Spaghetti Carbonara with Garlic Scapes

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Discover a delicious twist on traditional Spaghetti Carbonara with the addition of garlic scapes and authentic guanciale for an unforgettable Italian meal. Click to learn how to create this savory, creamy dish that's sure to impress!
Quick & Easy

Spaghetti Carbonara is the ultimate comfort food, a creamy and savory dish that's steeped in Italian tradition. But what if we told you it could get even better? By adding garlic scapes, we've given this classic a delightful twist that enhances its rich flavors with a subtle garlicky punch. Featuring guanciale, a cured pork cheek that's a staple in authentic Carbonara, this recipe promises a meal that's both luxurious and irresistibly delicious.

Guanciale, the star of this dish, can be a little tricky to find, but it's well worth the hunt. In the Portland, OR metro area, you're in luck—head to specialty stores like Providore Fine Foods, Laurelhurst Market, or check out the local meat markets or farmer's markets for locally sourced guanciale. Trust us, this flavorful cut of meat adds a depth and richness that's unmatched, making every bite of your Carbonara an experience to savor.

Customizing This Dish

  • Not everyone has access to guanciale or garlic scapes, and that's perfectly okay. Pancetta can be used as a substitute for guanciale. If garlic scapes are out of season or hard to find, substitute with some minced garlic and thin spring asparagus spears for a similar taste and texture.
  • Feel free to experiment with different types of pasta too—rigatoni or bucatini can make for an exciting variation on the traditional spaghetti.
  • For those who prefer a vegetarian option, omit the guanciale and replace it with sautéed mushrooms or smoked tofu to add a rich, umami element. Just make sure to adjust the seasoning, as the guanciale’s saltiness is a key component of the dish.

Storing and Reheating Leftovers

Spaghetti Carbonara is best enjoyed fresh, but if you find yourself with leftovers, they can still be delicious the next day. Transfer any leftovers to an airtight container and store in the refrigerator for up to 2 days.

When you're ready to reheat, avoid the microwave, which can turn the pasta rubbery and make the sauce separate. Instead, reheat your Carbonara gently on the stove. Place the pasta in a skillet over low heat, adding a splash of chicken broth, milk, or reserved pasta water to help revive the sauce's creamy texture. Stir continuously until heated through, being careful not to scramble the eggs in the sauce. With these tips, you'll have a meal that's almost as good as when it was first made.

Spaghetti Carbonara with Garlic Scapes

Spaghetti Carbonara with Garlic Scapes

Prep Time:
15 min
Cook Time:
10 min
Total Time:
24 min
Equipment Needed
  • 8 oz spaghetti
  • 5 oz guanciale, diced (can sub pancetta)
  • 4 large egg yolks
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 cup freshly grated Pecorino Romano cheese
  • 1 cup garlic scapes, chopped into 1-inch pieces
  • Salt, to taste
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • Lemon wedges and chopped fresh parsley, to garnish
  1. In a mixing bowl, whisk together the egg yolks, whole egg, and grated Pecorino Romano cheese. Set aside.
  2. Fill a large pot with water and add a generous amount of salt. Bring to a boil. Add the spaghetti and cook according to the package instructions until al dente (about 9 minutes). Reserve about 1 cup of pasta water before draining.
  3. While the pasta is cooking, heat a large skillet over medium heat. Add the diced guanciale and cook until it is crispy and has rendered its fat, about 5-7 minutes. Darin all but 1 -1 1/2 tbsp of rendered fat from the pan before moving to the next step.
  4. Add the chopped garlic scapes to the skillet and sauté for an additional 2-3 minutes until tender but still bright green.
  5. Once the pasta is done, use a slotted spoon or fine mesh strainer to transfer it directly from the pot to the skillet with the guanciale and garlic scapes. Reduce the heat to low.
  6. Toss the pasta in the skillet to coat it in the guanciale fat. Remove the skillet from the heat and quickly pour the egg and cheese mixture over the pasta, tossing continuously to create a creamy sauce. Add reserved pasta water a little at a time as needed to achieve the desired consistency.
  7. Season with freshly ground black pepper to taste. Garnish with fresh parsley and lemon wedges. Serve immediately.
Recipe Tips
  • Carbonara might seem intimidating at first, but it's really quite quick and easy to make. They key to getting that rich & creamy sauce and not end up with a plate of scrambled egg pasta is all in the timing. Be sure that your water is boiling and your sauté pan is nice and hot before you start cooking. Add your pasta to the water at the same time that you add the guanciale to the hot pan to fry. This should ensure that your pasta is done at the same time that your guanciale and scapes are ready for the next step. Then, when you add the pasta and the egg/cheese mixture to the pan, immediately start tossing it all to gently warm and temper the eggs as well as melt the cheese. This will save you from that awkward scramble egg situation.
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