Tagliatelle carbonara is a simple twist on a classic. With thicker noodles that sop up the indulgent carbonara sauce and crispy pancetta bits, this recipe is big on flavor. Serve this dish with a side of bread to swipe up all the cheesy sauce!
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Indulgent – This delicious tagliatelle carbonara includes crispy pancetta pieces and a rich egg yolk sauce, contrasting perfectly with a generous crack of black pepper- making this the perfect comfort dish.
Simple Recipe – The best part about tagliatelle alla carbonara is you only need about four ingredients (not including seasoning) to make a delicious pasta dish.
Bold Flavors – Though the ingredients are simple, you can expect bold flavours from the pancetta, parmesan cheese, and yolks.
The golden rule of making carbonara is…keep it simple! Adding crispy pancetta bits, egg yolks, and parmesan means this tasty dish is packed with richness and flavours. So, it doesn’t need tons of other flavours like garlic, herbs and spices.
A short bit of history. While many Italian pasta dishes have been passed down through multiple generations, carbonara is relatively new (invented in 1944!). It was accidentally created by an American soldier in Italy who received spaghetti but felt it needed more flavor. So, his other rations (including powdered eggs, bacon, and cream) were added to the dish, creating the beloved carbonara. It quickly spread throughout Italy, eventually shifting to a recipe without cream.
What pasta is carbonara traditionally made with? A traditional carbonara recipe is typically made with spaghetti. I’ve switched this recipe to include tagliatelle, which holds the tagliatelle carbonara sauce better than spaghetti.
Colour, shape, texture, how it is made? Tagliatelle pasta is a type of pasta which is long and flat. This pasta is often compared to ribbon, as it has a similar appearance. It’s typically made with eggs and wheat flour. Since it contains eggs, it features a lightly yellow colour.
What does this particular pasta bring to the dish? Since the noodles are wider, they make the perfect base for this tagliatelle carbonara. The wide, flat noodles cling to the creamy carbonara sauce for the ultimate pasta dish.
Scrambling the eggs: Temper the eggs with the reserved pasta water and add when the frying pan is off the heat when making this tagliatelle carbonara. Otherwise, you’ll end up with scrambled eggs.
Adding cream: Avoid adding cream to this recipe; it doesn’t need it! Cream can lead to too much fat and greasy pasta, making the dish overly heavy.
Using cold eggs: This is a big no-no, as it creates a lumpy sauce. Start with room-temperature eggs. Leave them out for about 30 minutes before making this recipe to let them come to room temp.
Pancetta – The crispy pieces of pancetta in this carbonara tagliatelle provide a more decadent taste. You can also use crispy bits of bacon or guancialle if you wish. Guancialle is pig cheek, which is what a traditional carbonara uses.
Tagliatelle – Tagliatelle carbonara wouldn’t be the same without tagliatelle! However, you can use other types of pasta if desired. The carbonara sauce works with anything from gnocchi to linguine. This recipe also works with homemade tagliatelle.
Parmesan – An essential part of this recipe is the parmesan, which helps add flavour to the sauce. Grana Padano and pecorino romano are great alternatives in this recipe.
See the recipe card for full information on all ingredients and quantities.
Here are some variations you can incorporate into your tagliatelle carbonara for an even more delicious version of this dish.
Use different pasta – While it’s common to use spaghetti in this recipe, you can use the sauce on nearly any type of pasta. Consider making this dish with bowties, gnocchi, or whatever you have on hand.
Use different cheese – Instead of parmesan, try using another Italian cheese like pecorino.
Use guanciale – Pancetta is a tasty way to add protein. However, you can easily swap it out for guanciale, a type of Italian cured meat instead.
Add chicken or mushrooms for a heartier meal. Make this carbonara with tagliatelle more filling by including other proteins and more veg. You can also include peas or other similar ingredients to bulk up the dish.
3. After around 5 minutes, add your tagliatelle to salted boiling water. Set your timer to the packet time minus one minute (Image 3).
4. To a bowl, combine egg yolks, whole egg, the parmesan and a generous amount of pepper. Add two tbsp of the pasta water to the egg/cheese mix to bring the mix up to temperature (Image 4).
Before draining your pasta, reserve a large mug full of the pasta water.
5. Transfer the tagliatelle to the pan with the crispy pancetta. Toss to coat in the rendered fat (=flavour!) (Image 5).
6. Then,given that your pan isn’t hot anymore, add the egg/parm mix with a ladle of pasta water (Image 6).
7. Use tongs to incorporate and loosen as necessary with more pasta water (Image 7).
8. Top with the crispy pancetta, an extra sprinkle of parm and a crack of black pepper. Serve up in some pasta bowls and enjoy! (Image 8).
Make sure you whisk the eggs enough. Not whisking the eggs enough means your sauce won’t be uniform. Ensure you properly mix the yolks and whites for the best results.
Temper your eggs with pasta water. Avoid a chunky sauce in this tagliatelle carbonara recipe by tempering the eggs first with leftover pasta cooking water. This step will help ensure you have a silky smooth sauce.
Add egg mixture when pan is off heat to avoid scrambling. The sauce for this dish should be made completely off the heat. This step and tempering will ensure you don’t have a chunky sauce.
Use room-temperature eggs to avoid lumps in carbonara sauce. Another key to creating a smooth sauce is using eggs at room temperature. This tip also makes it easier to temper the eggs since they’re not cold.
Cook the pasta al dente. I always recommend making pasta al dente, as leftover pasta holds up better in the fridge.
Complete the meal with a salad or crusty bread. Make this recipe more filling with a fresh salad or loaf of bread.
This tagliatelle carbonara dish holds up fairly well in the fridge. Allow the pasta and sauce to cool slightly, then pack it into an airtight container. Refrigerate for up to four days.
The best way to reheat this tagliatelle carbonara is by tossing it into a dish. You may need a splash of boiling to help bring the sauce together. Gently heat the tagliatelle over a low low heat for few minutes until heated.
These two types of pasta are actually the same. However, the name of the pasta changes depending on where you find it. In Southern parts of Italy, this pasta is known as fettuccine. In the Northern parts, this same pasta is tagliatelle.
No, carbonara is not the same as alfredo sauce. For one, alfredo sauce is made with cream. Carbonara has no cream whatsoever. Instead, it’s made with egg yolks, pasta, water, and cheese.
The eggs are cooked in carbonara (like in this tagliatelle carbonara dish). Gently heating the eggs helps provide a saucy consistency instead of a scrambled egg texture.
If you’ve used too many egg whites, your carbonara may be more watery than creamy. Ensure you follow the yolks-to-whites ratio below for the best results.
Add a creamy soup to the side of this tagliatelle carbonara for a more filling meal.
Here are some ideas: Easy Carrot and Coriander Soup, Creamy Broccoli and Cauliflower Soup, or Roasted Vegetable Soup.
If you’re here from my Valentine’s reel:
If you tried this Tagliatelle Carbonara recipe, it would be mean so much to me if you could leave a review & a star rating to let me know how you found it! I love hearing about your experiences – it motivates me to keep creating more and more recipes for you guys 💛 Let’s get cooking! – Mimi x