Carbonara with Calabrian Hot Peppers


1/3 cup olive oil
6 oz meaty thick cut bacon, cut into pieces
8 garlic cloves, chopped (use more if the cloves are small)
3 eggs
1/2 cup pecorino Romano cheese, grated
1 T flat Italian Parsley
1/2 t dried Mediterranean oregano
1/4 t ground black pepper
6 Calabrian hot peppers, destemmed and minced
1 lb spaghetti

Spoon Mage™ Notes:

Do buy the meatiest bacon you can find. This recipe wants a little bacon fat, but it should not overwhelm the olive oil.

If you are a garlic light person, you may reduce the garlic, but please do not go too far light garlic or you will be better off with a different recipe instead. Garlic and Calabrian hot peppers sing in harmony when combined in this sauce.

If there are guests at the table who do not like spicy foods, serve the chopped Calabrian peppers in a bowl and heat lovers can use them as a topping.


Prep all the ingredients. Carbonara comes together very quickly and you do not want to find that something is missing during the mixing.

Slice the bacon and chop the garlic and place them in separate bowls.

Combine the eggs, cheese, parsley, oregano, and black pepper in a small bowl and place in the fridge.

In a large skillet set over medium heat, add the olive oil. When the oil shimmers, add the bacon pieces Fry until the bacon is pretty well browned.

While the bacon fries, bring salty water to a boil for the spaghetti.

Add the garlic to the pan and stir constantly until the garlic aroma changes from raw to cooked and the pieces are only just taking on a slight tan color.

Do NOT let the garlic turn dark brown or burn. That’s why you are mindfully stirring and not heading off to answer the phone. You can always call her back.

Remove the bacon and garlic from heat if the pasta has not yet begun to cook. The garlic will keep occupied by infusing the oil with gorgeous flavor so that each spaghetti noodle is covered in garlicky goodness.

About halfway through boiling the pasta, add one scant ladle (about 1/2 a cup) of salty pasta water to the pan with the bacon.

Reserve one ladle of pasta water. You may not need this, but then you might have added just a touch too much cheese (mindfully done I hope), so it’s a good idea to have it ready.

Drain the cooked to al dente spaghetti, return to the hot pot, add the bacon garlic mixture, and gently toss.

Wisk the egg mixture one more time and then quickly add the aromatic goodness to the spaghetti. Stir well.

If you were over cheesy, add more of the pasta water just a tablespoon or two at a time. This dish should not be overly saucy, but neither should it be too dry to twirl.

Stir in the Calabrian peppers now or set them out on the table to be used as a topping. A little grated Parmesan may be appreciated by a few guests.

Enjoy with a lovely mixed green salad.

One thought on “Carbonara with Calabrian Hot Peppers

  1. Nick D'Agostino

    Looking to kick your carbonara up a notch? This brilliant addition is like crushed red pepper on steroids. Plate some pasta, twirl in a few chopped peppers straight out of the jar, and prepare to be amazed. The super sweet pepper bursts in your mouth and the slightly hot chili oil coats the rest of the spaghetti.

    Bam! Emeril would be proud.


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