Friday, June 1, 2012

Lemon-Scented Carbonara

Seriously? Could pasta carbonara get any better?Not to be nostalgic or anything, but spaghetti carbonara was my first blog post for this little blog. It still is insane to me as to how easy this dish is to make. And please, I beg you, do not be grossed out by the raw egg yolk. You temper the egg anyway with boiling water so "technically" it isn't raw. Plus, it tastes velvety and delicious. So try it. I almost guarantee you will like love it.
I am always looking for new twists on old classics so when I found this stunner from Rachael Ray I had to try it!I love the classic carbonara, but oh man this one gave the old school version a run for its money. There is the classic creaminess from the egg and cheese, the brightness of the lemon zest and juice and the spiciness of the chillies gives this pasta dish a whole heck of alot of flavor. I used pancetta in this recipe, but feel free to use bacon if that is what you have on hand. Also not listed in my idol's recipe is truffle salt. I'm not sure if there is a dish where truffle salt would not be appropriate (Mexican maybe?), but I sprinkled some on top of this and was blown away. What a delicious addition. So if you have it, sprinkle away!

Hopefully you don't follow in my footsteps because I scooped out a giant bowl of this pasta and saved the resat for lunch tomorrow. It was so delicious I ate both bowls. Yikes. I may have eaten a 1/2 pound of pasta in one sitting. So beware. I wish I was warned. I would have at least worked out today.

Lemon-Scented Carbonara

  • Salt
  • 1 pound egg tagliatelle, spaghetti or fettuccine
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/3 pound pancetta, chopped into fine dice
  • About 1 teaspoon coarse black pepper
  • 6 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 small Fresno chili pepper, seeded and finely chopped (optional)
  • 1 bunch thin scallions, finely chopped, white and green parts separated
  • Zest and juice of 1 large, ripe organic lemon, divided
  • About 1 tablespoon fresh thyme
  • 3/4-1 cup dry white wine
  • A handful of flat leaf parsley, very finely chopped
  • 3 large organic egg yolks
  • Freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese (a couple of handfuls)
  • Freshly grated Pecorino Romano cheese (a couple of handfuls)
  • Shredded basil and diced yellow tomato, for garnish (optional)


Bring a large pot of water to a boil for the pasta. When boiling rapidly, salt the water and cook the pasta to al dente. Heads up: reserve 1/2-3/4 cup of the starchy cooking water just before draining the pasta.

Heat a large skillet over medium heat with the EVOO, three turns of the pan. Add the pancetta, season with black pepper and brown lightly. Stir in the garlic, chili pepper (if using), and the whites of the scallions, then zest the lemon over the pan and stir in the thyme. Stir for 2-3 minutes, then add the wine, a couple turns of the pan, and reduce by half, 1-2 minutes. Reduce the heat to low.

When the pasta is about ready, beat the egg yolks with the reserved starchy water to temper them. Add the lemon juice, parsley and the greens of the onions to the pan.

Drain the pasta and add it to the pan. Turn off the heat, pour in the tempered eggs and sprinkle in a small handful of each of the cheeses. Toss vigorously for 1-2 minutes, until the sauce coats the pasta and it's thick and shiny. Serve in shallow bowls with a little extra cheese, shredded basil and diced yellow tomatoes on top.


  1. I have to admit that I love spaghetti carbonara and this sounds like such a delicious version of it! Thanks for sharing.

  2. Sounds yummy. You really should come here and cook :)

  3. My Hubby loves carbonara! I need to try your lemon-scented version. It sounds amazing!

    1. OOOO do it! it's yummy. I loved the Chillies in it!

  4. Sounds delicious! I've pinned it to try one of these days.

  5. Oh man! I love a good carbonara and this is just a bit different from any that I've ever had!

  6. It is delicious!!! Perfect for summer!!