Pasta Carbonara (Bacon and Cheese Pasta)

Pasta Carbonara (Bacon and Cheese Pasta)

You meant to go to the grocery store. You meant to get something out of the freezer, but it’s been one of those days. Panic not. You probably have all the ingredients you need for this yummy pasta in your pantry or freezer and it’s done start to finish in under 20 minutes.

Pasta Carbonara

Serves: 6
Prep time:
5 minutes
Cook time:
15 minutes

  • 12 ounces bacon, chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 pound pasta
  • 1 cup half-n-half, whole milk or 2%
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup frozen peas
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded Parmesan cheese


1. Bring a pot of water to boil. While you’re waiting, start sautéing the bacon in a big frying pan.

2. Remove the bacon once it’s crisp and pour off most of the fat. Turn off the heat, but throw the garlic in the hot bacon fat left in the pan. The residual heat is enough to soften the garlic without worrying about burning it.

3. Once the water boils, salt it and add the pasta. Cook until al dente, then drain but reserve 1/2 cup of the cooking water.

4. While the pasta is cooking, whisk together the eggs and milk. Slowly add the reserved pasta water while whisking.

5. Add the pasta and peas to the garlic in the frying pan. Then add the egg mixture. Turn the heat on low and stir until thickened, about 3 minutes. Add the bacon and cheese, give it one last stir, taste and add a little salt if needed and lots of fresh ground pepper.

Cook’s note: You control the richness of this dish two ways: how much fat you leave in the pan and which milk product you use. For a skinny dish, drain all but a tablespoon of fat and use 2% milk. For richer pasta, leave 2-3 tablespoons bacon fat and use half-n-half.

Complete the meal: Serve with a green salad and a crisp, white wine. Natura Sauvignon Blanc is an organic wine from Chile. Convito Market in Wilmette has it for about $14.

Shopping List


  • 12 ounce package bacon (highly recommend Niman Ranch, sold at Trader Joe’s)


  • 1 carton half-n-half, whole milk or 2%
  • Eggs
  • 6 ounce container shredded Parmesan cheese


  • 1 head garlic

Other items

  • 1 pound pasta
  • 1 package frozen petite peas

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