Spring Spaghetti Carbonara with Bacon
Spring Spaghetti Carbonara with Bacon is classic carbonara with whole wheat spaghetti, spring vegetables and bacon. It’s the ultimate spring pasta!
As much as I love food, I’ve discovered that some foods don’t love me back. It seems that I’ve developed a sensitive stomach over the past few years and it’s gotten progressively worse this year. I’m trying to narrow things down, which included going on a low FODMAP diet for 4-6 weeks.
I had no idea what a FODMAP was until a few months ago, but basically it includes a large amount of foods that contain carbohydrates that aren’t digested well and end up fermenting in the intestine.
That equals a bit of discomfort to say the least.
During this 4-6 weeks I had to give up foods containing fructose, lactose, fructans, galactans and polyols. In English, this meant no wheat, beans, lentils, most dairy and a large amount of produce.
It was fairly easy for me to give up wheat (except for Dave’s Killer Bread) and most dairy. Thankfully I could eat butter and hard cheese like feta, cheddar and parmesan!
The hardest part for me was giving up the produce that fell under the fructan category. This included onions, garlic, artichokes, avocado, asparagus, peas, fava beans, cabbage, beets and so many more.
Hopefully I’ll have things narrowed down at some point soon, but luckily I’m doing a lot better and am adding foods back in now. It’s been so challenging to cook and eat out the past few months, but the silver lining is that I’ve learned a lot in the process.
This Spring Spaghetti Carbonara with Bacon was the first pasta dish I’ve eaten in months that wasn’t gluten-free. I happen to love gluten-free pasta, but I decided to add wheat pasta back in and I’m here to report that it went well in a small serving size.
I’m also so happy to be making up for lost time with my beloved asparagus, as well as leeks and fava beans from my garden!
I’ve been wanting to make a spring pasta carbonara recipe for ages and it was the perfect pasta dish to get me back on the pasta eating train. 🙂
Carbonara is a classic Italian pasta that traditionally includes eggs, hard cheese like parmesan or pecorino romano, and cured pork like pancetta or guanciale. Cream is also added sometimes, but I find that the richness of the eggs is all that a good spaghetti carbonara recipe needs.
My version of carbonara is a little different than the traditional carbonara recipe because it includes bacon, lemon juice and zest, and a bounty of spring produce including leeks, asparagus and fava beans!
I love adding as much produce to my meals as possible, and I knew that spring produce would be amazing in this bacon carbonara recipe. The leeks, asparagus and fava beans are simply amazing coated in the silky smooth egg-parmesan sauce.
It’s a match made in heaven.
How do you make spaghetti carbonara?
Some people may find spaghetti carbonara a bit intimidating because it involves adding raw eggs to hot pasta. The eggs are whisked with the lemon juice, zest and parmesan cheese, which forms a silky sauce when tossed with piping hot spaghetti.
The hot spaghetti cooks the eggs gently, but it can end up scrambling the eggs if it isn’t done properly.
Carbonara is reminiscent of my favorite Slow Cooker Greek Egg Lemon Soup (Avgolemono), which also includes adding raw eggs to hot liquid. In my soup, the eggs are tempered with hot liquid to keep the eggs from scrambling, which is what I’ve done here with this carbonara.
Be sure to reserve around 3/4 cup of the pasta water as it’s crucial to making the sauce for this carbonara the right consistency.
I used 1/4 cup of the hot reserved pasta water to temper the egg-cheese mixture before tossing it in with the spaghetti. Make sure that you do this off the heat to prevent over cooking the eggs, and you should have no trouble at all!
Is it safe to eat raw eggs?
As I mentioned, the eggs do cook gently when the hot pasta water is added and even more when it’s tossed with the hot pasta. It’s also a good idea to use pasteurized eggs to be safe.
The spaghetti may be substituted with your favorite pasta, and this recipe works very well with gluten-free pasta.
The bacon may be substituted for pancetta, guanciale or crispy prosciutto.
I understand that there’s an additional 10 minutes of work involved in prepping fava beans, so it’s best to do that ahead to make this meal go very quickly. If you’d rather not include fava beans, peas are a perfect substitute.
Spring Spaghetti Carbonara with Bacon is classic spaghetti carbonara with all of the goodness of spring. It really doesn’t get better than this!
If you like this recipe, you’ll love these:
Spring Spaghetti Carbonara with Bacon
- 8 ounces whole wheat spaghetti uncooked
- 4 slices center cut bacon
- 1 medium leek white and light green parts only, halved and sliced thinly into half moons
- 8 ounces asparagus cut in 1″ pieces on the bias
- 1 cup cooked shelled fava beans (prepared according to my post [How To Cook Fava Beans]), or 1 cup fresh or frozen peas (if frozen thaw slightly)
- 2 large eggs preferably pastuerized
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon lemon zest
- 1/2 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese plus more for serving
- salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
- Bring a large pot of water to boil over high heat for the pasta. Add a large pinch of salt and the spaghetti and cook according to package directions, reserving 3/4 cup of the pasta water. You want to add the pasta to the water around the time that the bacon is cooking so that it’s done when everything else is. The pasta must be drained quickly and be piping hot to cook the eggs in the sauce.
- While the pasta cooks, cook the bacon according to package instructions in a large skillet and place on paper towels when done. Reserve 2 tablespoons of the bacon grease in the skillet and discard the rest.
- Add the leek to the bacon grease in the pan over medium heat and cook until softened, about 2 minutes. Add the asparagus and fava beans and cook 3-4 minutes more until the asparagus is crisp tender. Remove from heat.
- Place the eggs in a small bowl and beat lightly until combined, then whisk in the lemon juice, zest and parmesan cheese.
- Slowly whisk in 1/4 cup of the reserved pasta water a little at a time to temper the eggs, which will help keep them from scrambling in the hot pasta.
- Add the piping hot pasta to the skillet with the vegetables and add the egg-parmesan mixture while tossing the pasta constantly. Add more of the pasta water to reach the desired consistency of the sauce. Once the pasta is well coated, season with salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste.
- Serve immediately topped with the crumbled bacon and more parmesan if desired. Enjoy!
- Prep time includes 10 extra minutes to prep and cook the fava beans. If you’re using fava beans, it’s best to cook them ahead to make things go much faster. If you choose to use peas instead, add fresh peas to the pasta as it cooks during the last 2-3 minutes or so, or add slightly thawed frozen peas to the skillet with the asparagus.
- Pancetta may be subbed for the bacon.
Nutrition is estimated using a food database and is only intended to be used as a guideline for informational purposes.