Diced onion


Cream and Onions

In the pan

Pasta Carbonara

  • 500 gram package of pasta (linguine, spaghetti, fettucine)
  • 1 pound bacon
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 yellow onion, diced
  • 1 cup whipping cream
  • 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese (plus more for sprinkling)
  • salt
  • pepper

Feel free to cook the bacon as you prefer. Though, seriously, give this method a try.

Preheat oven to 400. Place bacon on cookie sheet/on rack over cookie sheet/on broiler pan (heck, I’ve even used a casserole dish; it just takes extra draining after). Cook bacon for 15 to 20 minutes or until crisp. (Err on the side of crisp because it will soften in the cream sauce later. Limp bacon will get limper. *Shudder*) Set on paper towels to drain, then set aside to cool. When cool enough to handle, cut into smaller pieces. I usually do them a centimetre or two wide.

Heat olive oil in a pan over medium heat, add onion and a pinch of salt. Saute onion until transluscent, but not brown. Add whipping cream and cook until it has reduced by about a third. It should be super thick and rich. (I usually have a little extra cream or half-and-half around just in case it reduces too much.)

While the cream is reducing, cook pasta according to the packages directions. Drain.

Mix together the cream sauce and the pasta, adding in the Parmesan cheese and tossing until mixed. Add bacon and toss again. Season to taste. (Wait until the end to season because the bacon and cheese are salty and you don’t want to oversalt it.) Serve with fresh cracked pepper and more Parmesan, if desired.

  31 comments for “Pasta Carbonara

  1. January 18, 2010 at 12:40 am

    Wow. This is an intense dish. I love pasta carbonara…all versions of it, and this one is most definitely no exception. YUM!!

  2. January 18, 2010 at 1:46 am

    That looks fantastically divine! Yum =)

  3. January 18, 2010 at 2:05 am

    The first picture is gorgeous – and this sounds wonderful. Bookmarked.

  4. January 18, 2010 at 9:03 am

    Mmmmm It’s breakfast and that still looks amazing-I would eat that right now lol! Seriously This dish is one I make frequently during the week but I have never used onions so I will certainly try your recipe. Thanks .

  5. dinnerwithjulie
    January 18, 2010 at 11:44 am

    I am so making this, and thinking of you while I eat it. Good vibes coming your way today. I’m happy to know you.

  6. January 18, 2010 at 1:06 pm

    Oh yum. Definite comfort in a bowl. You can attempt to make it slightly healthier by throwing in some chopped swiss chard. Only if you really feel like it.

  7. Bryan Kennedy
    January 18, 2010 at 2:18 pm

    Wow looks really sweet!
    I have a lumix lx3 camera. I was wondering if I could take pictures as nice as yours, or at least slightly close to them?

    • patentandthepantry
      January 19, 2010 at 7:38 pm

      Of course! My only “trick” is that I generally shoot in all-natural light (no flash). And, as you can see, I like to get quite close to my food. Play around with your camera. That’s the beauty of digital, right?

  8. January 18, 2010 at 3:34 pm

    This looks amazing! I’ll definitely have to make this soon!

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  9. joe
    January 19, 2010 at 11:57 am

    Looks great! But it’s not Carbonara.
    Carbonara uses raw eggs not cream. This is Spaghetti with an Alfredo sauce.

    • patentandthepantry
      January 19, 2010 at 12:18 pm

      Yup, I realize it’s not a real Carbonara. That’s why I said it was a “totally bastardized” version. Not authentic; still delicious.

    • January 21, 2010 at 4:04 am

      Well if you’re going to get picky Joe, it’s not Alfredo either as Alfredo is made of only butter and parmesan, no cream.

      Nice photos!


  10. catastrophegirl
    January 21, 2010 at 2:29 am

    looks delicious! and easy

    but why try to cut cooked bacon? i find a pair of kitchen shears a delightful [lazy for me] way to size my bacon before cooking.
    i cook bacon in the oven too, on a rack in my roast pan [great way to save the grease too]
    actually, i tend to cut up bacon, freeze it, and just dip it out of the freezer bag by the cupful as needed.

  11. January 21, 2010 at 2:21 pm

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  12. February 2, 2010 at 6:56 pm

    Hi, interesting site, just curious what spam software you have on your site for filtering out junk websites since I get so many spammers on my website.

    • patentandthepantry
      February 18, 2010 at 5:37 pm

      WordPress automatically filters out most spam. Any comments that look spam-esque come up for moderation and I can approve them if they’re real and trash them if not. It’s a great system.

  13. February 3, 2010 at 9:15 am

    Great presentation and recipe!

    Thumb up.

  14. VL Jay
    March 10, 2010 at 1:41 pm

    Well, I learned something today. I thought that the presence of bacon in the dish is what made it “carbonara.” I cannot wait to make this. I live alone so I’m wondering if leftovers can be frozen?

    • patentandthepantry
      March 11, 2010 at 10:01 am

      I don’t see why leftovers couldn’t be frozen. I would just suggest adding a bit more cream before you put it in to freeze. Then, when it thaws, there is additional liquid to help the reheating process. Sadly, I usually just eat it for two or three days straight, so I never get to the point where I can freeze leftovers!

  15. July 7, 2010 at 2:23 pm

    No xomment, just want to subscribe. It all sounds good.

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  17. September 15, 2010 at 12:15 pm

    This recipie looks amazing – also, really great picture of that bacon. I almost licked my screen.

  18. Ty
    January 27, 2011 at 9:29 am


  19. Dan
    July 27, 2012 at 10:31 am

    Just found this by a google search and tried, family loved it, even the kids who ‘don’t do’ onions – thank you, great recipe

  20. November 14, 2012 at 1:25 am

    Eventhough it’s a bastardized version of the real carbonara it really looks the same. And because I saw your post makes me really want to make some of this today. I’m really feeling hungry right now…

  21. December 21, 2013 at 1:07 am

    it’s Look yum and fantastic
    Thanks for great recipe :)

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