Orecchiette Carbonara

Orecchiette Carbonara

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  • Prep Time


  • Total Time


  • Servings



  • 6

    slices high-quality, thick-cut bacon

  • 2

    medium leeks, white + pale green parts only, halved lengthwise and cut crosswise into ⅓-inch pieces

  • 2

    garlic cloves, minced

  • 1

    cup frozen peas, thawed

  • 10

    oz orecchiette pasta or small shells

  • 2

    large, high-quality egg yolks, room temperature

  • ¼

    cup heavy cream

  • ½

    cup freshly grated parmesan cheese

  • 1

    tbsp fresh parsley


Cook bacon until crisp. We like to cook our bacon in the oven at 400° for about 15 minutes on a rimmed baking sheet, but cooking it in a skillet on the stove top is fine, too. Transfer the cooked bacon to a paper towel to drain, and set aside. Reserve 2 tbsp of the bacon fat, keeping it in the skillet or pouring it from the baking pan into a skillet. Once the bacon is cool, break it into small pieces. Add the leeks and garlic to the skillet with the bacon fat, and saute' over medium heat until tender, about 6 minutes. Add the peas and stir to heat evenly. Set aside. Meanwhile, cook pasta in a large pot of boiling salted water until just tender, about 8 minutes. Drain pasta, reserving 1/2 cup of the pasta cooking water. Whisk the egg yolks, parmesan, and cream together in a medium bowl. Gradually add 1/4 cup of the pasta cooking water. Add the pasta to the leeks and stir to mix over medium heat, just until all is heated through and the leeks are just starting to sizzle again. Remove the skillet from the heat and pour egg mixture over pasta. Stir until the sauce is just creamy and eggs are no longer raw, about 2 minutes. You can return the skillet to very low heat if the egg mixture is still runny, but be careful not to overcook. If the pasta needs to be moistened, you can add some of the reserved pasta cooking water back to the pan. Stir in the bacon and parsley, blending well. Serve with additional cheese and freshly ground black pepper.


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