Tuesday, April 20, 2021
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Carbonara Recipes: Three ways to spice up an Italian classic

From sausage-based to carbonara cakes, there are many ways to level up this classic pasta dish!

Throughout the entire quarantine, we have all been looking for new dishes to try or different ways to amp up dishes we already love to provide some variety to our everyday menu. Most of us have probably learned at least one or two new dishes that we could now cook for our family and friends once the pandemic is over, and we’re once again allowed to gather for a meal together.

One of these “new” dishes that people have been cooking in their kitchens is some version of the Italian staple, carbonara. Yes, that creamy, scrumptious pasta dish with mushroom and bacon. It’s definitely good on its own, but imagine revamping it and adding a twist to the dish we’ve already grown to love? We list down three recipes that amp up the carbonara that is a favorite of both adults and kids! (Read: 10 grocery must-haves to help you plan a week’s worth of meals)

Mackerel Carbonara

Video screenshot from James Food Vlog

Adults, and some kids, for sure love the mackerel that can be bought in cans from the grocery store. It’s a cheap and easy-to-make alternative to eating oh-so-good mackerel at home. Now, you can put it to use to revamp your carbonara!


  • 320g dried penne
  • 1 onion
  • 1 large courgette
  • rosemary
  • 130g mackerel
  • oil (preferably olive oil)
  • 2 eggs
  • 100ml milk
  • 40g Parmesan cheese
  • 1 lemon (optional)


  • Cook pasta according to package directions. Make sure to keep 1 cup of water from the pan aside.
  • Peel the onions cut finely. Cut the courgette lengthwise, remove the fluffy part, and slice into 1cm thick pieces.
  • Chop the rosemary. Then, slice the mackerel into 1cm thick pieces.
  • In a pre-heated pan with oil, place the onions and courgette, put salt and pepper, and stir occasionally.
  • After 5 minutes, add the rosemary and mackerel. Wait for the mackerel to turn golden brown.
  • While waiting, beat the eggs in a bowl and mix in the milk. After mixing, add the parmesan and combine well.
  • Add the cooked pasta into the pan with mackerel and mix well.
  • Remove the pan (with pasta) from the heat for a few seconds and pour in the cup of water to cool it down.
  • Quickly add the milk mixture and combine thoroughly until the sauce thickens. You can add more parmesan and a bit of lemon juice if you want.

Sausage Carbonara

Photo from David Loftus / Jamie Oliver

If you prefer sausages (or maybe longganisa) over shredded meat on your carbonara, then this recipe is perfect for you!


  • 150g dried tagliatelle
  • 3 sausages (or longganisa)
  • 15g parsley
  • 1 large egg
  • 30g Parmesan cheese


  • Cook pasta according to package directions. Make sure to keep 1 cup of water from the pan aside.
  • Remove the skin of the sausage (or longganisa) and shape the meat into evenly-sized balls.
  • Coat the meat balls in black pepper and fry it medium heat. Cook until meat is golden brown.
  • Chop the parsley and beat and mix with the egg. Pour some from the cup of water from the pasta to the mixture. Finally, add in the parmesan.
  • Add the pasta into the sausage pan and pour the egg mixture. Remove from the heat for 1 minute and mix.
  • Pour the rest of the water and season with salt and pepper. Once thoroughly combined, you can now serve the pasta.

Carbonara Cake

Photo from Botticelli

Yes, you read that right, a cake out of carbonara! If you’re looking for a crispy way to serve your carbonara, then here it is.


  • 300g dried spaghetti
  • oil (preferably olive oil)
  • 100g hard cheese (e.g. parmesan, cheddar)
  • 3 eggs
  • 250ml cream
  • 250g cooked ham
  • rosemary


  • Preheat the oven to 180˚C.
  • Cook the pasta and once cooked, dry it out.
  • Coat the inside of a oven-safe pan with oil and grate some cheese onto the base.
  • Once the past is cool, pull it apart. In a large bowl, beat the eggs and add the pasta. Season the mixture with pepper.
  • Add in the cream, ham, cheese, and chopped rosemary. Thoroughly mix all ingredients.
  • Place it in the greased pan and bake for 35 minutes, or until it turns crispy and golden brown.
  • Take it out of the oven and let it cool for 3 minutes. Then gently run the knife on the sides of the pasta to take it out. Serve with lemon-dressed salad.

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