Carbonara with mushrooms and bacon is a creamy cheesy pasta recipe perfect any night of the week! Quick and easy to make with texture and tasty flavours this is a must try recipe. Bacon and mushroom carbonara gives you a nice change from spag bowl with home cooked satisfaction 😍🥰😘.
Recipes like my Carbonara Macaroni and Udon Carbonara give us creamy cheesy yum.
My Garlic Spaghetti and Slow Cooker Spaghetti Bolognese give us more traditional Italian pasta recipes.
🤍 Recipe Highlights
I have summarised everything that you will come to know and love (LOVE ❤) about the recipe in the points below:
- Comfort food: carbonara is one of the most satisfying meals you can devour, load it with mushrooms and bacon and its even more amazing! Not only is there pasta, there is a delicious and cheesy cream like sauce which smothers the dish. It is almost too good to be true 😍🥰😘!!
- No cream pasta sauce: yes, the carbonara sauce is creamy, cheesy and delicious. However, the recipe uses no cream. The whisked eggs, cheese and pasta water make the creamy texture of the sauce which makes it seem like cream is used in the recipe, however, it is not (haha, tricky right 😉😂!).
- Family friendly: this is a recipe that the whole family can enjoy together. A meal in one pan that gets everyone sitting at the table and chowing down together. So grab a fork for each of the kids and let them dig in too!
- Easy dish: there is nothing too detailed or difficult about this recipe and it does take less time to make than spag bowl. If you need dinner to feed a crowd in a hurry this is a great go to recipe!
- Versatile: traditionally mushrooms are not used in carbonara, however, they add great texture to the dish as well as a vegetable component 😉😊.
The photo below is to show you everything you need to make the recipe. Please refer to the printable recipe card for specific ingredient measurements as well as detailed instructions.
As you can see the recipe calls for:
- Spaghetti: hugely popular for when making carbonara, however, you can use your favourite pasta if it is not the long thin kind! Some options to consider are linguine, angel hair pasta, fettuccini or rigatoni 😍.
- Eggs: these are the basis of the carbonara sauce. Free range is always the best choice when using eggs. Medium to large size eggs are great.
- Parmesan cheese: this gets added to the eggs to form the cheesy cream like sauce. You can also sprinkle a little over the finished dish when serving.
- Bacon: my preference and recommendation is to use store bought diced bacon for the recipe as it makes it so easy. You can also have a read through my substitutions and variations as I offer alternatives should you want an array of options 😉😘.
- Button mushrooms: not always used in traditional carbonara, yet a delightful way of adding another great texture to the dish. I recommend you purchase whole button mushrooms (or white mushroom cups/swiss/cremini) and slice them in halves or thirds. These get cooked in the fry pan and don't require oil (the bacon grease helps to cook them 👍).
- Cracked black pepper: sprinkled on top of the dish for serving, we don't need it till we are ready to serve the carbonara.
- Parsley: we need a fresh herb for flavour, texture and a pop of colour on top of the dish. Without it, whilst the flavour is there the colour of the dish is a bit boring! So use curly parsley finely chopped sprinkled over the top of the dish as a tasty visual delight. (Yes, you can use flat leaf parsley also if you want to 🧐😉 ).
Tasty tip: we do not use salt and pepper to season the ingredients as we cook them. This is because the bacon is high in salt and brings that flavour to the recipe and then we use freshly cracked pepper sprinkled on top for serving the spaghetti. A non stick fry pan is the recommendation. This also means that there is no need to add oil at any stage of the cooking process 👍👍. The salt shown in the ingredients photo is used to salt the water that the pasta will be cooked in 😉.
Here at the step by step instructions to make the recipe. We start by cooking the bacon, followed by mushrooms in a non stick pan with no oil.
- Whisk eggs (Photo 1)
- Add cheese and combine (Photo 2)
- Cook bacon (Photo 3)
- Add mushrooms and cook (Photo 4)
👩🍳 How to Make Carbonara with Mushrooms and Bacon
To make the carbonara, ensure that the mushrooms have been sliced and that you have all of the rest of the ingredients ready to go. Then add the bacon the the fry pan and cook for 2 to 3 mins till the edges are a little crispy. Add the chopped mushrooms to the pan and use the bacon grease to cook these till their edges are a light golden brown.
- Drain pasta, reserve 1 cup of the water (Photo 5)
- Add cooked spaghetti to fry pan (Photo 6)
- Pour egg mixture over bacon and mushrooms (Photo 7)
- Pour pasta water into pan (Photo 8)
Once you have cooked the pasta, place a heatproof jug underneath it and use a colander to collect this water. We want to add 1 cup of it to the sauce. You can also let it cool and store the rest in a jar in the fridge as it helps to add moisture to leftovers when reheating.
- Stir to combine and heat through (Photo 9)
Once you have combined the pasta water with the egg mixture and stirred it through the dish to create the sauce, it will be fine to reheat. The risk of the eggs scrambling is when they 1st enter the pan if it is on the stove and hasn't been removed to allow the sauce to be created.
🍽 Serving Suggestions
If you are looking for a side either the Ciabatta Garlic Bread or Garlic Pizza Bread are great options and keep to the Italian theme for the dinner (that's amore 🥰😍).
An alternative to bread is the Cherry Tomato Caprese Salad. It offers a light pairing that has complimentary flavours to the carbonara.
When serving the dish and placing on the table, ensure it is fully loaded with parmesan cheese, cracked pepper and parsley, or provide these on the table so that the eaters can garnish their own portion.
👍 How to Guide
How to Store
Store leftovers of the dish in a sealed air tight container. They can be left in the fridge for 2 to 3 days.
How to Freeze
Let the cooked dish fully cool before freezing.
This is a handy recipe to meal prep and then portion into containers for nights when you want delicious homemade comfort food without the effort of cooking it on the night. This photo shows you the containers I use to freeze the pasta so that it can be reheated when needed. They are great as they lay flat in the freezer and stack well.
How to Reheat
You can reheat leftovers of the dish in the microwave. Thawed will take around 2 minutes to heat through. Frozen portions (in glass containers) will take 6 minutes to be heated through.
😉 Substitutions and Variations
Here are my sub ins and outs that you might be thinking about as you read the post and I will tell you if I think they will work or why they won't:
- You don't have to use the same pasta as me, you can use your favourite pasta.
- If you want to use speck or guanciale instead of the bacon, you can do that 👍
- You can add a splash of white wine to the recipe when cooking the mushrooms for an extra depth of flavour (¼ cup is a good amount😉).
- I am using button mushrooms. You can use the same or regular white mushroom caps or sliced Portobello's or swiss brown mushrooms.
- Substitute Pecorino Romano for the parmesan cheese if you wish to.
- You can use streaky bacon if you want super crispy little bacon pieces in the dish.
- Instead of the parsley, chopped chives are another herb that work well with the flavour combination.
💡 Tasty Tips
Here are my top tips and tricks that I want to share with you so that you master the recipe from the get go:
- Have everything prepped and ready to go before you start cooking, this will mean you don't have to stop and chop the mushrooms once you have started cooking.
- A mini whisk is super handy to use to whisk the eggs and combine the cheese for the sauce, but you can also use a fork if you don't have a mini whisk.
- A non stick fry pan best is recommended for the recipe as we don't use any oil at all and this type of pan will allow the bacon grease to flavour the dish.
- After cooking the bacon, don't rinse the pan as we want to use that grease and flavour to help fry off the mushrooms.
🤓 Frequently Asked Questions
What is the trick to carbonara?
The trick to carbonara is to take it off the heat when adding the egg and cheese mixture so that the eggs don't scramble and then to add some reserved pasta water to make a creamy sauce.
Does carbonara use whole eggs or just yolks?
Some recipes for carbonara will use whole eggs or a combination of whole eggs and egg yolks.
What kind of cheese goes in carbonara?
Parmesan cheese is ideal for making carbonara as it has a strong bold taste about it.
Why do people put cream in carbonara?
Some people will add cream to their carbonara as a means to create a thick creamy pasta sauce. Whilst it is not necessary, it comes down to personal preference and how you want the dish to taste and what texture you want the sauce to have.
😍 More Easy Spaghetti Recipes
If getting your fork and twirling it through a plate of pasta is your favourite thing to do (me too 😉), then I know you will love these recipes also:
- Garlic Prawn Spaghetti
- Spaghetti Alla Bolognese
- Spaghetti Gorgonzola
- Sausage Spaghetti
- Instant Pot Chicken Spaghetti
- Artichoke Spaghetti
- Instant Pot Spaghetti with Jar Sauce
- Instant Pot Spaghetti with Meat Sauce
- Smoked Salmon Spaghetti
- Instant Pot Spaghetti with Meat Sauce
You can also check out all of my spaghetti recipes or pasta recipes for more tasty dishes to try.
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Carbonara with Mushrooms and Bacon
- 1 Non stick fry pan (large) or saute pan or wok
- 1 Silicon flexible turner or wooden spoon
- 1 Mini Whisk or Fork to whisk the eggs
- 1 Heatproof jug to collect the pasta water
- 1 Saucepan to cook the pasta
- 1 Colander to drain the pasta
- 1 Wooden spoon to stir and combine the sauce
- 1 Grater for the parmesan cheese
- 1 Kitchen scissors to chop the parsley
- 1 Glass to hold the parsley whist it is being chopped
- 4 free range eggs (large)
- 1 cup parmesan cheese loosely packed, grated
- 1 cup bacon diced or roughly chopped, Note 1
- 1 ½ cups button mushrooms sliced in halves or thirds
- 500 grams/1 pound dried spaghetti Note 2
- ½ teaspoon salt add to pasta water to season
- cracked black pepper to garnish
- parsley stems removed, finely chopped
- Whisk eggs: crack all 4 eggs into a jug and whisk. Add the grated parmesan cheese and stir to combine. Then set aside.
- Cook the bacon: add the bacon to the fry pan, turn to high heat and fry stirring as you go for 2 to 3 minutes. Note 2
- Add the mushrooms: add the mushrooms to the bacon and fry for 2 - 3 mins. Note 3
- Cook the spaghetti: read the instructions on the pasta packet and follow those to cook the pasta. Drain using a colander with a heatproof jug underneath to reserve the cooking water.
- Combine and make the sauce: turn the heat off and add the cooked spaghetti to the pan with the bacon and mushrooms. Pour the cheese mixture over the pasta followed by ½ cup of the reserved pasta water. Stir to combine then add another ½ cup of this pasta water. Stir using a wooden spoon till the carbonara sauce is consistently mixed throughout the dish.
- Garnish: add some more grated cheese over the top of the spaghetti. Liberally add some cracked black pepper. Sprinkle the chopped parsley of the top of the dish to finish.
- Serve and enjoy: portion into bowls and serve with forks.
- Note 1 - Bacon: store bought diced bacon is the most convenient option. Or you can purchase rashers and use a knife and chopping board to prepare yourself.
- Note 2 - Spaghetti: we need 1 cup of the pasta water to add to the sauce. So once the pasta is cooked, use a colander over a heatproof jug to collect this water for later use. All supermarkets (Walmart, Aldi, Tesco, Safeway, Coles and Woolies) will sell a wide variety of spaghetti or other dried pastas. Feel free to use your favorite. Options include linguini, fettuccini, egg pasta, angel hair pasta, rigatoni or penne pasta.
Cant wait to try this.
Thanks Belinda, great to hear!