Peas, Scallions, Lemon, Mint, all things that you wouldn't find in a traditional pasta carbonara but newsflash guys... they are excellent additions in this Spring Pasta Carbonara!
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Peas are literally about to be coming out of my ears seeing as how spring is literally right around the corner. And I will be putting peas in everything. When they are done properly... they are amazing!! On top of the peas in this pasta dish, I think by now you all know I put fresh lemon zest and juice on juice about everything. It just adds that extra zip and brightness.
Scallions (or green onions) are also in this as a quick and easy way to brighten up any dish. And mint is the most under-utilized herb and I'm determined to make it more popular so it's going in too! You could easily use basil if that's more your speed, but the mint and the peas are a magical combination that everyone needs to try! And if you're on board - this Chicken Skewers with a Cilantro Mint Vinaigrette are also HIGH on my list of life changing combos!
This Spring Pasta Carbonara is light and bright but with that same consistency that you love when eating a carbonara! It's the perfect dish to make for dinners for the foreseeable future as we usher in spring! Throw it on the table with my green monster salad and it's a match made in heaven!
- Eggs - make sure these are at room temperature!
- Parmesan and Pecorino Cheese - the more the merrier!
- Pancetta - we need plenty of this! I like it cut into roughly ½ chunks as it will get smaller as it crisps up.
- Kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper - duh.
- Pasta - authentic pasta carbonara is made with spaghetti, but I like using fettuccine or linguine in this recipe.
- English Peas - they're the star of this Spring Pasta Carbonara recipe.
- Fresh Herbs - mint and scallions are a magical combination with peas.
- Lemon - adds that extra zip and brightness.
How to Make Pasta Carbonara
Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Cook the pasta according to the package directions until al dente. If using fresh peas, add the peas 2 minutes before the pasta is done. If using frozen, add 30 seconds before the pasta is done. Reserve 1 cup of the pasta cooking water before draining the pasta and the peas.
Meanwhile, heat a large braiser or dutch oven over medium heat, add the pancetta, and sauté until the fat just renders, and it's crispy, about 8-10 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in a few tablespoons of the pasta water to the skillet with the oil and the pancetta and whisk to combine and emulsify the fat with the water. Add the whisked egg to the skillet making sure not to scramble it.
Add the pasta, peas and scallions into the pancetta and egg mixture. Toss to combine. Add the cheeses and toss to combine again. Add more pasta water as needed to thin. Season with salt, pepper, lemon zest and lemon juice. Serve the Pasta Carbonara immediately with plenty of fresh mint on top.
Variations and Substitutions
Pancetta - If you can't find it guanciale or bacon will also work.
Grated Parmesan and Pecorino Cheese – Buy the block and shred it yourself. Not only is it fresher and more flavorful but pre-shredded cheese tends to have a coating that prevents the cheese from sticking together and it doesn’t incorporate as well into the Pasta Carbonara sauce.
Pasta – While authentic pasta carbonara is made with spaghetti I like using fettuccine or linguine in this recipe.
Tips and Tricks
- I like to used fresh pasta for Pasta Carbonara! If you have access to it, grab it!! It feels even more authentic like you're IN Italy!! If you can't find any, don't sweat it!!
- Making the egg slurry and whisking those ingredients together until they are really well combined is a pro tip. Don't skimp the mixing here.
- Reserving some of the pasta water before draining your pasta is helpful if you need to thin out the final consistency of the dish. Use a few tablespoons at a time until you have the desired consistency.
- Make sure to kill the heat before adding slurry otherwise you'll scramble your eggs. The residual heat from the braiser is what cooks the egg slurry and makes it creamy!
Pasta Carbonara FAQ's
Does pasta carbonara have raw eggs?
Carbonara is perhaps one of the most perfect roman pasta dishes made with eggs, cheese (parmesan and pecorino), pancetta, and pepper. I'd like to think it's a cousin to Cacio e Pepe.
How is carbonara different from Alfredo?
Alfredo is a cream based pasta (uses heavy cream). Carbonara pasta sauce is an egg slurry based pasta (uses egg).
Is carbonara meant to be runny?
Runny - no. The egg slurry mixture will thicken ever so slightly when it's cooked using the residual heat from the cooking vessel you crisped the pancetta in.
Should there be cream in carbonara?
Nope - no cream needed! This is a pasta made with an egg slurry (see below) so no heavy cream is needed.
Other awesome pasta dishes
- The Perfect Spaghetti Carbonara (watch how to make it here)
- Chicken Feta Pasta
- Pasta Puttanesca
- Pasta Pomodoro
- Calabrian Chili Pasta
- Summer Ratatouille Pasta
- Tomato Confit Pasta
- Lemon Chicken Pasta
- Ricotta and Sausage Pasta
If you tried this recipe, please leave a 🌟 star rating and let me know how it goes in the 📝 comments below. Thanks for visiting today!
Spring Pasta Carbonara
- 4 ounces pancetta cut into a small dice
- olive oil
- 10 ounces fettuccine or linguine
- 1 lb fresh English peas
- 3 scallions thinly sliced on an angle
- 1 egg whisked
- ½ cup freshly grated parmesan
- ½ cup freshly grated pecorino romano
- 1 lemon zested and juiced
- Fresh mint for serving
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil.
- Cook the pasta according to the package directions until al dente. If using fresh peas, add the peas 2 minutes before the pasta is done. If using frozen, add 30 seconds before the pasta is done. Reserve 1 cup of the pasta cooking water before draining the pasta and the peas.
- In a large heavy bottom dutch oven skillet, add 2 tablespoons of olive oil over medium high heat. Add the pancetta and cook until browned, about 8-10 minutes. Season with pepper and turn off heat.
- Add a few tablespoons of the pasta water to the skillet with the oil and the pancetta and whisk to combine and emulsify the fat with the water. Add the whisked egg to the skillet making sure not to scramble it. Add the pasta, peas and scallions into the pancetta and egg mixture. Toss to combine. Add the cheeses and toss to combine again. Add more pasta water as needed to thin. Season with salt, pepper, lemon zest and lemon juice. Serve with plenty of fresh mint on top
- Cook the fettuccine or linguine until al dente
- Make sure to reserve some pasta water to add if needed for creaminess