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Macaroni Carbonara

This post has been sponsored by Creamette® Pasta. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

There’s not a drop of cream in this recipe and still it’s the creamiest pasta dish ever!

Satisfy the foodies around your holiday table with this sophisticated version of a tried-and-true classic—Macaroni Carbonara!

macaroni carbonara with prosciutto and green peas in a white bowl with freshly ground black pepper, grated cheese, a parsley garnish.

This Italian twist mac and cheese features crispy prosciutto and green peas in a rich and creamy parmesan cheese sauce tossed with Creamette® Elbows. Mac and cheese dishes made with Creamette® cook up just right and are always delicious!

Carbonara is traditionally a decadent pasta sauce made with cured pork, eggs, and cheese, and it’s insanely good. An occasional indulgence with a big bowl of this comforting pasta guarantees your family will linger around the table — and that priceless connection is what it’s all about!

ingredients for preparing macaroni carbonara on a table: creamette elbow macaroni, cubed proscuitto, shredded parmesan cheese, frozen peas, and eggs.

Key ingredients & substitutions for Macaroni Carbonara

  • Creamette® Elbows — Not only does this short pasta cook quickly, it always delivers a hardy helping of hospitality and goodness. Shop Now!
  • Eggs — The key to creamy carbonara is to avoid scrambling the eggs once they hit the hot pan. Don’t worry, it’s really simple if you follow my recipe tips!
  • Parmesan cheese — Use a microplane zester or box grater to finely shred a block of parmesan cheese. Or, use pecorino romano cheese or a combination of the two.
  • Cured pork — Prosciutto, pancetta, or bacon adds savory saltiness to the sauce.
  • Black pepper — A generous grind of fresh black peppercorns balances out the flavors.
  • Frozen peas (optional) — Peas are not found in authentic carbonara, but I like the pop of color and hint of sweetness baby peas add to this dish.
process steps for making carbonara pasta: boil the pasta; saute the prosciutto; add pasta water to the pan; add pasta to the pan.

How to make pasta carbonara

Step 1 | Cook the pasta

Bring a large pot of salted water and a generous tablespoon of kosher salt to a rapid boil over high heat. Stir in the Creamette® pasta and return to a boil. Cook for 7 to 8 minutes, until the pasta is al dente. During the last minute of cooking, add the frozen peas.

STEP 2 | Whisk eggs and cheese together

Meanwhile, crack 4 eggs into a bowl, then add 4 more egg yolks and the shredded cheese. Use a fork or whisk to whip the eggs and cheese until the mixture is emulsified.

STEP 3 | Sauté the prosciutto


Warm a tablespoon of olive oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Add the diced prosciutto and cook until crispy.

STEP 4 | Drain the pasta

Drain the cooked Creamette® pasta, reserving a cup of the pasta water. Ladle some of the reserved pasta water into the hot pan with the prosciutto. Reduce the heat to medium and toss in the cooked pasta, allowing the pasta water to reduce. 

a frying pan with elbow macaroni and emulsified egg yolks and cheese being tossed together with tongs.

STEP 5 | Finish the sauce

Remove the skillet from the heat and add the egg mixture on top of the pasta. Immediately begin to gently toss all the ingredients together until the mixture is creamy, has the consistency of thin custard, and coats the pasta. Add freshly ground black pepper and serve.

Don’t forget to shop Creamette® Elbows 16 oz now!

tips

  • This dish comes together quickly, so it’s important to have all the ingredients ready. Grate the cheese and dice the pork before you boil the pasta.
  • Make sure the bottom of the hot pan is wet with a little pasta water before you incorporate the eggs. If the eggs hit the bottom of the hot pan they will begin to set.
  • The combination of the hot pasta and the residual heat from the pan work together to cook the eggs.

macaroni carbonara in a frying pan on a table with a box of Creamette elbows and shredded parmesan cheese.

Frequently asked questions

How do you reheat leftovers?

As pasta cools it will absorb the sauce, so stir in a little cream or milk to reconstitute the dish and warm on the stove or in the microwave until hot.

What if I end up with bits of scrambled egg in my carbonara sauce?

Whisk another whole egg with some pasta water until smooth, then add it to the pan and toss to smooth out the sauce.

macroni carbonara in an oval white baking dish on a table.

Serving suggestions

Serve macaroni carbonara as the main dish with this fig salad with melon or a simple tossed green salad. Add a loaf of crusty bread and you have a super easy, delicious dinner.

This pasta dish is also a tasty accompaniment to grilled chicken or pan-seared scallops.

Please share!

Your shares are how this site grows and I appreciate each one. Do you know someone who would enjoy this recipe? I’d love it if you would share it on Facebook or on your favorite Pinterest board!

a serving of macaroni carbonara in a white bowl sitting on a colorful plate on a table with the serving dish in the background.
Yield: 8 servings

Macaroni Carbonara

macaroni carbonara with prosciutto and green peas in a white bowl with a parsley garnish.

There's not a drop of cream in this recipe and still it's the creamiest pasta dish ever!

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes

Ingredients

  • Creamette® Elbows 16 oz.
  • 1 cup frozen peas
  • 4 large eggs 
  • 4 large egg yolks
  • 1 cup Parmesan cheese, freshly grated
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 4 oz. prosciutto or pancetta, cubed
  • 2 - 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • freshly ground black pepper

Instructions

  1. In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook the pasta according to package directions until al dente. During the last minute of cooking, add the frozen peas.
  2. Meanwhile, in a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, egg yolks, and parmesan cheese.
  3. In a large deep skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the prosciutto and garlic and cook, stirring frequently until the prosciutto is crisp, 4 to 5 minutes.
  4. Reduce the heat to medium-low. Drain the pasta, reserving a cup of the pasta water. Add the pasta water, then the drained pasta to the skillet, tossing to combine. Cook and stir until some of the pasta water has reduced, but make sure the bottom of the pan is still wet.
  5. Remove the skillet from the heat and immediately pour the egg mixture on top, tossing gently until the mixture is creamy, has the consistency of thin custard, and coats the pasta. Add freshly ground black pepper and serve.

Notes

  • This dish comes together quickly, so it’s important to have all the ingredients ready. Grate the cheese and dice the pork before you boil the pasta.
  • Make sure the bottom of the hot pan is wet with a little pasta water before you incorporate the eggs. If the eggs hit the bottom of the hot pan they will begin to set.
  • The combination of the hot pasta and the residual heat from the pan work together to cook the eggs.
  • If you end up with bits of scrambled egg in the sauce, fix it by whisking another whole egg with some pasta water until smooth, add it to the pan, and toss until the sauce is smoothed out.
  • To reheat leftovers stir in a little cream or milk to reconstitute the dish and warm on the stove or in the microwave until hot.

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

8

Serving Size:

1

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 299Total Fat: 14gSaturated Fat: 5gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 8gCholesterol: 232mgSodium: 1173mgCarbohydrates: 23gFiber: 2gSugar: 1gProtein: 19g

Did you make this recipe?

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sheila thigpen in her kitchen

Sheila @ Life, Love & Good Food

Recipe Developer, Food Photographer, Food Writer

Sheila Thigpen is the publisher of Life, Love, and Good Food — a Southern food blog — and the author of Easy Chicken Cookbook and The 5-Ingredient Fresh and Easy Cookbook. After 20+ years in the publishing industry, she retired in 2018 to focus on her own creative endeavors full time. She and her husband live near the beautiful Smoky Mountains and have a precious little granddaughter who has stolen their hearts. As an influencer, Sheila has collaborated with brands like Creamette, Kroger, HERSHEY’S, Hamilton Beach, Garafalo Pasta, OXO, Smithfield, Valley Fig Growers, and more.

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Amy Nash

Tuesday 12th of October 2021

The peas and pancetta that we used are so good with the perfectly al dente pasta! Love that eggy parmesan "sauce"!

Jennifer Stewart

Sunday 10th of October 2021

I love using the smaller noodle in the carbonara! Makes it much easier to eat and everything is bite-sized!

Kathleen Pope

Wednesday 6th of October 2021

This was so delicious! Loved the flavor combination, the simplicity and how filling it was!

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