Chicken and Bacon Fettucine Carbonara is a simple Italian family dinner that is ready in under 30 minutes. The sauce is creamy and satisfying! The best part is, it's made with only a few simple ingredients you probably already have in your house!
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This pasta is a staple in my house! On a busy Friday evening, there is nothing better than sitting at the table with a pasta made with a creamy sauce, fettucine, and bacon! Creamy chicken carbonara pasta is a winner every time and the whole thing is usually eaten, no leftovers here!
If you don't have chicken in the house, you can almost make this recipe with leftover turkey, just like this pasta carbonara! It's a filling family dinner that your family will be asking for again and again!
What is Carbonara?
Carbonara is a classic Italian pasta dish from Rome. Classic carbonara only has a few ingredients. Pasta, pork, eggs, a hard cheese (like Parmigiano Reggiano or pecorino Romano), and black pepper.
You may see a lot of recipes online that call for heavy cream, or half and half and olive oil. Those recipes might be delicious, they are not a traditional carbonara recipe.
Another switch that a lot of people make, including me, is bacon or pancetta (Italian bacon) instead of guanciale. Guanciale is cured pork made from the pig cheeks. That can be hard to find, so instead we are using bacon. It is easier to find that guanciale and people usually have it in their refrigerators.
Chicken and peas are not traditionally added to carbonara either, but when we are making dinner for our family, every extra bit of veggies and protein helps!
Ingredients to Gather
There are only a few simple ingredients you need to make this chicken carbonara recipe. If possible, find the best quality ingredients you can since we are only using a few in this recipe.
- Pasta. One pound of fettucine or another long pasta, like spaghetti or linguine.
- Eggs. We'll be using 4 whole eggs and one egg yolk. Fresh eggs are best, but use whatever types of eggs you have. Stick with large eggs as opposed to jumbo. The egg yolks are going to give this sauce it's creamy texture.
- Cheese. A hard cheese is classic, such as pecorino Romano, Parmegiano Reggiano, or a parmesan.
- Garlic cloves. Everything is better with a little garlic!
- Bacon. 6 slices of thick sliced bacon so you get those delicious pieces of bacon in each bite.
- Chicken. One pound of boneless, skinless chicken breast. That would be one large breast or two medium breasts. You want about 2 cups of diced chicken.
- Peas. This is optional, but if you would like to add some vegetables to your dinner, I say why not!
- Salt and pepper. To taste, but the more black pepper the better!
Different Types of Pasta
There are so many different types of pasta in the grocery store these days. What type of pasta should you use for carbonara? The best type of pasta to use would be a long, thin pasta. That way the sauce coats the entire pasta. Spaghetti, linguine, fettucine, or bucatini are all examples of long, thin pasta.
If you aren't worried about keeping this dish classic, feel free to use your family's favorite pasta. Rigatoni, penne, even rotini would all still be delicious in this pasta.
Equipment to Gather
How to Make Chicken and Bacon Fettucine Carbonara
Fill a pasta pot with water and boil.
While the water boils, cut the bacon into pieces and add it to a large skillet. Cook the bacon over medium-high heat until it gets crispy, about 5-8 minutes. Remove the bacon from the pan with a slotted spoon and place it on a paper towel lined plate, keeping the bacon fat in the pan.
Cut the chicken into bite sized pieces and add it to the pan with the bacon grease. Chop the garlic and add it to the chicken. Cook for 5-8 minutes over medium heat until the chicken is fully cooked.
When the water boils, salt the water with 3 tablespoons of salt. Add the pasta to the large pot of salted water and cook 2-3 minutes less than the package directions.
In a small bowl, crack the 4 eggs and 1 egg yolk into the bowl and mix well. Add the cheese and black pepper to the bowl. Take a ladle of the water the pasta is cooking in and add it to the mixture, slowly mixing while you pour.
When the pasta is al dente (meaning "to the tooth") reserve one cup of starchy pasta water, and drain the pasta. Add the pasta directly into the pan with the chicken. Turn the heat off and add the egg and cheese mixture. Toss with tongs and mix. If the pasta looks a little dry, add some of the reserved pasta water.
Add the crispy bacon and peas to the pot and continue to stir until combined. Serve immediately with more black pepper and cheese.
Are the Eggs Cooked?
Though you may be a little nervous to add raw eggs right onto the hot pasta, don't worry! The eggs do cook. The pasta is super hot right out of the boiling water, so it will cook the eggs gently as we stir. The residual heat from the pan will also warm the eggs through.
Tips for the Perfect Sauce
The secret to the perfect carbonara sauce is to make sure you add the starchy pasta water to the egg and cheese mixture. This will temper the eggs so they do not immediately turn to scrambled eggs when they hit the pan, and it will also make the sauce creamy without adding any heavy cream to the sauce.
What to do with Leftovers
Store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.
- To reheat on the stove, add the pasta to a large saucepan. Add 1 cup of chicken broth to the pan and turn the stove on medium-low heat. Stir the pasta for 3-4 minutes until it is heated through and the sauce becomes creamy again.
- To reheat in the microwave, place the pasta in a microwave safe bowl. Add 1 cup of water and cover the bowl. Microwave for 1 minute and stir. Repeat until the pasta is heated through.
Questions about Chicken Carbonara
Chicken alfredo has heavy cream (or half and half) in the cream sauce. While it may be delicious, it's not a carbonara. Carbonara is simply pork, a hard cheese, eggs, and pasta.
Yes! Gluten free pasta would be delicious in this recipe! Just make sure you remove the pasta from the water right as it is al dente, which is about 1-2 minutes before the box says it is done.
There are a few reasons you may have lumpy carbonara. First, is the eggs may have scrambled. Make sure that the heat is off the pan when you add the egg mixture. The other reason is the cheese. Since we are using grated parmesan cheese or pecorino Romano, the sauce is never going to be super smooth. The pieces of cheese should be incorporated throughout the pasta.
More Easy Pasta Recipes!
Easy Chicken and Bacon Carbonara
- 1 lb Fettucine
- 6 Slices Thick Cut Bacon
- 1 lb Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breasts
- 2 Garlic Cloves
- 4 Eggs
- 1 Egg Yolk
- 1 cup Pecorino Romano or Parmesan
- 1 cup Peas Thawed if frozen
- Fill a pasta pot with water and boil.
- While the water boils, cut the bacon into pieces and add it to a large skillet. Cook the bacon over medium-high heat until it gets crispy, about 5-8 minutes. Remove the bacon from the pan with a slotted spoon and place it on a paper towel lined plate, keeping the bacon fat in the pan.
- Cut the chicken into bite sized pieces and add it to the pan with the bacon grease. Chop the garlic and add it to the chicken. Cook for 5-8 minutes until the chicken gets brown.
- When the water boils, salt the water with 3 tablespoons of salt. Add the pasta to the large pot of salted water and cook 2-3 minutes less than the package directions.
- In a small bowl, crack the 4 eggs and 1 egg yolk into the bowl and mix well. Add the cheese and black pepper to the bowl. Take a ladle of the water the pasta is cooking in and add it to the mixture, slowly mixing while you pour.
- When the pasta is al dente (meaning "to the tooth") reserve one cup of starchy pasta water, and drain the pasta. Add the pasta directly into the pan with the chicken.
- Turn the heat off and add the egg and cheese mixture. Toss with tongs and mix. Add the crispy bacon and peas to the pot and continue to stir until combined. If the pasta looks a little dry, add some of the reserved pasta water. Serve immediately with more black pepper and cheese.
- Adding 3 tablespoons of salt to the water may seem like a lot, but it is the only chance we will get to season the pasta. Most of that salt will get drained off when we drain the pasta, but it is necessary to season the pasta properly.
- To remove the egg yolk from the egg, crack the egg into a separate bowl and scoop the egg yolk out of the bowl with one side of the shell. The egg white can be saved to make an omelet or to add to scrambled eggs.