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Pesto Spaghetti Carbonara

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1 (16 ounce) package spaghetti
1 (7 to 9 ounce) container basil pesto
2 tablespoons heavy cream
2 eggs
1/4 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
6 strips crisply cooked and crumbled bacon

Pesto Spaghetti Carbonara

Adding spicy pesto and crisp bacon to classic Carbonara creates a fabulous new main dish recipe.

  • Serves 4
  • Easy

About This Recipe

I love pasta. I have always loved pasta and I always will. I don’t care if it’s not trendy or if “low carb” diets hang on for decades. I think it’s delicious, nutritious (if you choose a whole grain version), hearty, satisfying, and wonderful to cook and eat. And it’s so inexpensive! This recipe for Pesto Spaghetti Carbonara is the result of an inspiration.

I have been making Spaghetti Carbonara for years. I first read about the recipe in a Dinah Shore cookbook. It seemed so exotic to me – imagine, beat eggs with cream and cheese and stir into cooked pasta. The heat from the pasta cooks the eggs and you get a fabulous dish in minutes.

So since I have been obsessed with pesto lately, putting it into everything I can think of (like meatballs), I thought – well, why not carbonara? And it was a huge hit. (My favorite brand is Classico.)

You can’t just add cold pesto to the hot spaghetti-egg mixture, though, or the texture won’t be right. So I heated it in a small pan with a little heavy cream, and swirled it through the spaghetti after the egg mixture was added.


This recipe for Pesto Spaghetti Carbonara is now on my permanent rotation. I think you’ll love it too!

Why this recipe for Pesto Spaghetti Carbonara works:

  • Spaghetti carbonara itself is a very simple recipe. Like all cooking recipes, you can add just about any ingredient to the pasta that you’d like. Just make sure it’s not refrigerator-cold.
  • Choose a good pesto from the supermarket for this recipe. You can find the shelf stable version in the pasta aisle, or look for the refrigerated version in the cheese or dairy aisle.
  • The hot pasta cooks the egg mixture so it turns into  custard.
  • You could add cooked shrimp, some heated meatballs, chopped cooked chicken, or ham to this recipe and it would be delicious.

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Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the spaghetti and cook until just al dente, according to package directions.


While the pasta cooks, combine the pesto and 2 tablespoons cream in a small saucepan. Heat over low heat, stirring occasionally, until the pesto mixture is warm.


Then, beat the eggs, 1/4 cup cream, and 1/4 cup of the Parmesan cheese in a small bowl.


Drain the pasta when it is cooked, saving about 1/4 cup of the pasta cooking water. Immediately return the pasta to the hot pot.


Add the egg mixture to the pasta and toss with tongs until the spaghetti is coated. Then stir in the bacon and the pesto mixture.


Keep tossing with the tongs until everything is combined, adding some of the reserved pasta cooking water if you think it needs it. Serve immediately (I mean it!) with the rest of the Parmesan cheese.


Linda is a bestselling cookbook author and home economist who has written 54 books (53 cookbooks and Medical Ethics for Dummies) since 2005. She has worked for Pillsbury since 1988, on the Bake-Off and other projects. Linda has been a web presence since 2002, developing recipes and teaching people how to cook.

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