A few simple ingredients and a quick hand come together to craft the perfect plate of pasta in this Mushroom Carbonara. Creamy eggs and cheese, salty pancetta, tender strands of pasta, and succulent mushrooms will earn this recipe a spot in your routine dinner rotation.
Carbonara is made with very simple ingredients and a method that's easy, but precise and can make or break the quality of the dish. Carefully follow my no-fail carbonara method and you'll have a dish that turns out perfectly time and time again.
Ingredients You Need to Make Mushroom Carbonara
- Eggs: large or extra large eggs
- Pecorino Romano: or Parmesan cheese
- Olive Oil: good quality, extra-virgin olive oil
- Pancetta: or guanciale or bacon
- Button Mushrooms: or cremini mushrooms or your favorite mushroom variety
- Spaghetti: or other long, slender pasta
- Salt and Freshly Ground Black Pepper
Thinly sliced mushrooms sautéed until succulent and golden brown add another layer of flavor and texture to carbonara. I’ve called for button mushrooms in this Mushroom Carbonara recipe because they're readily available. But feel free to swap in cremini mushrooms or your favorite variety would work. Just keep the texture of the mushroom in mind when choosing, as some will work better with pasta than others.
With the meaty texture and umami of mushrooms, it's easy to convert this to a vegetarian carbonara recipe, just skip the pancetta!
Carbonara is a pasta dish that originated in Rome, Italy in the mid-20th century. It’s traditionally made with long, slender strands of pasta, cured pork and a combination of eggs and grated hard cheese like parmesan or pecorino Romano that transform into a silky, creamy sauce. Because the dish is so simple, the quality of ingredients and care in preparation are crucial to an exceptional plate of pasta.
No. Traditional carbonara sauce is made without cream.
No. Alfredo sauce is a cream based sauce, carbonara sauce has an egg and cheese base and does not use cream.
Simple, No-Fail Carbonara Method
The key to consistently perfect carbonara is to combine the egg and cheese mixture with the hot pasta, pancetta and mushrooms without curdling the eggs. The key is in how the eggs are prepared before they're added.
First whisk the eggs with cheese and set them aside at room temperature while you sauté the pancetta and mushrooms and cook the pasta. Then add a bit of the hot pasta water to temper the eggs and slowly add to the hot pasta mixture, stirring vigorously until you have pasta, pancetta and mushrooms coated in a glossy sauce. Then you'll divide among serving bowls, garnish each serving, and serve while the dish is hot.
More Classic Italian Pasta Recipes
- Bucatini Carbonara
- Shrimp Carbonara
- Broccoli Rabe and Sausage Pasta
- Easy Shrimp Fra Diavolo
- Pasta Aglio e Olio
- Pasta Alla Norma
- Or see them all here: 45+ Best Pasta Recipes
How to Make Mushrooms Carbonara
Whisk eggs and Pecorino Romano together in a medium bowl and set aside at room temperature.
Brown the pancetta in a little olive oil then transfer to a clean plate, leaving the fat behind. Cook mushrooms in the rendered fat until tender and golden brown then return pancetta to the pot. Stir and remove from heat.
Meanwhile, cook pasta according to package directions, reserving 1 cup of the cooking water. Once the pasta is done, drain and transfer directly to the mushroom mixture and stir to combine.
Temper the egg mixture with a little of the pasta cooking water and add in a steady stream to the pasta mixture, stirring quickly and constantly until well coated (add more cooking water as needed). Divide among serving bowls, garnish with more cheese and serve while it's hot.
Recipe Video (The no-fail carbonara method.)
- 3 large eggs
- 2 ounces grated Pecorino Romano plus more for serving
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 4 ounces diced pancetta or guanciale or bacon (recipe note),
- 12 ounces button mushrooms or cremini mushrooms, thinly sliced
- 12 ounces spaghetti or other long, slender pasta
- salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
- Put a large pot of salted water on to boil.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together eggs and Pecorino Romano; set aside.
- Heat olive oil in a large Dutch oven or other heavy pot over medium heat. Add pancetta; cook and stir until the fat begins to render and the edges are starting to crisp, 6-8 minutes. With a slotted spoon transfer pancetta to a clean plate, leaving the fat. Increase heat to medium-high and add mushrooms to pot; cook and stir 8-10 minutes, or until the liquid has evaporated and mushrooms are golden brown (for optimal browning leave mushrooms undisturbed for last 1-2 minutes). Return pancetta to pot and stir to combine. Remove from heat.
- As soon as you add mushrooms to pot, add pasta to boiling water; cook according to package directions until al dente (firm to the bite). Scoop out and reserve 1 cup pasta water; drain pasta in a colander and transfer immediately to mushrooms and pancetta in pot and stir to combine.
- Whisking constantly, add a scant quarter cup of hot pasta water into the egg and cheese mixture to temper eggs. Pour tempered egg mixture over pasta and mushroom mixture in a steady stream, stirring constantly. Continue to stir until well combined, adding more pasta water as needed. Season to taste with salt and pepper and serve immediately, garnished with more Pecorino Romano if desired.
- Guanciale is traditional for this recipe, but can be challenging to find. Pancetta or bacon stand in nicely.