Pasta Carbonara with Leeks and Lemon

When it comes to carbonara, there are those who adhere to the original combination of egg, guanciale (or bacon or pancetta in its place), and grated cheese, and those who favor adding heavy cream to the mix. We say there’s room for both in your repertoire, including this version that’s enhanced with the flavor of sautéed leeks. Fresh parsley and lemon zest and juice add brightness.


6 slices bacon, cut crosswise into 1-inch pieces

4 leeks (white and pale-green parts only), halved lengthwise, thinly sliced, rinsed well

Coarse salt and ground pepper

12 ounces short pasta, such as Gemelli or campanelle

2 large eggs

¼cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, plus more for serving

1 tablespoon finely grated lemon zest, plus 1 tablespoon lemon juice

½ cup fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves, coarsely chopped

1. In a large skillet, cook bacon over medium, stirring occasionally, until crisp, 8 to 10 minutes. With a slotted spoon, transfer bacon to paper towels to drain. Pour off all but 2 tablespoons of fat from the skillet. Add leeks, season with salt and pepper, and cook, stirring often, until leeks are golden brown, about 10 minutes.

2. Meanwhile, cook pasta in a pot of salted boiling water until al dente, according to package instructions. In a large bowl, whisk together eggs, cheese, lemon zest, and juice.

3. Measure out ¼ cup of pasta water and whisk into the egg mixture. Drain pasta and immediately add to egg mixture, along with bacon, leeks, and parsley. Season with salt and pepper, and stir to combine. Sprinkle with more cheese, and serve immediately.

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