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Spaghetti Carbonara with Greens and Herbs


Chef notes

Inspired by the rich and porky goodness of spaghetti carbonara, this vegetable-focused pasta dish is loaded with spinach, basil and parsley. It’s just as creamy as the classic version but a lot more colorful and ever-so-slightly lighter.

Veg it up: Adding 1 cup or so of corn kernels (fresh, or frozen and thawed) along with the spinach gives this a sweetness that sets off the smoky bacon. Halved cherry tomatoes, seasoned with a pinch of salt, would lend a tart, juicy note.

Vegetarian upgrade: Substitute 8 ounces diced mushrooms for the bacon, letting the mushrooms get really brown before adding the onion. This takes it far away from carbonara territory, but it still tastes wonderful.


  • 2 large eggs
  • 3 large egg yolks
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 cup grated pecorino Romano cheese, plus more for serving
  • 1 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more for serving
  • teaspoons kosher salt, divided, plus more as needed
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 6 ounces bacon, diced
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 12 ounces spaghetti
  • 8 ounces (about 8 cups) baby spinach, chopped
  • 1 cup torn fresh basil leaves
  • 1 cup torn fresh parsley leaves and tender stems



In a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs, egg yolks, Parmesan, pecorino, pepper and a pinch of salt. Set aside.


In a large sauté pan, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the bacon and cook, stirring occasionally, until the fat renders and the edges crisp, 8 to 10 minutes. Add the onion to the pan and raise the heat to medium-high. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion is golden brown and soft, 5 to 7 minutes.


If the spaghetti won’t lie flat in the skillet, break it in half. Add it to the pan along with 4¾ cups of water and 1 teaspoon of the salt. Cook, uncovered, stirring and tossing the pasta frequently, until it is cooked through but still al dente, 12 to 14 minutes. If the skillet dries out before the pasta is cooked through, add a little water. The pan should stay moist; having a bit of extra pasta water in the pan will make for a creamier, silkier carbonara sauce.


Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the egg-cheese mixture, tossing well. Add the spinach, in batches as it begins to wilt, the basil, parsley and remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt and energetically toss until everything is well incorporated. Cover the pan for 2 minutes to allow the spinach to fully cook. Uncover and toss again.


Serve immediately, sprinkled with pecorino and pepper.