Spaghetti Carbonara with Leeks and Pancetta

Spaghetti Carbonara with Leeks and Pancetta
From Cooking Light

This may well be one of the first Cooking Light recipes I ever made.  There’s no way to know for sure, since once upon a time I was a sane person that didn’t chronicle their every cooking move for the general public to enjoy.  But I do know this – it’s from the November 2007 issue, which is shortly after I graduated from college and began my love affair with Cooking Light.  And I distinctly remember making it with my friend Sheila, my premier cooking buddy in those early days.  And I know for a fact that we prepared it in the *lovely* dishwasher-less galley kitchen of my $1300/month apartment in Lincoln Park – ahhh, to be 22 again.  And now that I’m 27 I can say for certain that it’s been made time and time again, because it’s just one of those perfect standby recipes.  It’s got pasta, it’s got salty meat, and it makes your kitchen smell heavenly (perhaps garlic and leeks should be a candle scent).  It’s not nearly as sinful feeling as a restaurant variety carbonara, but it’s every bit as satisfying and half as guild-ridden!


  • 2 eggs
  • 8 oz dry spaghetti (white or whole wheat)
  • 1/2 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 3/4 cup (about 3 oz) pancetta, chopped
  • 2 cups thinly sliced leeks, white and light green parts only
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 cup fresh peas (optional)
  • 2 Tbsp flat leaf parsley, chopped


  1. Crack eggs into a medium bowl.  Whisk together and set aside.
  2. Cook pasta according to package directions.  When pasta is almost done, scoop 1/4 cup cooking water out of the pot and slowly add it to the eggs, whisking constantly.  Stir Parmesan cheese, salt and pepper into the egg mixture.  Set aside.
  3. Drain cooked pasta and set aside.
  4. Cook pancetta in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until crisp.  Remove pancetta from the pan, reserving drippings in the pan, and set aside.
  5. Add leeks to drippings and saute for 3 minutes over medium-high.  Add garlic and peas, if using, and saute 1 minute.  Add pasta, egg sauce and pancetta to pan.  Cook 1 minute, tossing well to combine.
  6. Serve topped with a sprinkle of parsley.

Serves 4.

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One Response to Spaghetti Carbonara with Leeks and Pancetta

  1. Doreen Dodero says:

    I am amazed that at 8:30 in the morning I could eat a big bowl of that. Maybe because of the egg and Italian bacon. Yum

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