After the holidays, we are are all wondering what to do with all that leftover turkey! This pasta carbonara with leftover turkey is easy to make, full of parmesan cheese and bacon, and ready in 15 minutes!
My family loves pasta. We just do! It's an easy dinner that can be loaded with veggies and healthy, lean proteins and my family eats it up! some of our favorites are One Pot Chicken Broccoli Pasta , Whole Wheat Pasta Primavera, and Instant Pot Chicken Pesto Pasta.
What is Pasta Carbonara?
Pasta carbonara originated in Rome and is traditionally made with eggs, parmesan, ham, and lots of freshly cracked pepper. Throughout the years, it has been adapted and changed as our tastes changed. Cured ham was replaced with bacon, and Pecorino Romano cheese was replaced with parmesan. It's a classic in many Italian restaurants, and for good reason!
Why You'll Love Turkey Carbonara
- It's a great way to use up leftovers! Isn't it amazing how much turkey is left over after the holidays? No matter how many people you have, there are always leftovers! There's only so many turkey sandwiches one can eat, so change it up a little with this turkey pasta carbonara.
- It's a quick family dinner! After the holidays, we don't want to be spending any more time slaving over a hot stove for hours. This recipe is 15 minutes from start to finish, so you can get back to spending quality time with the family!
- It's easy to make! No need to make any special trips to the grocery store. You probably already have these ingredients hanging out in your refrigerator and freezer.
Ingredients You'll Need
- Pasta- My go to is DaVinci pasta
- Eggs- Three whole eggs and one egg yolk to make the sauce creamy.
- Bacon- Six slices of your favorite bacon
- Peas- to add color and some veggies to the pasta. Frozen peas are best. Take them out once you start boiling the water. They will thaw as you cook the pasta.
- Parmesan- freshly grated is best, but if you have pre-grated, that works perfectly too.
- Turkey- chop the turkey into small, bite sized pieces. Dark meat or white meat, skin and bones removed.
- Pasta Pot
- Mixing Bowls
- Measuring Cups
- Mixing Spoons
- Pasta Fork- optional, but it works great when serving the pasta
How To Make Pasta Carbonara with Leftover Turkey
Bring a pot of water to a boil and season the water with 3 tablespoons of salt once it comes to a boil. Add your DaVinci pasta and cook for 6-8 minutes.
While the pasta cooks, add the six strips of bacon to a sauté pan. Cook the bacon until it is crispy. Once it is crispy, place it on a paper towel lined plate and allow it to cool. Leave the bacon grease in the pan.
In a small bowl, mix together the three whole eggs and one egg yolk with one cup of parmesan cheese.
Add the minced garlic and diced turkey to the sauté pan that has the bacon grease in it. Cook on low for 2 minutes to cook the garlic and heat the turkey through.
When the pasta is done cooking, reserve 1 cup of pasta water, and drain the rest. Place the drained pasta directly into the sauté pan, with the heat off. Add the peas, parmesan and eggs mixture, and fresh ground pepper to the pan and mix. Add ½ cup of the reserved pasta water and mix well. If the pasta is looking a little dry, add one tablespoon at a time of more pasta water.
Mix all the ingredients well. Top with the crumbled bacon, more parmesan cheese, and lots of freshly ground black pepper. Serve immediately and enjoy!
Tips And Tricks
Don't overcook the eggs. When adding the parmesan and egg mixture to the pan, don't place the pan over the heat. The warmth of the pasta will gently cook the eggs. If you turn the heat on, you run the risk of scrambling the eggs instead of gently cooking them and creating a creamy sauce.
Keep the pasta water! Pasta water is a secret ingredient in many pasta dishes. It is full of starch and salt, which flavors the dish as well as create a creamy sauce without adding any cream.
Pick high quality bacon. The bacon adds the saltiness and a texture to the dish. Thick cut bacon is a great choice. Stay away from flavored bacon (like maple flavored) as that would be too much for this dish.
Variations of Pasta Carbonara With Leftover Turkey
- This recipe isn't just for leftover holiday turkey. Make this with chopped up rotisserie chicken, or leave out the turkey all together.
- Instead of peas, use scallions, edamame, or chopped green beans.
- Turkey bacon can be substituted instead of pork bacon. Turkey bacon doesn't have as much fat as pork bacon, so add 1 tablespoon of olive oil to the pan to warm the garlic and turkey.
- I used parmesan cheese, but Pecorino Romano, or a grated cheese blend works great too!
- If you're like me and love spice, add some crushed red pepper to the cheese and egg mixture.
Frequently Asked Questions
This will last for 4-5 days in the refrigerator in an airtight container. To reheat, place the pasta is a microwave safe bowl and microwave for 2-3 minutes. If you are reheating the entire recipe, place a pan on the stove and add the pasta to the pan. Add a little chicken broth to loosen the sauce and gently heat through.
No, the eggs will gently cook from the heat of the hot pasta and the hot pasta water. If we were to heat the pasta over direct heat, we run the risk of having scrambled eggs in the pasta, which is not what we want!
Traditionally, spaghetti or angel hair would be used in carbonara. Tube pasta like rigatoni and penne would be great substitutes as well.
Other Recipes to Try
Did you love this Pasta Carbonara with Leftover Turkey? I'd so appreciate it if you would give this recipe a 5-star review! That will help other hungry readers find my recipes!
- Sourdough Stuffing with Sausage and Mushrooms
- Instant Pot Mashed Potatoes
- Instant Pot Cranberry Sauce
- Sweet and Spicy Cranberry Dip
- Sourdough Rolls
- Sourdough Bread
- Italian Stuffed Mushrooms
Pasta Carbonara with Leftover Turkey
- 1 lb Spaghetti
- 6 Slices Bacon Crumbled
- 2 cloves Garlic Minced
- 3 Large Eggs
- 1 Egg Yolk
- 1 cup Parmesan Shredded
- 1 cup Peas Thawed from Frozen
- 2 cups Leftover Turkey Diced
- Salt and Pepper To taste
- Fill a large pot with water and bring it to a boil. Add 3 tablespoons of salt to the water and add DaVinci pasta. Allow the pasta to cook for 6-8 minutes depending on the type of pasta.
- While the pasta cooks, add the 6 strips of bacon to a sauté pan and cook until crispy.
- While the bacon cooks, add the eggs, egg yolks, and parmesan cheese to a bowl and mix with a fork. Set that aside.
- Once crispy, remove the bacon and place it on a paper towel lined plate. Add the minced garlic and diced turkey into the pan with the bacon grease. Cook on low for 2 minutes, to warm up the turkey and cook the garlic.
- Drain the pasta, save one cup of pasta water. Add the pasta to the pan with the chopped turkey and garlic. Add the parmesan cheese, thawed peas, and egg mixture and gently mix. Stir the pasta together and ½ cup of pasta water to make the sauce creamy. Add a tablespoon more at a time if the pasta is too dry.
- Crumble the bacon onto the pasta and top with more parmesan cheese and serve immediately.