Single Serving Satisfaction: Easy Carbonara For One

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Craving a rich, satisfying pasta dish but flying solo tonight? Fear not, because carbonara comes to the rescue! This classic Italian recipe, traditionally made with eggs, cheese, cured pork, and black pepper, translates perfectly to a single serving. Forget takeout – with minimal ingredients and a quick cooking time, you can whip up a restaurant-worthy carbonara in your own kitchen in under 30 minutes.

This guide will walk you through everything you need to know to create a perfect one-person carbonara, from gathering the essential ingredients to plating your masterpiece.

Spaghetti Carbonara For One — Alison Roman
Spaghetti Carbonara For One — Alison Roman

Ingredients (serves 1)

2 ounces dried spaghetti (or your favorite pasta)

  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 1/4 cup freshly grated Pecorino Romano cheese (plus extra for serving)
  • 1 tablespoon grated Parmesan cheese (optional)
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 slices thinly sliced pancetta, bacon, or guanciale (chopped)
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • Salt, to taste

  • Directions

    1. Prep the Pasta: Fill a pot with enough salted water to comfortably cook the pasta. Bring the water to a rolling boil over high heat.
    2. Cook the Pasta: Once the water is boiling, add the spaghetti and cook according to package instructions, typically 8-12 minutes, for al dente (slightly firm to the bite) pasta. Reserve about 1/4 cup of the pasta water before draining.
    3. Whisk the Egg Mixture: While the pasta cooks, whisk together the egg yolk, Pecorino Romano cheese, Parmesan cheese (if using), and a generous amount of freshly ground black pepper in a small bowl.
    4. Crisp Up the Pancetta: In a separate pan, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the chopped pancetta, bacon, or guanciale and cook until crispy and golden brown, about 5-7 minutes. Remove the pancetta from the pan with a slotted spoon and set aside on a paper towel to drain any excess grease.
    5. Emulsify the Sauce: Once the pasta is cooked, drain it, reserving some of the pasta water. Return the pasta to the pot along with the butter. Toss the pasta with the butter until melted and well coated.
    6. Combine Everything: Immediately remove the pot from the heat and quickly add the egg mixture and reserved pasta water. Toss vigorously until the sauce coats the pasta and thickens slightly. The heat from the pasta will gently cook the egg yolk, creating a creamy texture.
    7. Serve and Enjoy: Plate your delicious carbonara and top it with the crispy pancetta and a sprinkle of additional Pecorino Romano cheese (optional). Enjoy your solo pasta feast!

    Nutrition Facts (approximate per serving)

    Calories: 600

  • Fat: 35g
  • Saturated Fat: 18g
  • Cholesterol: 230mg
  • Sodium: 600mg
  • Carbohydrates: 45g
  • Fiber: 2g
  • Sugar: 3g
  • Protein: 20g

  • Please note: This is a general estimate and the actual nutritional content will vary depending on the specific ingredients you use.


    This one-person carbonara recipe proves that delicious meals don’t have to be complicated or require a crowd. With its simple ingredients and easy-to-follow steps, you can create a restaurant-quality pasta dish in the comfort of your own kitchen.

    So the next time you’re craving a creamy, satisfying meal, ditch the takeout menus and whip up this amazing one-person carbonara.

    Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

    1. Can I use a different type of cheese?

    Yes, you can! While Pecorino Romano is the traditional cheese for carbonara, you can substitute Parmesan cheese or even a combination of the two. Just be aware that different cheeses may have slightly different flavors and textures.

    2. What if I don’t have pancetta, bacon, or guanciale?

    No problem! You can leave out the cured pork altogether for a vegetarian version. You can also substitute sliced mushrooms, sauteed until browned, for a meaty-like texture.

    3. My sauce seems too thin! What can I do?

    If your sauce isn’t thick enough, it might be because you added too much pasta water or didn’t cook the pasta al dente. Next time, try reserving a bit more pasta water and tossing the pasta with the egg mixture over low heat, allowing the sauce to thicken slightly before removing it from the heat.