A cozy pasta dish takes on fresh flavors in this spring spaghetti carbonara. Full of crispy bacon, fresh asparagus, bright lemon, and cheese, this pasta dish is the perfect way to transition into spring!
Spaghetti carbonara is THE ultimate cozy pasta dish. The classic carbonara is made with eggs, cheese, and guanciale (an Italian cured meat similar to bacon). Since it’s technically spring, I wanted to add a bit of freshness to this comfort classic.
I say it’s technically spring because winter doesn’t seem to want to go away. Luckily, this spring spaghetti carbonara makes a perfect transition dish. It’s cozy and comforting, but has fresh flavors from the lemon, asparagus, and fresh chives.
You only need a handful of ingredients to make a great spaghetti carbonara, which makes it a perfect weeknight meal. Because there are so few ingredients, you’ll want to make sure you get the best quality possible.
- Spaghetti (I used Jovial Gluten-Free Brown Rice Spaghetti, but use whatever your favorite is.)
- Pancetta or Bacon (or Guanciale if you can find it!)
- Parmigiano Reggiano
- Lots of Freshly Cracked Black Pepper
The most important thing to remember when making spaghetti carbonara is to have all of your ingredients ready to go before you begin. So, you’ll want to have your pancetta cubed, your cheese grated, the eggs whisked, and the asparagus all peeled and ready to go. It’s so important to have everything prepped and ready because once the pasta is cooked, it all comes together super fast.
While your pasta is boiling, we crisp up the bacon and mix the sauce. The sauce is made of eggs, lemon, cheese, and lots of pepper. You really need to whisk those eggs! I actually throw mine in my blender to get them really mixed, but you can whisk them by hand too. Just make sure the whites and yolks are a complete homogenous mixture.
Then we add in the lemon, cheese, and pepper. Once the pasta and asparagus are done we have to reserve some pasta water to make the sauce. I whisk a 1/2 cup of the hot pasta water into the egg mixture to temper the eggs and make sure they don’t start scrambling.
The trick to getting the creamy sauce to perfectly coat the pasta is to keep tossing (off of the heat!) until it comes together. You’ll be dying to dig in at this point!
I like to serve my spaghetti carbonara topped with lots of cheese and fresh chives. Italian purists will scoff at the addition of asparagus, lemon, and chives… but seriously, it’s so good! I really love taking comfort food classics and adding a fresh twist on them.
What’s not to love about carbonara with asparagus and lemon thrown in? Not a darn thing. ?
- 1 Bunch Fresh Asparagus, trimmed
- 12 oz. Gluten-Free Spaghetti*
- 8 oz. Pancetta or Bacon, cut into small cubes
- 4 Large Eggs
- 1 Lemon, zested and juiced
- 1 Cup Freshly Grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, plus more for topping
- Freshly Cracked Black Pepper
- Salt, to taste
- Fresh Chives, optional for garnish
- Place a large pot of water to boil.
- While you’re waiting for the water to boil, prep all of your ingredients. Trim the tough ends from the asparagus and discard. Using a vegetable peeler, peel the asparagus (starting just under the tip) into thin shavings. Set the shavings aside and cut the tips off of whatever is remaining that you couldn’t peel. You’ll end up with some bits that you can’t peel – just chop them up and add them to the shavings and tips.
- In a large skillet cook the bacon until crisp. Transfer the bacon to drain on paper towels and remove all but one tablespoon of the fat from the pan.
- Whisk the eggs with lemon juice, lemon zest, parmesan cheese, and lots of fresh cracked pepper. Set aside.
- Once your water is to a rolling boil, add a few big pinches of kosher salt and then stir in the spaghetti. Set your timer for 3 minutes less than the recommended cooking time. Add the asparagus into the pot with the pasta and cook an additional 2 minutes. (You’re cooking the pasta for 1 minute less than the package instructions).
- Before you drain the pasta, reserve 1 ½ cups of the cooking water.
- Drain the pasta and add it to the skillet with the bacon fat. Turn the heat to medium-low and toss well. Remove the pan from the heat.
- Whisk a ½ cup of the pasta water vigorously into the egg mixture and then pour that mixture into the pan with the pasta. Toss to coat the pasta with the sauce – as the egg mixture heats up it will thicken and coat the pasta. If the pasta seems dry, add additional pasta water. Add the bacon into the pan and toss.
- Taste the carbonara and season with salt and additional pepper, if necessary. Serve the pasta topped with additional parmesan cheese and fresh chives. Serve immediately.
- *Regular pasta works, too if you don't need this gluten-free!