Carbonara is one of the favorite pasta recipes (in close competition with Pinoy Style Spaghetti) that has been adapted into our Filipino taste. This cream-based pasta is one of the most common potluck staples, especially for those who are not a fan of its red sauce counterpart. In this article, we will teach you how to make the best carbonara as well as its wide array of variants to broaden your options so that you can have it with any resources available in your kitchen.
What is Carbonara
Carbonara is a pasta recipe of Roman Italian origin (well, because this country is the hometown of pasta!). Traditionally, this is made with spaghetti, cured pork, egg, parmesan, and black pepper. Different kinds of pasta can also be used, such as fettuccine, linguine, rigatoni, and bucatini.
The name of the recipe was said to be derived from the Italian word Carbonaro which means, “charcoal-burner,” as it was a meal specially made for Italian charcoal workers. This might also explain why it earned its nickname “coal miner’s spaghetti.” The recipe played a relevant part in history, as this was believed to be improvised from the eggs and bacon ration and was served to American officers after the Allied Liberation of Rome in the Post WWII era, where it was described as a “Roman recipe.”
Fast forward in time; the recipe has made it on the global stage. It even mutated into different versions (which is a major faux pas for Italians). The number of ingredients, as well as some alterations, also made the recipe an unrecognizable recipe for an Italian delish whenever they ordered the recipe abroad.
However, the main recipe that will be discussed in this article will feature the Pinoy Style recipes. The profile of the recipe is almost the same as its original version, only that locally available and preferred ingredients replace it. The Filipino style variant is also creamier and meatier than the Italian style.
How To Make A Perfect Carbonara Sauce
Preparing Pasta Carbonara delish will consist of two parts: cooking the noodles and making the sauce. Both are of equal importance, yet knowing how to make its sauce well will determine the overall flavor that you will achieve. Before we begin, we will first establish our sauce-goal: the Filipino style cream-based sauce.
Start with frying the diced bacon and ham with butter until golden brown, then set aside. Saute garlic and onion in the same pan, then add the cooked meats and mushroom, leave it for 5 minutes. Pour all the wet ingredients–the all-purpose cream, chicken broth, and cream of mushroom then season with well-milled black pepper and salt to taste.
Bring the sauce to a boil, and you can add the cooked noodles together with bell pepper. For a more creamy serving, you may already add the cheese and simmer it for 5 minutes.
Other Delicious Variants of Pasta Carbonara
Given the culinary globalization, a wide array of Carbonara variants have emerged. These new takes on the dish are not only based on the local flavors substituted but also serve to cater to any dietary preferences so that no one could be left out!
Chicken Carbonara Recipe
Chicken carbonara, a.k.a Chicken Alfredo is made by replacing the classic meat component, bacon, with chicken. You can use either shredded or roasted chicken as long as it is only lightly flavored. This recipe is great sprinkled with parmesan cheese.
This recipe is suitable as a family dinner meal. It is simply delicious and filling at the same time yet light on the stomach. This will also save much time as preparing the chicken will also produce the needed broth. You may also opt to cook this as a one-pot meal, especially if you’re short in time and want to cut some oils.
With Shrimp Recipe
For seafood lovers out there, shrimp carbonara will give you enough reason to cook the recipe. If ever there was a registration for the license “to-be-used-as-a-carbonara-variant.” I am quite pretty sure that shrimp came as a VIP. The creaminess of the sauce with the salty seafood addition is perfectly balanced with a sprinkle of lemon, giving a refreshing twist to the recipe.
With Bacon Recipe
The basic goal to make bacon carbonara is to make the bacon flavor stand out. Hence, a generous amount of bacon is added in the sauce and as toppings. This version is the one most liked by kids. However, it is the least-healthy variant, unless you pair it with keto pasta.
With Mushroom Recipe
It is a vegetarian recipe that uses the mushroom as a meat alternative. The meat alternative is also suitable for weight loss as it contains a high amount of protein and fiber. The perfect pasta cut to be used here is the penne pasta.
For the vegans out there, long live the day when this version was finally penned down into an actual recipe. Vegan carbonara has no ingredients made up of animal products; the only thing spared is the pasta. This variant is made by substituting the meat with other sun-dried vegetables such as tomatoes and mushrooms while replacing the dairy component of the sauce with either blended raw cashews or chickpeas.
When we talk about keto carbonara, we first have to identify the source of carbohydrates that we need to remove or replace. In this case, the shirataki noodles can be used as a pasta substitute. This noodle wonder is made of konjac root, which is 100% fiber and has zero carbs (yes, you read that right!).
With Gnocchi Recipe
Gnocchi is a small, plump, potato-based pasta that is quite distinct from other kinds of pasta that Filipinos have been accustomed to eating. Gnocchi carbonara is simply made by using gnocchi and the use of a lighter egg and cream-based sauce that will be perfectly soaked by the pasta of choice. The starch in the gnocchi will add thickness to the sauce so that you can go easy with the cream.
Ramen Carbonara Recipe
If you expect this version to be slurpable, you got it wrong. By ramen, we meant the instant noodles. Ramen Carbonara is a student saver as it is cheap, readily available, and requires no fuss.
This is made by using instant ramen noodles as a replacement for the pasta. This quick meal makes a perfect companion for late-night examination reviews, and it might save your reputation as you can whip this one quickly whenever you run out of contribution in your thesis project.
The Italians take pride in how the simplicity of their ingredients can turn out perfectly delicious when properly prepared. The traditional carbonara sauce uses egg yolks instead of cream, pancetta instead of bacon, and strictly parmesan cheese. However, it will take some great skill and mastery to pull off this dish, as you would not want the Italian Food Authority knocking on your door.
With Zucchini Recipe
To make zucchini carbonara, use zetuccine (a coined term from zucchini and fettuccine) or zucchini noodles in place of pasta as this is an excellent and tasty low carb option. To make some, you will simply need a spiralizer to make perfect zucchini ribbons. You may opt for the creamy sauce to achieve the light and savory goodness that will perfectly complement the sweet vegetable.
With Avocado Recipe
This is a heart-healthy recipe that simply replaces the cream (or the egg) sauce base with blended avocadoes. Usually, the sauce is made up of blended mashed avocados with parmesan, salt, pepper, and a little amount of the pasta water (we need some starch) for that silky and creamy consistency.
We do not want to spoil you from enjoying your very own recipe. Hence we provide you these simple pieces of advice to save you from kitchen troubles.
- Do not come up with salty noodles recipes by going easy on your salt. The cheese will provide the saltiness that you need for the recipes, so do not go overboard on sodium. Hence if your sauce is already salty, you may have to skip the cheese toppings.
- If you did not control yourself and have over seasoned with salt, sprinkle some lemon on the macaroni salad as this fruity acid will balance the sodium.
- To avoid getting a clumpy or too-creamy sauce, always save some pasta water. This will save the recipes from being sauce-deficient. If your sauce has become too thick, add the reserved pasta water, then let it simmer for a minute to achieve the target consistency.
- Avoid using yellow egg-based pasta not to overwhelm the recipes with much egg and buttery taste. However, if this is the only pasta kind available in your kitchen, lessen up the cream and butter in your sauce and go for the thin sauce finish.
Trivia: Benefits of Carbonara Ingredients
There is no need to feel guilty when you’re eating something as delicious as a serving of these recipes. Believe it or not, primary ingredients are actually good for you.
- Pasta – Carbohydrates from pasta can help you sustain your energy throughout the day. While the glucose that comes from carbs fuel your motor and fuel your brain and muscles. At the same time, it has low sodium content and is cholesterol-free.
- Bacon – This crowd favorite is a good source of protein as well as B Vitamins. Additionally, it contains a fair amount of minerals, such as iron, magnesium, zinc, and potassium.
- Button Mushrooms – These are rich in B vitamins and selenium, which helps strengthen your immune system and prevent cellular and tissue damage.
- Butter – Excuse its high fat and calorie content as this one’s an excellent source of vitamin A, that improves skin health, immunity, and vision.
- All-purpose cream – Since this is a milk by-product, it has calcium, vitamin A, riboflavin, and phosphorus.
- Cheese – This contains a high amount of calcium, fat, protein, vitamin A and B-12. When made from milk of grass-fed animals, it becomes a good source of omega-3 and vitamin K-2.
- Bell pepper – This is packed with vitamin A, vitamin C, potassium, fiber, folate, and iron.
- Onions – These wonder bulbs have antioxidants that combat inflammation and reduce cholesterol hence lower your risk of heart disease. It can also reduce high blood pressure and prevent blood clots due to its high anti-inflammatory properties.
- Garlic – This wonder aromatic aids inflammation and more normalized blood flow.
Tips: How To Cook The Carbonara Pasta
It is necessary to follow the package instruction for a fail-free pasta turnout. To prepare the pasta, you will need a large casserole of water with oil and salt. Put the pasta when the water finally boils, then stir and let it cook for 3 – 5 minutes.
To supplement the cooking instructions, here are six fail-proof ways to cook these recipes:
- Use about 4 quarts of water for every 1 lb. of pasta
- Never forget to salt the water
- Do not break the pasta! It will only take 30 seconds for your pasta to soften up and all sink in the pot.
- Stir the pasta well using tongs to avoid the noodles from sticking to the pot.
- Do not hesitate to taste the pasta. For about 5 minutes before the end of the cooking duration, test if the pasta is already al dente (sticks to the tooth, chewy).
- Just because it’s already cooked doesn’t mean you can leave it for good. Drain pasta immediately, and be sure to add the sauce right away.
Best Served with
Our recipe makes a very reliable go-to recipes, thus creates a suitable companion to any recipes of any kind. From a long list, we cut your options into three recipes that are perfect with our star pasta recipes.
- Fried Chicken – No matter how fast-food restaurants have made pasta-fried chicken tandem so overrated, they never go out of style! The simplicity of the pasta goes well with the salty and crunchy fried chicken.
- Lumpiang Shanghai – Thinking about what to serve with your creamy pasta for the next family dinner? These spring rolls will never disappoint. The minced vegetables and meaty goodness of these mini bites make a great side companion to our featured recipes.
- Garlic bread – Well yes, it is the official pasta bread. The nutty taste of garlic bread is suitable for the creaminess of the recipes.
- Sunny-side up bread – This filling toast plus creamy pasta is equal to the best brunch item ever! Take note to pair this one with a cream-based sauce as you don’t want to be fed up with eggs.
Home cooking is the new IN (literally and figuratively)! Thus, learning how to cook is truly a major life skill. So when get-togethers or celebrations will be coming up and when you just feel like having this comfort food by yourself, at least you now know to make the best carbonara on your own!
For more delicious recipe, visit Eat Like Pinoy!
Best Carbonara Recipe
- 1 lb Pasta ribbon
- 1/2 cup Ham diced
- 1/2 cup Bacon diced
- 1/2 cup Butter
- 1 cup Nestle cream
- 1/2 cup Mushroom botton sliced thinly
- 1 pc Onion minced
- 4 cloves Garlic minced
- 1/2 tsp Ground black pepper
- 1/2 tsp Salt to taste
- 1 tbsp Cooking oil
- 8 cups Water for pasta
- 1 pc Green bell pepper diced
- 1 cup Cream of mushroom
- 1 cup Grated cheese
- In a casserole, combine water, oil and salt then bring to a boil.
- Then put-in the pasta and stir occasionally, and cook for 3-5 minutes. Set aside.Note: Or check the packaging for pasta cooking instruction.
- In another pan, melt the butter and fry the bacon until lightly brown. Then remove the bacon from the pan and set aside.
- Put-in the garlic and onion, saute until brown. Then add the ham and fried bacon. Stir well.
- Then season with black pepper and salt. Add the mushroom and cook for about 3-5 minutes.
- Add the nestle cream, chicken broth and cream of mushroom and bring it to a boil.
- Put-in the cooked pasta and bell pepper. Stir well.
- Then add the grated cheese and simmer for about 5 minutes over low medium heat.
- Transfer into a serving plate. Share and enjoy!