I have crispy binagoongan scheduled next on our holiday menu line up but since Pasta Carbonara appears to be very popular during Christmas time based on your comments in this month’s giveaway (have you entered yet?), I decided to post this Filipino-style Pasta Carbonara first. I am sure you’ll be glad I did! Rich, creamy, and loaded with crisp bacon and flavorful mushrooms, it’s a must for Noche Buena!
Like our Filipino-style spaghetti and macaroni salad, pasta carbonara is one dish we’ve adapted from the west to suit our Pinoy tastes. Pasta carbonara in its truest form is made with pancetta, eggs, and Parmesan cheese along with copious amounts of garlic and fresh parsley. Although cured meat such as bacon or ham remains an ingredient, this pasta dish has evolved in our local food scene to include cream sauce and mushrooms.
This Filipino-style pasta carbonara is a quick and easy dish you can pull together in no time. It requires simple enough to make for everyday dinners yet special enough for holiday gatherings. It requires basic pantry ingredients and readies in 30 minutes or less.
Here are a few tips on how to make this pasta dish deliciously every time, anytime:
- Cook the pasta a few minutes less than the package calls for as it will be tossed in the sauce for a few minutes and will continue to cook.
- Bacon, bacon, bacon! Bacon adds much of the flavor in this pasta dish so please don’t skimp! I usually use about two pounds and just love the crisp, smoky bits at every bite!
- Pasta tends to absorb a lot of moisture so go a little heavy on the cream sauce to compensate for the drying out. The sauce will also thicken as it sits so make sure your sauce is a bit thinner in consistency.
- Once you add the heavy cream, cook in a gentle simmer and do not allow to come to a boil to prevent from curdling.
- Please do not skip the nutmeg! It’s not a traditional ingredient in Filipino-style pasta carbonara but it does round up the flavors of the cream sauce beautifully.
- 1 pound uncooked spaghetti
- 2 pounds bacon, chopped
- 1 onion, peeled and chopped
- 3 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
- 1 pound button mushrooms, sliced thinly
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1 tablespoon flour
- 1 cup chicken broth
- 14 ounces all purpose cream
- 2 tablespoons Parmesan cheese and more for serving
- 1 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
- salt and pepper to taste
- ¼ cup fresh parsley, stemmed and chopped
- In a large pot over medium heat, bring about 4 quarts salted water to a aboil. Add spaghetti and cook according to package directions until al dente. Remove from heat and drain well. Keep warm.
- In a wide pan over medium heat, add bacon. Cook, stirring occasionally, until it browns and crisps. With a slotted spoon, remove from heat and drain on paper towels.
- Discard the rendered fat except for about 1 tablespoon. Add onions and garlic and cook until aromatic. Add mushrooms and cook until softened. With a slotted spoon, remove from pan and keep warm.
- Add butter to pan and heat until melted. Add flour and cook, stirring regularly, for about 1 to 2 minutes or until smooth and lightly browned. Slowly add chicken broth, whisking regularly to prevent lumps. Add cream. Lower heat and bring to a simmer. Continue to cook, whisking occasionally, until slightly thickened.Add Parmesan cheese and nutmeg. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Add pasta, bacon and mushroom-onion mixture. Toss to combine until pasta is coated with sauce and heated through. To serve, garnish with fresh parsley and additional Parmesan cheese.