Shrimp carbonara is a delectable dish boasting salty pancetta, toothsome pasta and tender shrimp draped in an elegant but incredibly easy-to-make sauce of Parmesan and eggs. You can get this sumptuous Italian dish on the table in 30 minutes or less — equally great for a special occasion that calls for a splurge or a busy weeknight when comfort food is in order.
Pasta carbonara is a welcome upscale change from the usual tomato-based sauces served with pasta. In this dinner recipe, the carbonara sauce is a silky blend of eggs and cheese that clings to the fettuccine and shrimp, all punctuated with the flavors of pancetta, garlic, and herbs.
If you’ve never made shrimp carbonara, you’re going to be thrilled at how fast and easy it comes together. Use the time while your pasta is cooking to prepare the other ingredients.
When it all comes together, you can just watch the sauce wrap itself around the other ingredients to know that this is going to be good. (Tip: Add reserved pasta water a tablespoon at a time to make it even more creamy!). Just season and garnish and dinner is served.
Available in rolls at butcher and deli counters, pancetta is usually sliced razor-thin for customers. If you want thicker slices, just let the butcher know when you order. (Bacon may also be substituted.)
When cooking with pancetta or bacon, you won’t need to add as much salt to your recipes. It’s best to taste and season with salt after the dish is cooked.
Serves 4 servings
- 8 rounds pancetta, diced
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 12 ounces fettuccine
- 1 pound large shrimp, raw, thawed, peeled, tails and veins removed
- 2 tablespoons fresh basil, cut into chiffonade
- 1 tablespoon dried oregano
- 3 eggs, beaten
- 3/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan, plus more for garnish
- 1/3 cup freshly chopped parsley, plus more for garnish
- 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
- 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
- In large skillet over medium heat, cook pancetta 3 minutes.
- Add garlic and cook until pancetta is crispy, 2 to 3 minutes more.
- Transfer to small bowl. Drain and discard about half of fat from skillet.
- In large stockpot of salted boiling water, cook pasta according to package directions until al dente.
- Drain, reserving 1/2 cup pasta water, and return fettuccine to pot.
- Add shrimp to skillet and increase heat to medium-high. Add basil, oregano, salt and pepper.
- Continue to cook, tossing shrimp over until cooked through and shrimp turns pink.
- Reduce heat to low and return pancetta/garlic mixture to skillet.
- Add cooked pasta and toss until well combined.
- In small bowl, beat together eggs, Parmesan cheese and parsley. Season with salt and pepper.
- Pour egg mixture over pasta and toss until coated.
- Add a couple tablespoons pasta water until creamy. (Add more pasta water by tablespoons as necessary.)
- Garnish with extra Parmesan and parsley.
- Serve immediately.
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