What makes a carbonara a carbonara? The classic Italian pasta dish, at its most simple, is a marvelous melding of bacon, egg, and cheese (like my favorite breakfast sandwich but so, so different). The trio comes together to coat pasta with a creamy, sumptuous sauce that warms your belly and sticks to your ribs. It’s supreme comfort food.
Though there’s a method to carbonara madness, that doesn’t mean it’s always prepared the same way. Like any good thing, a carbonara recipe is endlessly customizable. Sub out meat for a vegetable-forward approach, or change up the shape of your pasta. A carbonara is still a carbonara if you will it to be one. Start with this handy guide to a no-recipe rendition, then get to riffing:
The addition of fresh and crunchy vegetables in these two recipes take the carbonara a bit off course and into exciting new territory. Be it ramps or Brussels sprouts, a vegetable-dappled sauce is a welcome alteration.
These takes eschew the traditional ingredients. Instead, they opt for unconventional approaches to the creamy, bacon-laden sauce. One features cauliflower, another mushrooms. Consider this carbonara-ish.
How do you carbonara? Tell us your tips in the comments below.
A New Way to Dinner, co-authored by Food52's founders Amanda Hesser and Merrill Stubbs, is an indispensable playbook for stress-free meal-planning (hint: cook foundational dishes on the weekend and mix and match ‘em through the week).