Pantry Carbonara

Posted on: September 29, 2022. Updated on: July 11, 2023.

by Carolina Gelen

A hearty, delicious and quick meal, perfect for when you’ve been postponing your grocery shopping trip for a little too long. I developed this recipe during one of those days, when, no matter where I looked, I couldn’t find any fresh meat or vegetables in sight. I was lucky to find an old knob of cheese in the back of my fridge, and a few eggs, that’s what inspired this modest, but somehow luxurious meal.

This not-so-traditional Carbonara recipe skips the Guanciale, and uses pantry staples like shallots, garlic, black peppercorns and chile flakes instead. This flavorful, fragrant base is paired with a silky, luscious egg yolk sauce that will make you forget your fridge is quite empty.

Pantry Carbonara

4.7 / 5. from 39

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4.7 / 5. from 39

Click to vote

Servings: 1 to 2
Prep: 15 minutes
Cook: 10 minutes


  • 100 g to 200 g pasta
  • 1 shallot, thinly sliced
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon chile flakes, plus more to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon black peppercorns, roughly crushed
  • A handful fresh parsley
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 30 to 40 g (1/4 cup) grated sharp cheese (like cheddar, Parmesan or Gruyère), plus more as needed
  • Extra-virgin olive oil
  • Kosher salt


  1. Bring a pot of water to a boil (for the pasta). Season the water with 2 teaspoons of salt. Add the pasta and cook for 4 minutes less than what the packaging calls for.
  2. While the pasta is cooking, heat a glug (3 to 4 tablespoons) olive oil to a pan, over medium heat. Add the shallots, sauté for 2 to 3 minutes. Add the garlic, crushed peppercorns, chile flakes, and cook for 1 minute, until fragrant. Mix in the parsley and turn the heat off.
  3. Combine the egg yolks and cheese in a separate bowl. Slowly incorporate two ladles of hot pasta water, while constantly whisking, to temper the eggs. Bringing the eggs to a closer temperature to the pasta will prevent the sauce from curdling.
  4. Turn the heat back to medium-low on the spiced-garlic-shallot mixture. Add in the al dente cooked pasta, and a splash of pasta water. Stir using a wooden spoon or a pair of tongues. Pour in the tempered egg-cheese mixture, while constantly stirring. Toss the pasta in the egg sauce, and add more pasta water as needed. Cook for 2 more minutes, or until the sauce has visibly thickened, and got silky, smooth and light in color. The pasta water isn’t as salty, so taste the sauce, and season with more salt as needed.
  5. Serve right away.
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Carolina Gelen

I speak 5 languages, but my favorite way to communicate is through the universal language of food. I translate food to be more approachable and accessible for the everyday cook. I didn't grow up with a lot, so I’ve always loved thrifting and finding a good sale. That also shapes my approach to cooking: I try to make most of my recipes as affordable as possible, and that is what my SCRAPS newsletter is about. Every two weeks I will send an exclusive recipe to your inbox. Subscribe to get full access to the newsletter and website.

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9 thoughts on "Pantry Carbonara"

  1. RMG says:

    This was awesome! I added some chicken and fresh habenero pepper because I love heat ;). Its a hit! Thank you.

    1. Carolina says:

      love those additions, that sounds delicious!

  2. Caitlin says:

    I saw your ig post for this and immediately knew I needed it.. Just made it tonight and it was delicious. Thank you!

    1. Megan says:

      I saw this recipe on Pinterest and I just made it with my boyfriend. We really just used what we had on hand. We used white onion and garlic powder instead of shallot and fresh garlic and we used basil instead of parsley. Still, an AMAZING pasta recipe!!

  3. nicole collins says:

    Per usual, this recipe is simple, yet delicious. I only had two eggs, but with a little extra pasta water, the sauce was still glossy and rich. Brava! Thank you.

  4. Julianna Koch says:

    Helloooo I ended up making this with a shorter twisted noodle since that’s all I had, I was worried I would mess up the sauce but I got it no problem your directions were clear and precise! Thank you for the easy and delicious new go-to! My boyfriend and I are absolutely raving over this meal seriously delicious 💗

  5. Emily N. says:

    I just made this because I also have not grocery shopped recently and it is amazing! I used a small amount of red onion instead of shallots, because that’s all I had, and only used 1/4 tsp chili flakes. So good! I’ll use this again.

  6. Jess says:

    I could easily eat this pasta every day for the rest of my life and never get sick of it. I call it “the perfect pasta”. I’m going to add prawns next time and a bread crumb topping. Incredible. Thank you <3

  7. Duncan Apkin says:

    yes sure i can