Try this pappardelle carbonara mixed with with some fresh arugula for a quick dinner that is far from ordinary.
For the legendary classic version, try our always-popular Spaghetti Carbonara!
As much as I love to cook and hanging out in the kitchen is one of my winding down times, I can’t imagine how I would survive without super speedy recipes that come together in 10-15 minutes. Pasta carbonara is one of those recipes.
I learned making it from my friend Angela who is 100% Italian and proud. The main lesson I learned from her about Italian cooking is that the key to mastering Italian dishes is improvisation and simplicity.
Making proper pasta carbonara requires both of those. It’s a dish that is thrown together with when fridge content is scarce. Cheap and easy to cook, with no rigid formula to follow, made special with a bit of creative flair!
So in the spirit of Italian cooking philosophy I present you this somewhat improvised recipe.
Ideas for pasta dinner
This is how it came together. I had a lot of egg-wash sitting around after making sausage rolls and didn’t want to send it down the drain.
Also sitting in my fridge were four fresh lasagna sheets. It’s tough to make lasagna from four sheets, but that doesn’t mean it needs to go to waste.
I decided to cut the lasagna into strips roughly the size of pappardelle. With the egg whites, some pancetta and parmesan cheese and arugula (rocket in the UK) I had on hand, I had everything I needed for a delicious version of carbonara!
That’s another reason why easy recipes like carbonara that use only a few ingredients can be so important to master. Because they are unfussy, they serve as a great base to a bit of spontaneity.
By starting with the base of traditional carbonara, you can play around with it as much as you want. Using carbonara as a foundation, you can experiment with different shapes of pasta, or add other ingredients. The only limit is your creativity!
Recipe tips and tricks
- Fresh pasta only needs 2 minutes to cook so the whole dish can easily be made 10 minutes. If you decide to use dried pasta, cook according to package instructions.
- Make sure the boiling water is well salted. It is important to ensure that the cooked pasta is infused with salt for a much better taste.
- Use reserved pasta water to add extra creaminess to the dish.
- True carbonara relies on eggs, not heavy cream, for its smooth and luscious sauce. This means it tastes a great deal lighter than a restaurant version.
- The trick to not curdling the eggs and turning everything into pasta with scrambled eggs is to mix in the beaten egg off the heat. What you end up with is nothing short of heavenly.
- Fresh spinach can be used in place of arugula/rocket.
More quick pasta recipes:
Fresh Pappardelle Carbonara with Arugula
- 200 g / 7oz pappardelle or any other pasta fresh or dry
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 50 g / ¼ cup pancetta or cubed bacon
- 1 tbsp single cream/half and half
- 1 egg
- 20 g / 1 cup arugula/rocket
- Salt to taste
- 2-3 tbsp parmesan cheese grated
- Cook the pasta in a pot of boiling and salted water according to package directions.
- Meanwhile, fry the pancetta, add arugula to it in the last minute just to wilt it. Set aside. In a bowl, beat an egg with a fork and add grated parmesan to it, mix together.
- Drain the pasta, reserving ½ cup of water and add pasta to the pan with pancetta and arugula. Mix everything over low heat with a spoonful of cream and a pinch of salt just to coat.
- Take your pasta off the heat and mix in the egg and cheese mixture tossing the pasta gently, add a splash of reserved water to keep things slightly runny but it shouldn't be swimming in sauce. Serve with more freshly grated parmesan cheese.