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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:
Creamy & Classic
These two takes are carbonara recipes at their most typical. Follow these to master the technique and make sure you’ve got the simple ones down before you start swerving.
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.
Different but Delicious
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.