Anchovy Carbonara

Carbonara purists will hate me for this one but, it’s really hard for me to care when the pasta is this delicious! This is the type of recipe that I don’t make very often but when I do, I get super excited for it. It’s rich and indulgent, and the best part? It’s really easy to make.

Traditional carbonara consists of pasta, egg, guanciale (pork jowl), pecorino, and pepper. Using anchovies in place of the guanciale and pecorino in this recipe makes it a bit lighter but keeps that salty flavor. If you’re an anchovy lover like I am, you’ll love this! Instead of black pepper, there’s red pepper flakes and a garnish of fresh parsley to compliment the anchovy. Most of these ingredients you probably already have!

People can be intimidated by carbonara, but like I said, it’s really easy to make! The main thing is the timing. You need to time things correctly to make sure the pasta cooks at the right rate and it’s still hot enough to “cook” the egg. The idea with carbonara is to toss the hot pasta with the raw egg and while the pasta cooks the egg just slightly, it creates a rich, silky sauce. What you don’t want to happen is have the eggs get so hot that they scramble. The trick is to continuously toss the pasta while adding the egg and then, only when necessary to loosen the sauce, add small amounts of pasta water. When the egg has thickened up to create a creamy, silky sauce, you’re ready to serve. Garnish with fresh parsley and grab a fork!

Recipe Summary

  • Name: Anchovy Carbonara
  • Prep Time
    5 Minutes
    Cook Time
    15 Minutes
    Total Time
    20 Minutes
  • Level: Easy
  • Servings: 4
  • Ingredients:
    • 1 Pound bucatini or spaghetti
    • 8 Anchovy fillets (packed in oil and drained)
    • 2 Cloves of garlic, minced
    • 2 Eggs and 1 egg yolk, beaten
    • 3 Tablespoons olive oil
    • 3/4 Teaspoon red pepper flakes
    • Fresh parsley, chopped
  • Instructions:
    1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and cook the pasta to 1 minute less than package instructions.
    2. Beat the eggs and egg yolk in a small bowl.
    3. In a large skillet, heat the olive oil and add the anchovy fillets. Break the anchovies up with the back of a spoon and stir until melted. Add the red pepper flakes and garlic and cook for one minute longer or until the garlic just starts to turn golden around the edges. Remove the pan from heat.
    4. Reserving a cup of the water, drain the pasta and add it to the skillet with the anchovy sauce. Slowly add the beaten eggs to the pasta while it's still very hot, tossing as you pour. Add some pasta water as needed to loosen the sauce.
    5. Garnish with parsley and serve immediately!

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