Quick and Easy Weeknight Dinner: Spaghetti alla Carbonara

By grace.g.yang ยท September 30, 2009
Under: Cheap Eats,Dinner,Italian,My Life,Recipes

The first time I made spaghetti alla carbonara, it was election night. I remember because I was going to watch the election results with some friends but the bar we were going to was too packed so we ended up going back to my apartment. I didn’t plan to have people come over for dinner, so I hadn’t adequately stocked my fridge, but luckily, I had all of the ingredients to make this amazingly simple and delicious dish. I found the recipe from one of my favorite blogs, Zen Can Cook.


1 pound of whole wheat spaghetti (penne also works surprisingly well)
1/2 package Nieman Ranch bacon (purchased at Trader Joe’s)
1 cup Parmesan cheese (purchased at Trader Joe’s)
2 eggs (I initially was going to separate them, but it’s a weeknight dinner and I’m not trying to impress anyone!)
LOTS of black pepper, freshly ground


Step 1: cut up the bacon into bite-sized pieces (to make it easier to cut, stick the bacon in the freezer for a couple of minutes – it makes a huge difference!):


Nicely cut bacon:


Place the bacon in a frying pan:


Let the bacon cook for about 5 minutes (until slightly crispy) and when the bacon is almost finished cooking, place the whole wheat pasta in boiling water:


Once the bacon finishes, turn off the fire and set it aside. Let the pasta finish cooking and drain it. Place it back in the pot and add some bacon fat:


And bacon:


And also add your eggs and parmesan cheese. Mix it vigorously until everything is combined and grind up lots of black pepper:


The dish is really easy to make (it takes about 15 minutes total) and is great for an easy weeknight dinner.

Cost breakdown:
– 1 pound of whole wheat spaghetti: $0.99
– 1/2 package Nieman Ranch bacon: $2.75
– 1 cup Parmesan cheese (1 package for $4.49, used about 1/5 of it): $0.90
– 2 eggs (12 eggs for $1.99): $0.34
– LOTS of black pepper, freshly ground (this container was purchased at Costco and will probably last me forever): $0.05

Total: $5.03

Reader Comments

This looks really delicious! Thanks for putting the cost breakdown. Good food can be quite economical!

There is actually a mom blogger who makes all her dinners for her family for under 5 dollars. The cost breakdown reminded me of her blog! http://www.5dollardinners.com

Written By Jessica on October 1st, 2009 @ 8:28 am

Julie made this. It’s legit.

Written By Justin on October 24th, 2009 @ 7:15 pm

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