Roasted asparagus and bacon carbonara is a simple creamy and cheesy classic Italian comfort pasta dish ready in 30 minutes!
This kid-friendly dish is always a crowd-pleaser. It’s creamy without cream and loaded with flavor from the smokey bacon, crispy roasted asparagus, and parmesan cheese. It’s a delicious, quick, and easy budget-friendly pasta carbonara that is perfect any night of the week!
About this Carbonara with Bacon and Asparagus
Whether you’ve had pasta carbonara while traveling around Italy or you’ve had ordered it at an Italian restaurant, it’s one of those dishes you never forget. As fancy as it sounds, and as flavorful as it is, it really is the ultimate simple dish. It’s the perfect answer to the “what am I going to make for dinner?” question we all dread when we are in a pinch! Pasta carbonara comes through with flying colors every time!
This version of carbonara uses fettuccine tossed in a simple parmesan and egg sauce. The heat from the pasta and a bit of the pasta water cook the eggs and melt the parmesan into a creamy cheesy sauce. The bacon and asparagus add amazing flavor and texture to every bite, infusing a salty smoky flavor into this dish.
Why this recipe works
- Quick and easy
- Kids will love it
- Simple ingredients you already have at home
- Comfort food
- Easily serves a fancier crowd
For the Asparagus and Bacon
- Asparagus – cut into 1-inch pieces
- Thick-cut bacon – diced. You can also use pancetta or guanciale. Any cured pork will do.
- Garlic clove – Minced.
- Salt – To taste.
For the Carbonara Sauce
- Fettuccine noodles – Long pasta is traditional. Others such as spaghetti, or linguini work great, but you can really use whichever pasta you have on hand.
- Egg yolks – Keep your egg whites for tomorrow morning. If you prefer to use the whole egg, you can.
- Freshly grated Parmesan cheese – You can also use the Pecorino as well. Freshly grated and not from a package, please!
- Olive oil – Used for the sauce as part of the egg mixture.
- Black pepper – The signature flecks of black are classic in this dish. It also adds a lovely earthy flavor that offsets the creaminess of the sauce.
How to Make this Easy Carbonara Recipe
Roast asparagus, bacon, garlic, and salt on a baking sheet. Toss halfway through cooking until the bacon is brown and asparagus is crisp and slightly tender. Remove from the oven and set aside.
Boil fettuccine noodles and cook for a couple of minutes less than package directions. Reserve a cup of pasta water before straining. Return pasta to pot and keep heat on medium low.
In a small bowl, mix egg yolks, parmesan, olive oil, and black pepper. Add mixture to the pasta, while stirring continuously. When the thick egg mixture has coated the pasta, add in a bit of the reserved pasta water. Add more a tablespoon at a time to reach desired consistency.
Add in bacon and asparagus and toss to coat. Garnish with a little extra grated parmesan and serve immediately.
Variation 1: Although it’s not used in the authentic version of carbonara, you can add a little cream to the sauce and use the whole egg, rather than just the yolk, to make it even creamier.
Variation 2: You can get creative with the add-ins. Try swapping asparagus for cherry tomatoes, or spinach. Add in some chicken along with the bacon for a little extra protein.
- Substitute pancetta or guanciale for bacon if preferred.
- Use Romano or Pecorino cheese instead of Parmesan if you’d like. Or use a combination of a couple of different kinds.
- Use room temperature eggs. Using cold eggs will result in uneven textures in the sauce.
- For a little added heat toss in a few red pepper flakes.
This is where this dish becomes quite flexible! You can really use whatever you have on hand, but veggies that work well are peas, tomatoes, spinach, asparagus, and red bell pepper.
They really are the foundation of the sauce! The yolks combine with the fat from the pork to create a rich smooth texture without having to use cream. The key is to stir constantly and add pasta water bit by bit to help the eggs create a creamy consistency.
You want to make sure you don’t overcook the eggs. You’re using the heat from the pasta and not much more than that. You can either add them to the pasta on low-medium heat or remove the pasta from the heat and then stir in the egg mixture immediately.
Scrambled eggs in your pasta could be due to a few reasons. You want to make sure your eggs are at room temperature before you begin. Also, don’t have the heat too high, and better yet, take the pasta off the heat while you stir.
Speaking of stirring, don’t ever stop! Keep tossing the pasta around while you add in the egg mixture slowly.
For the Asparagus
- 1 bunch asparagus cut into 1 inch pieces
- 3-4 slices thick-cut bacon diced
- 1 garlic clove minced
- ½ teaspoon salt
For the Carbonara Sauce
- 16 ounces fettuccine noodles
- 4 egg yolks
- 1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
- ¼ cup olive oil
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
For the Asparagus and Bacon
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
- Add the asparagus, bacon, garlic, and salt to a baking sheet.
- Roast for 15-20 minutes, tossing halfway through cooking, until the bacon is brown and the asparagus is crisp but slightly tender.
- Remove from oven and set aside.
For the Carbonara
- In a large pot, boil water.
- Add the fettuccine noodles and cook for two minutes less than the package directions.
- Reserve 1 cup of the pasta water before straining into a colander.
- Drain the pasta then return it to the pot.
- Heat on medium-low heat.
- In a small bowl, add the egg yolks, parmesan, olive oil, and black pepper and mix together.
- Add the egg mixture to the pasta and cooking, stirring continuous, until the egg yolks thicken and form a sauce that coats the pasta completely.
- Add ¼-1/3 cup of the reserved pasta water and mix thoroughly. (If the sauce is too thick, add a tablespoon at a time more of the reserved pasta water)
- Once the sauce has reached your desired consistency, add the asparagus and bacon into the pasta and toss to coat.
- Serve immediately.
- Garnish with grated parmesan, if desired