How Ina Garten gives carbonara a fresher, lighter twist
Although Barefoot Contessa’s spring spaghetti recipe is delicious, it’s not the only way to lighten up carbonara. If you’re looking to move away from pancetta (or bacon, a popular substitute), try substituting it with turkey bacon, Canadian bacon, or charred bacon. If you’re vegetarian, you can also add olives or mushrooms – they’re not an exact copy, but they can provide a salty or umami element to your pasta that would normally be provided by pancetta.
It’s also possible to omit the heavy cream entirely, as long as you settle for a slightly thinner dish. Alternatively, scoop a cup of pasta water while the pasta is cooking and use it to make a sauce by mixing it with eggs and cheese. Garten does this by combining pasta water, eggs, yolks, and cream in her carbonara sauce—but try substituting the cream for the same amount of water and adding a little more Parm for a lighter version. Alternatively, replace the heavy cream with something lighter like half milk, whole milk, or a mixture of Greek yogurt and milk. Immediately after combining the ingredients, mix the mixture with the pasta and add the protein.