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Katie's Cucina

Lighter Spaghetti Carbonara

Lighter Spaghetti Carbonara from

Would you hate me if you knew that I ate my first bowl of Spaghetti Carbonara last year in Europe? Yep totally true. I think the whole egg thing has thrown me off all these years, and thus kept me far, far away from the egg based pasta. But while on vacation I tend to get a little more adventurous. I was craving creamy pasta and I gave it a try… and what do you know? I loved it, and then proceeded to gorge myself until I had a stomach ache (which by the way I don’t recommend that).

I was inspired to make a lighter version of spaghetti carbonara at home. I was craving comfort food. I had a busy day at the office and all I wanted to do was eat a quick comforting dinner and then veg on the couch (which lets get real I rarely ever veg on the couch. I typically get my second wind after dinner and start working on blog stuff until the wee-hours of the morning).

Lighter Spaghetti Carbonara from

So on that sluggish evening (this happened be right after I made tons of homemade spaghetti) I knew I wanted to make pasta but I didn’t know what. I typically make my go-to Shrimp Scampi recipe, but on this particular night I did something I haven’t done in a while… I opened a cookbook! gasp! I find myself opening cookbooks less and less and going straight to the internet. And then, of course,  once I open the cookbook I tend to get lost in it for hours just as I would the internet. That’s when I flipped to this glorious recipe. This was also around Easter time when I had leftover Slow Cooker Ham. Might I add, that I never have ham in the refrigerator, so I felt that this recipe was destine to be cooked. I will tell you that Spaghetti Carbonara is not as scary as it might seem… even if you aren’t a fan of egg yolks–its creamy and comforting and brought me right back to Italy!

Adapted from Cooking Light Five Star Recipes

Spaghetti Carbonara

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 15 minutes

Total Time: 20 minutes

Yield: 4

1 cup


  • 8 oz fresh spaghetti
  • 1 cup chopped cooked ham
  • 1/3 cup Parmigiano-Reggiano
  • 1/4 cup reduced-fat sour cream
  • 1/4 cup skim milk
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper, coarsely ground
  • 1/4 cup chives, diced


  1. Cook fresh spaghetti for 3 minutes or until al dente. Before draining the pasta, reserve 1/2 cup of pasta water. Drain the pasta and set to the side.
  2. Heat a large pan over medium heat. Add the diced ham and cook for 2 minutes. Add the pasta to the pan and stir well.
  3. In a large bowl, combine the Parmigiano-Reginnao, sour cream, skim milk, salt, and lightly beaten eggs. Mix well, then add the reserved pasta water. Pour the egg mixture over the pasta and stir until incorporated and cook for 5 minutes. You'll want the sauce to thicken--make sure it does not boil. Stir in ground black pepper and fresh chives and serve immediately.

Disclosure: There are affiliate links in this post.


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26 Responses to “Lighter Spaghetti Carbonara”

  1. Chung-Ah | Damn Delicious posted on April 23, 2013 at 5:41 pm (#)

    Carbonara is the best! And I can’t believe you had it for the first time last year! The egg thing is a weird but it’s totally worth it!

    Love this lightened up version – I may just have to make this for dinner tonight.

    • Katie replied on April 25th, 2013 at 7:47 am

      I know Chung-Ah I’m crazy!!! What was I thinking waiting this long in my life to try it!

  2. Julie @ Julie's Eats & Treats posted on April 23, 2013 at 10:24 pm (#)

    So you are one step ahead of me…I still haven’t tried it, but now I’m going to have to especially since this is lightened up!

    • Katie replied on April 25th, 2013 at 7:47 am

      Oh Julie–I’m glad I’m not alone! 😉

  3. Paula@SweetPea posted on April 24, 2013 at 6:25 am (#)

    This looks great! I make a light version with turkey bacon but yours sounds even better with ham.

    • Katie replied on April 25th, 2013 at 7:48 am

      I like the idea with Turkey bacon… if you try it let me know how it works out!

  4. Cassie | Bake Your Day posted on April 24, 2013 at 8:53 am (#)

    Love the sound of this, Katie! I’m a fan of carbonara but rarely make it because it’s not so healthy. I love your lighter twist!

  5. Meagan @ A Zesty Bite posted on April 24, 2013 at 10:17 am (#)

    I was thrown off by the runny egg too. I tried it and fell in love with the dish. This just makes it better because it is lighter.

    • Katie replied on April 25th, 2013 at 7:49 am

      Thanks Maegan! I agree– with the egg part. Not scared any more!

  6. addie | culicurious posted on April 24, 2013 at 11:50 am (#)

    Looks delicious! I’ve actually only made carbonara once, but I did enjoy it. 🙂

  7. Ashley Bee (Quarter Life Crisis Cuisine) posted on April 24, 2013 at 12:46 pm (#)

    This was my go-to cheap food in college. SO easy to make, pretty inexpensive, keeps well, and is DELICIOUS. My roommates thought I was uber-gourmet but in reality it was too simple.

    • Katie replied on April 25th, 2013 at 7:49 am

      Love it Ashley!!!!

  8. Jessica@AKitchenAddiction posted on April 24, 2013 at 4:29 pm (#)

    Yum, this is some great comfort food! Love that you lightened it up a bit!

  9. Lauren@ Climbing Grier Mountain posted on April 24, 2013 at 4:45 pm (#)

    OMG! This is totally genius! I definitely could use a big bowl of this right now!

  10. Ashley posted on April 24, 2013 at 6:05 pm (#)

    Love a lightened up version of something so yummy. Just means I get to eat more! 🙂 Looks super yummy!

  11. Gerry @ Foodness Gracious posted on April 24, 2013 at 8:50 pm (#)

    Ahh, carbonara is one of my fav pasta dishes. I think its the silkiness of it 🙂

    • Katie replied on April 25th, 2013 at 7:50 am

      That very well could be it, Gerry! Love it!

  12. Stephanie @ Eat. Drink. Love. posted on April 24, 2013 at 11:37 pm (#)

    I’m so glad you posted this because I love carbonara, but I never order it because I know how heavy it is. This version looks so rich!

    • Katie replied on April 25th, 2013 at 7:50 am

      Stephanie–definitely give this a try!

  13. Liz @ The Lemon Bowl posted on April 25, 2013 at 8:40 am (#)

    This sounds so good!!! And I actually have bacon in the house! (Wish I had ham..)

  14. Deneen posted on April 25, 2013 at 9:03 pm (#)

    Yum one of my favorites. I am so excited to follow on this blog too!

    • Katie replied on April 26th, 2013 at 8:12 am

      Thanks Deneen! I’m happy you stopped by!

  15. Nutmeg Nanny posted on April 26, 2013 at 10:38 am (#)

    Oh, this looks perfect 🙂 I love spaghetti carbonara, I’d love to try this recipe.

  16. Aggie posted on April 27, 2013 at 2:10 pm (#)

    This looks so delicious Katie. Carbonara reminds me of my grandparents, they always made it when I was a kid. It’s been way to long since I’ve had it.

    • Katie replied on April 29th, 2013 at 7:12 am

      Awe very cool Aggie… you should try making the lighter version for your family and start a new tradition!


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