Carbonara is my favourite pasta recipe. So to develop a chorizo carbonara recipe and publish it on my site, I feel even more passionate than usual about perfecting the method and ingredients.
Switching the traditional pancetta/guanciale with chorizo is a great substitution. The fat that renders from the deeply seasoned chorizo balances really well with the rich flavours of the carbonara, also adding a hint of spice which is beaautiful.
You can whip up this spaghetti chorizo carbonara in less than 20 minutes, so it’s ideal for a weeknight dinner, a dinner party (you’ll want to show off this meal) or a quick meal to make on those hungover sundays. It’s the perfect treat.
The intense flavour of the chorizo takes this carbonara to the next level. It’s salty, mildly spicy and the fat that renders out of the chorizo when heated on low, gives the carbonara a beautiful colour and flavour.
I use spaghetti for this chorizo carbonara recipe but you could use your favourite pasta shape, I also love using rigatoni for carbonara.
The foundation to any carbonara recipe.
Traditionally, most carbonara recipes use pecorino romano in some form, however to keep the prices down I just use parmesan. I think it’s just as good.
Ok so we’re breaking tradition even more here. The garlic just adds an extra level of flavour but seeing as we’re already using chorizo, I thought we could break the rules a bit more.
The ‘creamy’ element of a carbonara comes from the combination of eggs, parmesan and pasta water. The mix of these 3 ingredients using the method I described below, creates a thick and rich emulsified sauce for the spaghetti carbonara. Be sure to read the method thoroughly so you get the perfect end result!
Spanish Chorizo and Butter Bean Slow Cooker Stew
One Pot Chorizo and Lentil Soup
Meatball Marinara with Spiralized Courgette and Wholewheat Spaghetti
Cut the chorizo into cubes and add to large/deep frying pan on a low heat with the olive oil.
Now fry gently on a low heat for around 8 minutes to render the delicious fat out of the chorizo. Add the minced garlic for the last 2 minutes of fry time.
Meanwhile, add your spaghetti into heavily salted boiling water, timer set to 2 minutes minus the packet time.
Mix together 3 egg yolks, 1 whole egg and the parmesan. Season generously with pepper and a pinch of salt. Add a ladle of pasta water into the egg/parm mix and whisk to temper the eggs.
Reserve the pasta water and add the strained pasta into the chorizo and stir for one minute before turning off the heat. Now that the heat is off and the pan is less hot, add the egg/cheese mix into the spaghetti whilst continuously stirring. Add the pasta water when necessary to loosen the sauce.
Use a low low heat to render the fat from the chorizo. If you add the chorizo to a hot pan, you’ll sear the outside of the sausage allowing less fat to be rendered. We really want this oil to render as much as possible as it’s going to coat the spaghetti.
Heavily salt your pasta water. As there are minimal ingredients to this chorizo carbonara recipe, we want to ensure that each ingredient is individually seasoned.
Don’t add the slurry of parm/egg/pasta water into a really hot pan.We want the pan to be off the heat when adding the parm mixtures as you’re at risk of scrambling the eggs if the pan is too hot. By adding a ladle of pasta water into the cheese/egg mix, we’re ‘tempering’ them, which means we’re reducing the contrast in temperature between the egg/cheese and the contents of the pan. This will reduce the risk of a scramble situation but we still want to be careful and turn that heat off!
Can I make this recipe ahead of time?
This recipe is best enjoyed immediately as the balance of pasta water/thickness of the sauce changes after refrigerating and reheating. You also don’t want to accidentally scramble the eggs.
If you think you’ll have leftovers and have no choice but to reheat, reserve some pasta water and reheat on a low heat with a splash of pasta water, adding as necessary until your chorizo spaghetti is hot enough to eat.
Can I freeze this recipe?
I wouldn’t freeze this recipe. The recipe only makes 4 portions though, so you’ll definitely want to eat them within a refrigerating window anyway.
Could I make this recipe vegetarian?
You could make this into a mushroom carbonara recipe by browning some chestnut mushrooms in place of the chorizo and using vegetarian parmesan instead of regular.
Is it healthy?
This recipe is higher in calories and fats than a lot of my recipes, but as I always say, it’s all about balance and having a carbonara once a week or every now and again, nothing bad will happen. It’s the perfect treat meal that wows the crowd with minimal effort.
You can also pair it with greens such as tenderstem broccoli, wilted spinach or a side salad which will add some nutrients and brightness to the meal.
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