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Poor Mans “Carbonara”

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Units Scale
  • 8 oz Ziti pasta or any tubular pasta
  • 4 strips of thick-cut bacon, diced
  • 1 large garlic clove, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup finely grated Pecorino Romano cheese, plus more for serving
  • 1 large egg, room temperature
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • Crushed Calabrian chilies, for a spicy kick
  • Kosher salt, for pasta water
  • Reserved pasta water, as needed


  1. Prepare the Pasta: Cook the pasta in a large pot of boiling salted water until al dente. Typically, aim for 1 minute less than the package instructions.
  2. Render the Bacon: While the pasta cooks, render the diced bacon in a skillet over medium heat until crispy. Transfer bacon to a paper towel-lined plate, keeping the fat in the skillet.
  3. Sauté Garlic: Reduce heat to low and add chopped garlic to the reserved bacon fat. Cook until just golden and fragrant, ensuring not to burn it.
  4. Mix Egg and Cheese: In a mixing bowl, whisk together the Pecorino Romano cheese and the egg until well combined. Set aside.
  5. Combine Pasta and Bacon: Drain the pasta, reserving a cup of the pasta water. Toss the hot pasta with the crispy bacon and garlic in the skillet. Remove from heat.
  6. Create the Sauce: Pour the pasta mixture into the bowl with the egg and cheese, stirring quickly to prevent the egg from scrambling. Gradually add reserved pasta water to reach a creamy consistency.
  7. Season: Season generously with black pepper and add a pinch of crushed Calabrian chilies to taste.
  8. Serve: Plate the pasta, garnishing with additional Pecorino Romano cheese and a sprinkle of Calabrian chilies if desired.


  • Author: Lucas Krammes
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