Breakfast Pasta Carbonara

spaghetti carbonara for breakfast in a skillet

My Breakfast Pasta Carbonara recipe with smoked bacon, eggs, Parmesan and a handful of fresh parsley is an irresistible skillet pasta. It’s a comforting late night snack or lazy weekend breakfast (and it’s our favorite from the pantry dinner, too.)

tossing pasta with tongs

spaghetti carbonara for breakfast ~ who knew?

Roman pasta carbonara is a mid-century invention that has since taken on cult status. This extraordinarily comforting pasta is made with eggs, cheese, cured pork and pepper but morphs into something far more delicious than you’d imagine from its humble ingredients. It’s one of those basic recipes that everybody needs to know.

But pasta for breakfast? Why not, it’s the most important meal of the day. And I’ve always been a real food for breakfast kind of girl. Forget boxed cereal and smoothies, I’d rather have leftover pizza. Or a big bowl of pasta.

the essentials for breakfast carbonara

  • pasta ~ in this case I recommend spaghetti. The way the silky sauce clings to all those strands is a thing of beauty. Angel hair will be too mushy, and fettuccine too thick. Spaghetti is perfect.
  • bacon ~ traditionally Italians use guanciale (cured pork jowl) or pancetta (cured pork belly.) Thick cut bacon is a readily available substitute. You could also use ham.
  • eggs ~ room temperature eggs make the silkiest sauce. True carbonara will use a combination of egg and additional egg yolks, but for breakfast carbonara we’re going with whole eggs.
  • cheese ~ an aged Italian cheese like parm, pecorino romano, grana padano, whatever you’ve got in the fridge.
  • parsley ~ fresh parsley really brightens the dish.
  • lots of fresh cracked pepper
  • garlic ~ not traditional but you can add it if you like.

breakfast pasta carbonara in a cast iron skillet

the pasta carbonara method

  1. Cook spaghetti in salted water until al dente. In this case you want the water to be starchy, so you don’t need gallons of water to start with.
  2. Meanwhile cook bacon in a skillet until crisp. Add some crushed garlic toward the end, if you’re using it.
  3. Beat eggs in a bowl and add the cheese and pepper.
  4. Add hot pasta to the skillet and toss rapidly while slowly adding the egg mixture, using a little reserved pasta water as necessary to create a silky sauce. 

In traditional carbonara the aim is to cook the eggs into a creamy sauce, but for breakfast carbonara you can afford to let then ‘scramble’ a bit, no shame there.

a skillet of breakfast pasta with orange juice

you also ask…

  • are the eggs in carbonara raw?

The eggs in this dish get ‘cooked’ from the heat of the water, the pasta, and the pan, even when it is off the direct heat. If you’re unsure you can put the pan back on the heat while you toss. This may slightly scramble the eggs, but the dish will still be delicious. You can also use pasteurized eggs for peace of mind. Note: don’t confuse pasteurized eggs for pasture raised eggs! Pasteurized eggs have simply been heat treated to destroy harmful bacteria, but otherwise function like normal raw eggs. Look for them next to the regular eggs in your supermarket.

  • what’s the best cheese for carbonara?

Pecorino Romano, an Italian sheep’s milk cheese, is traditional, but other aged Italian cheeses are fine. I like to grate the cheese (not shred) so it will melt in quickly.

  • does carbonara have cream in it?

It’s hard to believe that such a creamy pasta contains no cream. The ‘creaminess’ comes from the eggs and starchy pasta water that emulsify into a glossy sauce as they are tossed briskly with the hot pasta. No need for cream.

 

tossing pasta with tongs

I adore my Lodge cast iron skillet and it’s the perfect tool for this job. The thick cast iron hold the heat well while you create that special sauce. You can serve straight from the skillet for a rustic presentation.

Print
3.77 from 30 votes

Breakfast Pasta

Breakfast Pasta ~ it's modeled after pasta carbonara, but with a heavier emphasis on the meat and eggs.  I used the ever present leftover ham, and a few slices of apple wood smoked bacon for this magical skillet pasta!
Course Breakfast
Cuisine American
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
Yield 4 servings
Calories 506kcal
Author Sue Moran

Ingredients

  • 3/4 lb thin spaghetti
  • 8 slices thick cut smoked bacon
  • olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced (optional)
  • 4 large eggs, beaten
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese, or more to taste
  • extra large handful chopped parsley
  • salt and coarse ground fresh pepper to taste

Instructions

  • Cook the pasta in well salted water until just al dente.
  • Meanwhile, cook the bacon in a large skillet until it's crisp. Add garlic if you are using, and sauté briefly. Add a little olive oil if the bacon didn't render much fat.
    cooking bacon in a skillet
  • In a small bowl, mix the cheese into the beaten eggs, and grind some black pepper in as well.
    cheese and eggs in a small bowl
  • When the pasta is ready, drain and reserve 1 cup of the cooking liquid.
  • Add the hot pasta to the skillet and toss, along with the egg and cheese mixture, and parsley. Continue tossing, off the heat, adding a little of the reserved pasta water, until the eggs are cooked and the sauce is silky and thick. Add more pepper to taste. Note: you can put the pan back over medium heat while you toss if you feel you need to cook the eggs a litte more. Just be sure to keep tossing constantly.
    spaghetti carbonara for breakfast in a skillet
  • Serve with extra parsley and cheese as garnish.
    breakfast pasta in a bowl with fork

Nutrition

Calories: 506kcal | Carbohydrates: 65g | Protein: 26g | Fat: 15g | Saturated Fat: 7g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 188mg | Sodium: 453mg | Potassium: 288mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 3g | Vitamin A: 454IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 322mg | Iron: 2mg
The nutritional information for recipes on this site is provided as a courtesy and although theviewfromgreatisland.com tries to provide accurate nutritional information, these figures are only estimates.

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37 Comments

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  • Reply
    Joan
    February 28, 2021 at 9:36 am

    I can never Pin your recipes, wish I could.

    • Reply
      Sue Moran
      February 28, 2021 at 10:15 am

      What’s the problem Joan? I’ll try to help. Do you mean pin the actual recipe, or images?

  • Reply
    Lydia
    February 27, 2021 at 10:25 am

    I am so going to try this – maybe tomorrow for Sunday brunch!

  • Reply
    Rachel
    February 27, 2021 at 9:04 am

    5 stars
    Pasta for breakfast? Sign me up! This might be my new favorite breakfast!

  • Reply
    Dannii
    February 27, 2021 at 8:31 am

    5 stars
    I am so down with pasta for breakfast, and carbonara is my favourite.

  • Reply
    Gail Montero Raines
    February 27, 2021 at 7:54 am

    5 stars
    I am all about pasta for breakfast and this is totally fabulous! So creamy-licious, love this!

  • Reply
    Biana
    February 27, 2021 at 7:30 am

    5 stars
    Omg, this is a game changer! I love carbonara for dinner, but I bet it’s amazing for breakfast as well.

  • Reply
    Jen
    February 27, 2021 at 7:02 am

    5 stars
    My kids don’t really like traditional breakfast food so this is perfect! I can see us all fighting over the leftovers for lunch…if there are any.

    • Reply
      Sue Moran
      February 27, 2021 at 7:59 am

      This is a kid pleaser if there ever was one!

  • Reply
    Alicia
    February 27, 2021 at 6:47 am

    5 stars
    I love carbonara! Sometimes I add 1 cup of thawed peas because the hubby likes them. I like to make enough to warm up for lunch the next day. But I’ve never made it for breakfast. That will have to change!

    • Reply
      Sue Moran
      February 27, 2021 at 6:49 am

      Yes, we often add peas, but that definitely upsets the purists!

  • Reply
    GeorgeW
    December 26, 2019 at 4:56 pm

    5 stars
    We tried this with our leftover ham and it was incredible! We have a new post holiday tradition in our house, thanks Sue!!

  • Reply
    Donna Lendach
    November 1, 2018 at 2:47 pm

    This would make a great lunch, along with a green salad. I can’t wait to try it!

    • Reply
      Sue
      November 1, 2018 at 4:19 pm

      I love this any time of the day, it’s addictive!

  • Reply
    Radina
    September 24, 2013 at 7:09 am

    Hi Sue, this is my first time visiting your blog, and I can’t wait to try out this recipe. Just out of curiosity, is the restaurant you mention 17th Street Cafe, in L.A.? They make a delicious breakfast pasta like this, and I have been dying to try out a recipe similar to theirs (which is why I am so excited to make your pasta!). Just curious. Thank you for sharing the deliciousness!

    • Reply
      Sue
      September 24, 2013 at 8:05 am

      Hey Radina—no, it was Hugo’s. There’s one in West Hollywood and one in Sherman Oaks, maybe more, I’m not sure. Now you’ve got me curious about the 17th st cafe 🙂

  • Reply
    honeyandlimes
    January 11, 2013 at 5:19 pm

    wow.. amazing! bacon makes everything better 🙂 thanks for sharing.

  • Reply
    From Beyond My Kitchen Window
    January 2, 2013 at 1:35 am

    I felt so sad when my daughter left last week. It’s a good thing I didn’t have this pasta to drown my sorrows in. I would have easily eaten the whole skillet. Great recipe.

  • Reply
    grace
    December 31, 2012 at 1:19 pm

    i’m pretty sure i’ve never even considered having pasta for breakfast, much less actually done it! tasty idea, sue!

  • Reply
    Claudia
    December 31, 2012 at 3:35 am

    I have breakfast/lunch/dinner for the week. And guess what? Have all the ingredients. Happy New Year 2013! May it bring all good things.

  • Reply
    bellini
    December 31, 2012 at 9:13 am

    I hope that 2013 brings as many riches as the past year. I have a good ind to start my year off with breakfast pasta fro good luck.

  • Reply
    Susan Lindquist
    December 30, 2012 at 1:20 pm

    Now, THAT’S my idea of a good plate of pasta! And for breakfast? Even better! Breakfast of champions, I say! And I am a bit jealous that you can go out and pick fresh herbs at this time of year! Mine are finally covered with snow!

    Happy New Year, Sue! I look forward to seeing all the delish posts you’ll be putting up in 2013!

  • Reply
    Joy Bee
    December 30, 2012 at 2:02 am

    This is such an interesting idea. I would never think of pasta for breakfast, but this looks amazing. It will be added to my list of ‘must tries’.

  • Reply
    The Café Sucré Farine
    December 30, 2012 at 12:35 am

    Sue, I just love how you always have something unique and delicious at the same time. This sounds wonderful and such a departure from the everyday! Love, love, love it
    1

  • Reply
    Lea Ann (Cooking On The Ranch)
    December 29, 2012 at 7:50 pm

    Love this! Nice presentation in the cast-iron skillet.

  • Reply
    Servia
    December 29, 2012 at 5:58 pm

    I was up early comforting the cats who were terrified by a short bout of thunder. When I opened the post I found myself envious of the warn hearty breakfast (as opposed to my almond butter toast). New Year’s rez will definitely be, “Think and cook like Sue!”

    • Reply
      Sue/the view from great island
      December 29, 2012 at 8:23 pm

      🙂 That thunder was a surprise. They make this at Hugos, I think it was one of the first places we went and the first thing we ordered when me moved here, and it’s still one of my favorites.

      • Reply
        Cathy
        February 27, 2021 at 7:26 am

        5 stars
        I was sick this week and one evening not feeling like cooking, something very similar came to mind. Unfortunately, it was still to much work for a sickie, but soon! I love pasta for breakfast, usually left over like pizza or indian food.

  • Reply
    Sue/the view from great island
    December 29, 2012 at 8:19 pm

    Thanks Lea Ann, I am a late comer to cast-iron, and I’m using it all the time lately.

  • Reply
    Inside a British Mum's Kitchen
    December 29, 2012 at 7:35 pm

    How could I knock this?? it’s perfection! If there’s enough of it, it could be breakfast, lunch and dinner as far as I’m concerned!
    Mary x

    • Reply
      Sue/the view from great island
      December 29, 2012 at 8:20 pm

      It went pretty quick in our house, but I like it for breakfast. Just as filling as oatmeal, but a lot more interesting!

  • Reply
    Nantucket Daffodil
    December 29, 2012 at 5:50 pm

    Drooling…..again. My husband and I have decided we are opening an Inn, and you are officially hired! Ok????

  • Reply
    La Table De Nana
    December 29, 2012 at 5:13 pm

    This is a pasta I love..

    Never thought of it for breakfast..
    I eat lightly..yogurt..flax..chia:)

    But for dinner? Perfect!

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