It may sound like a stretch to call this carbonara-inspired pasta "Italian mac and cheese," but hear me out. Carbonara sauce is creamy, cheesy, and eggy, attributes you'll usually find in a bowl of the classic American dish. If the carbonara is made without cured pork and tossed with elbow noodles — as I did here — then can't one call it mac and cheese?
Still have reservations about making it yourself? If you're squeamish about mixing raw egg into the noodles, there's no need to fret! The heat and steam from the pasta will cook the eggs. Just be sure to transfer the pasta into a separate bowl; otherwise, you'll end up with carbonara that has a clotted, scrambled eggy texture.
Work quickly. Make sure the sauce components are ready to combine with the freshly cooked noodles. It's important that the noodles are piping hot, so the egg cooks and the cheese melts.
- 1 pound dry elbow macaroni noodles
1 cup parmigiano-reggiano, grated, plus more for serving
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
Black pepper, freshly ground
1/2 bunch flat-leaf parsley, leaves only, chopped
- Fill a large pot with water. Bring it to a boil, then liberally salt it until it tastes like ocean water. Add pasta and cook according to package instructions, or until al dente. Drain pasta, reserving 1/2 cup of cooking water. Transfer pasta to a large bowl.
- Meanwhile, beat the eggs and parmesan together in a small bowl and set aside. In a sauté pan, heat olive oil over medium, then add garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute.
- To drained pasta, toss in garlic/oil mixture, then pour in egg/cheese mixture, stirring quickly until the eggs thicken and turn opaque. Thin out the sauce with reserved pasta water, 1 tablespoon at a time, if necessary. Season with ground black pepper and salt. Garnish with parsley and more parmesan.
- Pasta, Main Dishes
- Serves 4
- Total Time
- 19 minutes, 59 seconds