Prep Time: 10 mins
Cook Time: 15 mins
Mushroom carbonara adds a perfect bite of umami-filled mushrooms to this already rich, classic spaghetti dish. The egg based sauce is so simple and luxurious and it sticks to the noodles just as much as it sticks to your ribs.
At it's heart, carbonara is only egg, guanciale (or pancetta), and pecorino, straightforward and delicious. Add the mushrooms, a bit of garlic, and an absurd amount of cracked pepper and this dish starts to sing.
I recommend using very high quality eggs because they make up the majority of sauce. Some cooks will add extra yolks but I don't think it needs it, plus I always find myself with a container of egg white that I never use then. Feel free to experiment with some fancy wild mushrooms if you want, but again, I don't think it needs it.
I like to eat it with a green salad on the side to combat the richness.
- 8 oz spaghetti
- 2 cloves garlic, (minced)
- ¼ cup guanciale, (or pancetta, chopped into small bits)
- 1 cup crimini mushrooms, (or wild mushroom, thinly sliced)
- 2 large egg
- ½ cup pecorino, (or parmesan, grated)
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 2 tbsp butter
- generous amounts of cracked pepper
- salt, (to taste)
Beating the eggs with the hot pasta water is technique called tempering and is essential so the eggs don't scramble when they hit the pan.
- Bring a large saucepan of water to boil and add about ¼ cup of kosher salt. Add the dried spaghetti and simmer for 7 minutes or 1-2 minutes LESS than what the package recommends. Stir often.
- While the pasta is cooking, heat a large fry pan over medium-high heat and add the olive oil, garlic, and guanciale and fry for about 3-4 minutes until the guanciale is crispy and the garlic is lightly browned. Then, add the mushrooms and continue cooking for another 3-4 minutes until the mushrooms start to brown.
- After the pasta is done cooking, using tongs, transfer it to the fry pan with the mushrooms and reserve the pasta water. Turn the heat to medium-low, add a splash of pasta water and gently mix the spaghetti and mushroom mixture together.
- In a separate bowl, lightly beat the egg with ½ cup of pasta water. Move the pan to a cold burner and slowly stir in the egg into the pasta. Then, put the pan back on the burner and gently stir together until the egg begins to thicken, adjusting the heat so the egg doesn't scramble.
- Add the butter, pecorino, and a good layer of cracked pepper and continue to cook the spaghetti for another 1-2 minutes, adding a splash of pasta water if the mixture is thickening too fast.
- Serve the pasta immediately in individual serving bowls, topping with more cracked pepper and a sprinkle of salt if needed.