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Pancetta and Caramelised Leek Carbonara

This isn’t far off the classic well loved Carbonara but by adding the caramelised sweat leeks and crispy pancetta crumb it takes it up a level. This is very much about fresh and few ingredients. I made this recipe with fresh pasta (most supermarkets sell it now) but equally you can sub it for dried and it will still be unreal!

Pancetta and Caramelised Leek Carbonara

Total Time45 mins

Course: Main Course

Cuisine: Italian

Keyword: pasta

Servings: 2


  1. 100 grams Smoked pancetta

  2. 1 Leek thinly sliced

  3. 2 Egg yolks

  4. 65 grams Parmasan + Pecorino (save some for serving) If you don't have pecorino just use 65g parm

  5. 220 grams fresh pasta If using dried 180g

  6. 1/2 tsp Cracked black pepper

  7. 2 rasher Pancetta or parma ham Optional for crispy crumb topping

  8. Salt


Optional: In a pan crisp up your pancetta or parma ham rashers for 2 mins and set aside for serving.

Fill a saucepan with water and 1tbsp of salt, bring to a boil.

In a bowl combine the egg yolks, 80% of the cheese and the cracked pepper. Set aside.

In a pan fry the pancetta for 5 min or until crispy (no oil needed), transfer to a side dish leaving the pancetta fat in the pan.

Add your sliced leeks into the pan with the pancetta fat and cook on a medium heat for 10-15 mins until nicely caramelised. Add the cooked pancetta back to the pan turn the heat off.

Cook your pasta in the boiling salted water.

A few minutes before the pasta is cooked, add a cup of the starchy pasta water to the eggy mixture and transfer to the pan with leeks/pancetta.

Add the cooked pasta to the pan (set aside some pasta water you may need it) and keep it moving for a few minutes, the residual heat from the pasta and pan should thicken the sauce. If it's looking a little watery turn the heat to low and keep it moving until you have a thick glossy sauce coating the pasta. If too thick add a little of that reserved pasta water. Toss in the remaining cheese.

Finally crumble the crispy pancetta on top for added crunch.


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