Instant Pot Pasta Carbonara Recipe – This is one of the easiest and tastiest sauces you will ever make in the Instant Pot; genuinely amazing! If you love a great pasta dish, this recipe is for you! The pasta is cooked with the sauce for an actual one-pot meal.
What can really be better than a pasta tossed with bacon, garlic, Parmesan cheese, and heavy cream? You have all the makings for a great dinner or lunch, and it all comes together in minutes!
What Is Instant Pot Pasta Carbonara?
If you have never heard of Pasta Carbonara, it is a classic Italian dish every Italian restaurant has on its menu, including Olive Garden, Bertuccis, and even the fancy Italian restaurants.
All Pasta Carbonara includes the same sauce, including pancetta (Italian bacon), garlic, heavy cream, cheese, and egg. The sauce is cooked and then usually tosed with fettucini pasta.
You can make a lot of substitutions for this recipe, and you can use just bacon for the pancetta. And if you don’t have fettuccine, use regular spaghetti. It will still taste amazing!
Instant Pot Pasta Carbonara Ingredients
Pasta Carbonara is a classic Italian pasta dish known for its creamy sauce made with eggs, cheese, and pancetta. Here are the ingredients you’ll need:
- Spaghetti: Traditional Carbonara is made with long pasta like spaghetti or bucatini. Use your favorite pasta or what you have on hand.
- Eggs: You’ll need fresh eggs to create the creamy sauce that coats the pasta.
- Pancetta or Guanciale: Pancetta is a type of Italian bacon commonly used in Carbonara. Guanciale cured pork jowl is another traditional option. Both add a rich, savory flavor.
- Parmesan Cheese: Freshly grated cheese contributes to the creaminess and provides a salty, nutty taste.
- Pecorino Romano Cheese: This cheese, made from sheep’s milk, adds a sharp and salty flavor characteristic of Carbonara.
- Black Pepper: Coarsely ground black pepper is a must for Carbonara. It provides a nice contrast to the creamy sauce and adds a touch of heat.
- Garlic: Some variations of Carbonara include garlic for an extra layer of flavor, while others omit it.
- Olive Oil: A small amount of olive oil is used for sautéing the pancetta and garlic.
- Salt: Salt is used to season the pasta water and enhance the dish’s overall flavor.
How To Make Pasta Carbonara Recipe In Pressure Cooker
- Place the bacon (or pancetta) into the Instant Pot and press saute.
- Saute the bacon until it is cooked. When cooked, place it on a lined plate with a paper towel or a napkin to soak up the grease.
- Then, place the diced garlic and onion inside and cook until they are both translucent, about 3 minutes.
- When the onions and garlic are done, add the pasta, water, and peas to the Instant Pot.
- Press the manual and set the time for 5 minutes on high pressure. When the pasta is done, do a quick release.
- Mix the salt, pepper, eggs, and cheese in a bowl.
- When the pressure comes down, stir in the mixture and add the Parmesan cheese and heavy cream.
- Blend all together.
- Dice the bacon up and sprinkle on top, garnish with extra cheese and parsley.
Pro Tips For Cooking Instant Pot Pasta Carbonara
To perfect your Instant Pot Pasta Carbonara, consider these pro tips:
- Use High-Quality Ingredients: Since Pasta Carbonara relies on a few simple ingredients, ensure they’re high quality. Fresh eggs, authentic Italian pancetta or guanciale, and freshly grated cheeses will elevate the dish.
- Use the Right Cheese Ratio: Balancing the Parmesan and Pecorino Romano cheeses is crucial. The sharpness of Pecorino adds a distinct flavor, so don’t skimp on it. Aim for a ratio of roughly 1 part Parmesan to 2 parts Pecorino.
- Room Temperature Eggs: Allow your eggs to come to room temperature before mixing them into the pasta. This helps create a smoother, creamier sauce.
- Don’t Overcook the Eggs: When adding the egg and cheese mixture to the hot pasta, be cautious not to cook it into scrambled eggs. Quickly toss the pasta in the mixture and remove it from the heat to avoid curdling.
- Cook Pasta Al Dente: Cook your pasta until it’s just al dente, as it will continue to cook slightly when combined with the sauce. Overcooked pasta can result in a mushy texture.
- Save Pasta Water: Reserve a cup of starchy pasta cooking water before draining the pasta. You may need it to adjust the sauce’s consistency later.
- Cook Pancetta/Guanciale Crispy: Achieving crispy pancetta or guanciale is key for texture and flavor. Cook them until they’re golden brown and slightly crispy.
- Season Thoughtfully: Be mindful of salt throughout the cooking process. The pasta water and the cheese are salty, so taste and adjust as needed.
- Freshly Ground Black Pepper: Use freshly ground black pepper to add a bold, aromatic kick to your Carbonara. The coarseness of freshly ground pepper works exceptionally well in this dish.
- Serve Immediately: Carbonara is best enjoyed right after it’s made. The creamy sauce clings to the pasta when served fresh, ensuring the best flavor and texture.
By following these tips, you’ll create a restaurant-quality Instant Pot Pasta Carbonara that will impress your taste buds and those lucky enough to join you at the table.
Can I use bacon instead of pancetta or guanciale?
Yes, you can use bacon as a substitute for pancetta or guanciale if you can’t find them. However, remember that the flavor will differ slightly as bacon is smoked, while pancetta and guanciale are not.
Can I use regular grated cheese instead of Pecorino Romano and Parmesan?
While Pecorino Romano and Parmesan cheese are traditional choices for Pasta Carbonara, you can use other hard cheeses. Just be aware that it might alter the flavor profile slightly.
How do I prevent the eggs from turning into scrambled eggs when making the sauce?
To avoid scrambling the eggs, remove the Instant Pot from the heat source when adding the egg and cheese mixture to the pasta. Quickly toss the pasta in the sauce; the residual heat will thicken the sauce without overcooking the eggs.
Can I make Pasta Carbonara without eggs?
Traditional Pasta Carbonara relies on eggs for its creamy texture and flavor. However, if you have dietary restrictions or allergies, there are eggless variations of Carbonara that use heavy cream or dairy-free alternatives.
How do I adjust the sauce consistency if it’s too thick or thin?
If the sauce is too thick, add reserved pasta cooking water, a tablespoon at a time, until it reaches the desired consistency. If it’s too thin, return the pot to low heat and toss the pasta until it thickens.
Can I store leftover Pasta Carbonara and reheat it later?
Carbonara is best enjoyed freshly made, but you can store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to two days. Reheat it gently in the microwave or stove, adding a splash of water or cream to restore the creamy texture.
Can I freeze Pasta Carbonara?
Freezing Pasta Carbonara is not recommended, as the creamy sauce may not hold up well during freezing and thawing. It’s best to consume it fresh.
Can I make Instant Pot Pasta Carbonara with gluten-free pasta?
You can use gluten-free pasta to make a gluten-free version of Pasta Carbonara. Just follow the cooking instructions on the gluten-free pasta package, as it may require different cooking times.
What type of pasta works best for Carbonara?
Traditional Pasta Carbonara is made with spaghetti, but you can use other pasta shapes like fettuccine, rigatoni, or bucatini. Choose a pasta you enjoy; the sauce will work well with various shapes.
More Instant Pot Recipes
- Instant Pot Chicken Alfredo
- Copycat Instant Pot Chili’s Cajun Chicken Pasta
- Instant Pot Blackened Chicken Penne
- Instant Pot Suddenly Salad
Instant Pot Pasta Carbonara Recipe
- 12 ounces spaghetti , or your preferred pasta
- 4 ounces pancetta
- 3 large eggs
- 1 cup Pecorino Romano cheese, grated
- 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/2 teaspoon Freshly ground black pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon Fresh parsley, chopped (for garnish)
- 1/2 teaspoon Salt, to taste
- Crack the eggs into a bowl and whisk them. Add the grated Pecorino Romano and Parmesan cheeses to the eggs. Mix until well combined. Set aside.
- Dice the pancetta or guanciale and mince the garlic.
- Turn on your Instant Pot and select the “Sauté” function. Add the diced pancetta or guanciale and cook until it becomes crispy and releases its fat, about 4-5 minutes.
- Remove the cooked pancetta/guanciale using a slotted spoon and set it aside, leaving the fat in the Instant Pot.
- Add the minced garlic to the Instant Pot and sauté for about 30 seconds until fragrant.
- Break the spaghetti in half and add it to the Instant Pot. Stir well to coat the pasta with the fat.
- Add 3 cups of water (or enough to fully cover the pasta), a pinch of salt, and a generous amount of freshly ground black pepper.
- Cancel the “Sauté” function, close the Instant Pot lid, and set the vent to “Sealing.” Select the “Pressure Cook” or “Manual” function and set it to cook on high pressure for half of the pasta’s package cooking time minus 1-2 minutes (usually around 3-4 minutes).
- Once the cooking cycle is complete, perform a quick pressure release. Carefully open the lid once the pressure has fully released.
- The pasta should be al dente. If it’s slightly undercooked, that’s fine, as it will continue to cook in the next step.
- Immediately add the whisked egg and cheese mixture to the cooked pasta. Stir vigorously to combine, allowing the residual heat to cook the eggs and create a creamy sauce. If needed, you can turn on the “Sauté” function on low to help thicken the sauce, but be sure to stir continuously to avoid scrambling the eggs.
- Add the crispy pancetta or guanciale back into the pot and stir it in.
- Once the sauce is creamy and the pasta is well-coated, turn off the Instant Pot. Taste and adjust the seasoning with salt and more black pepper if desired.
- Serve the Pasta Carbonara immediately, garnished with chopped fresh parsley and additional grated cheese, if desired.
- Pressure Cooker, Instant Pot or Ninja Foodi