Monday, March 30, 2009

Chicken Carbonara

I've found a new favorite way to use leftover chicken.

Sometimes I'll have leftovers from a roasted chicken in the grocery store, from a restaurant, or in this case, from a chicken I roasted at home using this method. After the initial chicken meal there are many things I like to do with the leftover meat -- enchiladas, salad, quesadillas, etc. But I think this chicken carbonara is definitely my new favorite. The rich, creamy Alfredo-esque sauce with slight smokiness from the bacon and the heartiness of the chicken makes this spaghetti dish absolutely no one's leftovers. (However, this dish itself doesn't actually make for good leftovers -- cream sauces rarely do. Reheating will make it separate, so you should eat whatever you make right then and there!)

I was inspired by this video, in which Giada De Laurentiis shares her recipe for chicken carbonara, but I adjusted it to a) serve 2 rather than what looks like an army; b) use slightly less cream to save on calories; and c) use bacon rather than pancetta, which is easier to acquire and less costly as well.

Chicken Carbonara

Serves 2

  • 8oz dried spaghetti
  • 1 cup cooked chicken, chopped
  • 2 slices of strip bacon, chopped
  • 1 clove of garlic, minced
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1/2 cup regular or heavy whipping cream (or use 3/4 cup of cream and skip the whole milk)
  • 1/4 cup whole milk
  • 1/2 cup parmesan cheese, grated
  • 1 tbsp fresh parsley, chopped
  • salt to taste


  1. Start boiling water with some salt to make the pasta as the package directs. Cook pasta until just before al dente -- it will be cooked a little more in the sauce, so you don't want to overcook or it'll become too soft.
  2. In a medium saucepan with a heavy bottom, start frying the bacon. When nearly crisp, add the garlic and saute together for a minute, until the bacon is crisp. Remove from heat.
  3. In a medium-sized bowl, whisk together the egg yolks. Add the whipping cream, milk, cheese, and parsley. Stir until combined.
  4. When the pasta is almost ready, place the pan with the bacon mixture back onto low to medium heat. Add the chicken.
  5. Using tongs or similar, add the cooked spaghetti directly on top of the chicken, without straining. The pasta water it brings over is good, as it's starchy and will help with thickening the sauce.
  6. Pour the cream mixture into the pan with the spaghetti. Gently mix everything together, until the sauce has thickened (this will go a LOT faster if you use heavy whipping cream; if you don't, just be patient, it WILL thicken) and the meat is well distributed. Do NOT heat so high that the sauce boils; this will cause it to separate and will be pretty much disgusting and inedible.
  7. Taste it; you may find that the salt from the bacon is enough to season the dish. If not, use salt to taste.

Note: Giada serves her carbonara with some crushed walnut sprinkled over the top; this is intriguing but I haven't yet tried it.

1 comment:

Brittany said...

Looks great!! I made a similar dish, using the same ingredients however for the cream sauce I used reduced fat cream of broccoli and reduced fat cream of mushroom. It turned out GREAT!