This easy recipe for lemon pasta carbonara brings the bright sparkling taste of citrus to this comfort food favorite. Bacon and lemon harmony!
Two of the very favorite things in my kitchen are bacon and lemons – I am never without both of these. So I’m not sure why it took me so long to realize that the salty bacon and the tart taste of lemon would be heavenly together, but luckily I finally did…and in the form of the Southern husband’s all-time favorite pasta dish: the classic pasta carbonara. He is not a big pasta fan (I KNOW. MYSTERIOUS.) but he always makes an exception for silky, cheesy carbonara, and I’m happy to tell you that he gave this lemony version two Southern thumbs up.
Ready to give your pasta some lemony sass? Let’s make it!
There just something so cheery about lemons. I buy them by the bag full and use them as centerpieces as well as ingredients.
Which is extra convenient when the spirit moves me to make a lemon something. Lemon chicken pasta. Lemon shrimp with zoodles. Etcetera. So when the lemon pasta carbonara lightbulb went off in my head I was all set.
This recipe starts (as all great carbonara recipes do) with great bacon, and for me great bacon means Oscar’s. We pick it up on the way to and from Vermont, and if we run out in between thankfully Oscar’s has a great website that you can order from. This has been a bacon PSA.
Cook up that bacon while your pasta is cooking to tender perfection, and then saute some chopped shallots and garlic in the drippings. Before you drain the pasta, scoop out a cup of pasta water. It will have a salty, silky taste that is going to turn into a lovely sauce a few minutes from now.
All that’s left to do now is to toss the pasta and lemon juice and lemon zest with some cheese and that pasta water until everything is a delectable conglomeration of carbonara wonderfulness. Add the bacon and just a little bit of butter and you are officially in lemon pasta carbonara heaven.
That sound you just heard was the Southern husband sighing in happy carbonara anticipation. And we all lived happily ever after!Print
- 4 slices thick cut bacon, cut into pieces
- 2 shallots, chopped
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 12 ounces fettuccine pasta
- 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
- 2 egg yolks
- Zest from 1/2 lemon and peel from the other half
- 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon butter
- Cook bacon in a heavy deep skillet until crispy. Remove and drain on paper towels, leaving drippings in skillet.
- Add shallots and garlic to skillet and cook over medium heat until tender, about 3 minutes.
- Meanwhile, cook pasta according to package directions and drain, saving a cup of the pasta water right before draining.
- Pour pasta into skillet along with about half the pasta water and 1/3 cup of the parmesan cheese. Toss over low heat until everything is well mixed.
- Add the egg to the pasta mixture and toss again. Add the lemon zest and juice and the rest of the cheese and toss again. Drizzle in a little more pasta water if needed to make a light sauce.
- Add the bacon, the butter and a grinding of pepper, and toss again. Divide among warmed plates. Garnish with lemon peel and serve!
Hi there! I’m Kate, and I’m a recipe writer, food photographer and devoted bacon lover. I started Framed Cooks in 2009, and my mission is to create and share family-friendly recipes that make cooking both easy and fun…yes, I said FUN! My kitchen is my happy place, and I want yours to be that place too. Let’s cook together!