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Spaghetti Carbonara
with spinach / mushrooms / sunflower seeds

Active: 40 Total: 40
Pasta Carbonara is one of those classic Italian dishes that feels fancy but uses easy-to-find ingredients. Once you've learned to make it, you'll turn to it again and again as a delicious and quick weeknight meal. This version with mushrooms and spinach was last featured in 2019.
Smarts #1: Be sure to combine the pasta and eggs when the pasta is still very hot - it will gently "cook" the eggs into a creamy sauce.
Smarts #2: Sunflower seeds on top of the finished dish are optional, but they add a nice crunch!

Ingredients

Metric
Servings:
4
Spaghetti Carbonara with Spinach and Mushrooms:
  • Cheese, parmesan - 2 oz, grated
  • Mushrooms, any button - 8 oz, sliced (look for pre-sliced to save time)
  • Spinach, any type - 5 oz, roughly chopped
  • Eggs - 2
  • Egg yolks - 1 (discard egg whites)
  • Lemon zest - 1/2 tsp
  • Butter - 1 Tbsp
  • Pasta, spaghetti or linguini - 10 oz
  • Black pepper - 1/2 tsp
  • Red pepper flakes (opt) - 1/2 tsp
  • Sunflower seeds (opt) - 1/4 cup

Nutrition Facts

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Prep

  1. Cheese - Grate cheese. (Can be done up to 5 days ahead)
  2. Mushrooms / Spinach - Prep as directed and store separately. (Can be done up to 3 days ahead)
  3. Make sauce - In a large mixing bowl, whisk together eggs, egg yolks, cheese, and lemon zest. (You want this sauce ready to go so that it can be tossed with pasta just after it finishes cooking.)

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Make

  1. Bring a saucepan of salted water to boil. (If you've never made carbonara before, check out this video.)
  2. While water boils, heat a large skillet over medium heat. Add butter. When butter is melted, add mushrooms and saute until mushrooms are tender and brown, 4 to 5 minutes.
  3. While mushrooms cook, keep an eye on the pot of water. When water is boiling, add pasta to boiling water and cook until al dente, tender but not soggy. Reserve 1/4 cup (59 mL) of pasta water (for 4 servings, adjust accordingly).
  4. Return to mushrooms and season with some salt. Add spinach and saute until spinach is wilted, ~3 minutes more. Turn off heat under the pan.
  5. Working quickly so that the pasta stays hot, drain pasta.
  6. Add hot pasta and reserved pasta water to egg sauce. Toss vigorously with tongs or two forks until eggs coat the pasta, creating a creamy sauce. (The eggs will “cook” from the heat of the pasta.)
  7. Stir in spinach and mushrooms. Season with some salt.
  8. Transfer carbonara to serving plates. Top with black pepper, red pepper flakes (if using), and sunflower seeds. Enjoy!

Nutrition Facts

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Reviews

Ratings

Original (40)
Gluten-free (4)
Paleo (2)
Vegetarian (9)

19 reviews

I prefer the one from a few years ago with asparagus. But easy enough to make.

By: Jennifer
Posted: Oct 20, 2021
Diet: Original
0 Helpful

Sunflower seeds added good texture.

By: Julie
Posted: Oct 20, 2021
Diet: Vegetarian
0 Helpful

This was great!! I bumped it up to 16oz pasta, 3 eggs, 2 yolks, 4 oz cheese, 10 slices bacon. Mushrooms and spinach stayed the same and the ratios seemed fine.

By: Jennifer
Posted: Sep 22, 2021
Diet: Gluten-free
0 Helpful

Heavily improvised because my spinach sat too long in the fridge and we like a protein with our pasta, I added shrimp and used asparagus needing to be cooked. Some precooked bacon pieces instead of bacon rounded out the improvisation and sped up the process. All in all a solidly delicious meal.

By: Alana
Posted: Sep 14, 2021
Diet: Original
0 Helpful

I was so excited about this but it didn't feel worth all the trouble. I used chickpea pasta, which may have been my first problem -- it was too chewy and heavy; this meal really calls for simple white-flour pasta. Also cooking all the bacon felt like a waste of time and bacon -- as much as I love good bacon, I don't think the meal would have been much different with prepackaged bacon bits. Lemon zest was the best part.

By: MEGAN
Posted: Sep 10, 2021
Diet: Gluten-free
0 Helpful

Taste was ok. Sauce seemed a little dry instead of creamy. Thought the mushrooms would add more flavor bot oddly they did not ( even though used baby Bella’s).

By: Jane
Posted: Aug 27, 2021
Diet: Original
0 Helpful