If you are longing for a healthy carbonara pasta recipe to bring an authentic Italian vibe to your kitchen, we have exactly what you need. This classic al dente pasta coated with a rich, creamy sauce guarantees a most wonderful culinary experience.
Is Carbonara Pasta Healthy?
Carbonara can be a dish high in saturated fat, sodium, and carbs. We’ve taken extra care to make sure our homemade carbonara pasta recipe is healthy.
With only 485 calories, this dish provides a hearty and satisfying dinner. Feeling full can also help you avoid late-night snacking and stick with any diet goals you may have.
As for the alluring sauce packed with parmesan cheese, eggs, and milk, our chefs have carefully calculated each ingredient to ensure everything stays within healthy limits. The amount of added sodium and sugar is also kept in check, at 546.3 mg and 2.8 g, respectively.
Even with all of that care and attention, we still do not recommend having this dish daily, since it may have some side effects on your heart health. It works great as a little indulgence every so often, but not every day.
For now, let’s take a closer look at all of the wonderful ingredients that go into this pasta dish.
Ingredients for Carbonara Pasta
In this Italian recipe, simplicity is celebrated. You can easily find all of the ingredients at home. If you happen to run out of spaghetti, cheese, or anything else, a quick drive to the grocery store will solve the problem.
Pasta: Whether you prefer spaghetti or linguine, any long-cut pasta works well. For convenience, our chefs use regular spaghetti which you may already have in your pantry, or if not, could definitely buy at the store.
Bacon: Though only a small amount of bacon is included, it‘s enough to awaken your senses and lift the flavor of the dish. In a pan over low heat, small and thin pieces of bacon are seared until crispy, creating a sizzle that’s music to the ears. For other ways to use bacon with pasta, check out our homemade Spaetzle and tasty Stir-fried Spaghetti dishes.
Cheese: The go-to cheese for a sumptuous carbonara has to be the nutty and tangy parmesan. If you don’t have parmesan, you could also use Pecorino Romano or Asiago.
Milk: Our recipe calls for whole milk with 3.25% milkfat, making the carbonara extra creamy and buttery.
Salt and pepper: Only a moderate amount of seasoning is needed to accentuate the flavor.
Garnishing: A pop of green from parsley to add a fresh note and complete the dish.
Best Pasta for Carbonara
As mentioned above, there are no specific rules to the kind of pasta you use. The dish traditionally uses spaghetti, but there are many other variants you could choose from, such as linguine or fettuccine. Other types of pasta could be used too, such as ravioli.
The eating experience will differ, but still be very enjoyable. Remember to double-check the instructions on the package as different pastas require different cooking times.
Tips for Cooking Perfect Carbonara
The secret to an irresistible carbonara is getting the pasta evenly coated with the delectable white sauce. However, it’s quite tricky for newbies to master the perfect consistency—not too liquid, not too curdled. But not to worry, we have some easy to follow tips and tricks just for you:
Use room temperature eggs: Cold eggs make it harder for you to control the temperature which results in a lumpy sauce. If you leave your eggs overnight in the fridge you should take them out and let them rest for 30 minutes before cooking.
Whisk the eggs to perfection: Whisk your eggs until white and yolk are blended. Your hard work will pay off with a beautiful streak-free sauce.
Add the sauce gently and slowly on low heat: Your eggy sauce can easily turn into scrambled eggs if you leave the heat over 145 °F. To avoid this, once the spaghetti is cooked al dente, you should lower the heat or remove the pan from the stove before carefully adding the carbonara sauce.
How to Store and Reheat Leftovers
1. How to store
Like any dairy-rich dish, leftover carbonara pasta should be stored properly in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 4 days.
Though frozen pasta can last up to 3 months in a freezer, we don’t recommend this method. The noodles themselves can become mushy and soggy during the thawing process.
2. How to reheat
If you are in a hurry, just place your pasta in a microwave-safe bowl, use a microwave cover, and microwave until heated through.
For those who prefer the traditional way, you can turn your stovetop on very low heat, add olive oil, and toss the pasta continuously until warmed through.
Tuyet Pham is an award-winning Saigonese chef who believes that joy is the secret ingredient to delicious food. At Healthy Recipes 101, Tuyet personally tests and simplifies every recipe, ensuring maximum flavor with minimal effort. With a background at prestigious French restaurants P’TI Saigon and Le Corto, Tuyet knows how to make every dish exceptional.
Luna Regina is an accomplished writer and author who dedicates her career to empowering home cooks and making cooking effortless for everyone. She is the founder of HealthyKitchen101.com and HealthyRecipes101.com, where she works with her team to develop easy, nutritious recipes and help aspiring cooks choose the right kitchen appliances.
Natalie Butler is a registered dietitian nutritionist with a passion to help others live their best life through food, fitness, safer beauty and a healthy lifestyle. She has expertise with a variety of diets and diseases and believes that there is no one-size-fits-all approach for health.
Delicious, easy-to-make carbonara pasta recipe that's sure to satisfy!