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Chicken Carbonara: Creamy Italian Pasta

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Chicken Carbonara: Creamy Italian Pasta


Chicken Carbonara is a mouthwatering Italian pasta dish that combines the richness of cream, the saltiness of bacon, the sharpness of Pecorino Romano cheese, and tender chunks of chicken to create a delightful flavor explosion. This creamy and comforting dish is a favorite among pasta lovers, and its simple yet exquisite taste has made it a classic in Italian cuisine.

What is Chicken Carbonara?

Chicken Carbonara is a variation of the traditional Italian Carbonara, a pasta dish originally made with guanciale (cured pork jowl), Pecorino Romano cheese, eggs, and black pepper. The chicken version adds succulent pieces of chicken to the mix, making it heartier and perfect for those who prefer poultry over pork. The dish is known for its luscious creamy sauce that coats the pasta beautifully.

The Origins of Carbonara

The exact origins of Carbonara are somewhat mysterious, with several popular legends surrounding its creation. One theory suggests that the dish was created by charcoal workers (carbonate) in the Apennine Mountains. They would cook the pasta on their makeshift grills and toss it with eggs, cheese, and guanciale, creating a simple yet satisfying meal to sustain them during long hours of work.

Ingredients Required

To prepare a scrumptious Chicken Carbonara, you will need the following ingredients:

  • 12 ounces of spaghetti or fettuccine
  • 2 cups of boneless, skinless chicken breast (cooked and diced)
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 cup of grated Pecorino Romano cheese
  • 1 cup of heavy cream
  • 4 cloves of garlic (minced)
  • 1 cup of diced bacon or pancetta
  • Salt and black pepper to taste
  • Fresh parsley for garnish

Cooking Equipment Needed

Before diving into the cooking process, ensure you have the following equipment ready:

  • Large pot for boiling pasta
  • Mixing bowls
  • Whisk
  • Large skillet or frying pan
  • Tongs
  • Wooden spoon

Step-by-Step Cooking Instructions

Preparing the Ingredients

Gather all the required ingredients and prepare them before starting the cooking process. Cook the chicken breast until tender and dice it into bite-sized pieces. Grate the Pecorino Romano cheese and mince the garlic. Beat the eggs in a mixing bowl and add the grated cheese, cream, minced garlic, salt, and black pepper. Whisk the mixture until well combined.

Cooking the Pasta

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the spaghetti or fettuccine and cook according to the package instructions until al dente. Drain the pasta, reserving some pasta water, and set it aside.

Making the Carbonara Sauce

In a large skillet or frying pan, cook the diced bacon or pancetta over medium heat until crispy. Remove the cooked bacon and set it aside, leaving the rendered fat in the pan. Reduce the heat to low, add the cooked pasta to the skillet, and toss it in the bacon fat to coat evenly.

Combining the Chicken and Sauce

Pour the egg and cheese mixture over the pasta and quickly toss to coat the strands thoroughly. The heat from the pasta will cook the eggs, creating a luscious creamy sauce. Add the cooked chicken and crispy bacon to the pasta, gently mixing everything together.

Serving and Garnishing

Divide the Chicken Carbonara into individual plates and garnish with fresh parsley. Grind some black pepper on top for an extra kick. Serve immediately and enjoy this delightful Italian delicacy.

Tips for the Perfect Chicken Carbonara

  • Use fresh and high-quality ingredients for the best results.
  • Reserve some pasta water before draining the pasta; you might need it to adjust the sauce’s consistency.
  • Toss the pasta quickly with the sauce to avoid scrambling the eggs.
  • Experiment with different types of pasta, such as penne or rigatoni, for a unique twist on the classic dish.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

  1. Can I use bacon instead of pancetta in Chicken Carbonara? Yes, you can use bacon as a substitute for pancetta. It will still add a delightful smoky flavor to the dish.
  2. Is Chicken Carbonara a traditional Italian recipe? While the original Carbonara recipe does not include chicken, the chicken variation has become popular worldwide.
  3. Can I use parmesan cheese instead of Pecorino Romano? Pecorino Romano cheese is traditional for Carbonara, but you can use parmesan if you can’t find Pecorino Romano.
  4. Can I add vegetables to Chicken Carbonara? While it’s not traditional, you can add some sautéed vegetables like peas or mushrooms for extra texture and flavor.
  5. Is Chicken Carbonara suitable for reheating? Carbonara is best when served immediately. Reheating may cause the eggs to curdle, affecting the creamy consistency.


Chicken Carbonara is an indulgent and satisfying Italian pasta dish that has won the hearts of food enthusiasts worldwide. Its creamy sauce, savory bacon or pancetta, and tender pieces of chicken create a symphony of flavors that are hard to resist. Whether you’re looking to impress guests or simply craving comfort food, this dish is sure to leave you wanting more.

So why wait? Gather the ingredients, follow our step-by-step guide, and treat yourself to a homemade Chicken Carbonara that will transport your taste buds to Italy!

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