Lighter Lemony Carbonara Pasta


Lighter Lemony Carbonara Pasta

Makes 2 hearty portions


  • 3oz (169g) uncooked spaghetti noodles

  • 2oz (56g) shredded parmesan

  • 4 tbs (28g) bacon crumbles

  • 4 tbs chopped fresh parsley

  • 1/2 tbs extra virgin olive oil

  • juice from 1/2 lemon

  • zest from 1/2 lemon

  • 1 large egg

  • 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes (optional)

  • salt

  • pepper


  1. Add 5 cups of water to a large skillet and bring to a boil. Once boiling, add 1/2 tbs salt and pasta. Once pasta has been cooked to al dente, reserve 1/2 cup cooking water, drain pasta, and set aside.

  2. While pasta is cooking, add parmesan, egg, 2tbs parsley, lemon juice, and 1 tsp lemon zest to a bowl. Mix well.

  3. Heat same skillet over medium and add bacon crumbles and olive oil. Cook crumbles until they are heated through and the fat has melted.

  4. Turn off heat and remove the skillet from the burner. Toss noodles with the bacon and oil mixture until well coated.

  5. Add cheesy egg mixture, 1/4 c cooking water, and stir well. Continue stirring, alternating between the off burner and off the heat until the sauce becomes creamy and the egg is cooked. It should have a thick creamy consistency with no traces of raw egg. If the sauce seems too thick, add some of the leftover pasta water, a little at a time, until desired consistency is reached.

  6. Once the sauce is cooked, add a generous amount of pepper and some salt to taste. If you like it spicy, add the 1/2 tsp of red pepper flakes and stir well. Garnish with chopped parsley and more lemon zest if you like it very lemony (like me!).


  • My preferred pasta for this recipe is bucatini, the noodles are very thick and hold up to the heavy sauce well. I would not recommend a lighter pasta like angel hair for this.

  • I personally love a lot of lemon in recipes, but not everyone is a big fan (my boyfriend, for instance). For this reason, I recommend erring on the side of less lemon zest in the main dish and adding it later as a garnish so people can adjust the level of citrus.

  • My preferred bacon crumbles are Kirkland brand from Costco. They’re very chunky and do not resemble the often sandy texture of most bacon bits. If the Kirkland ones aren’t available to you, opt for a chunky crumble or make your own!

Nikki Hancock