Creamy, cheesy, and not even close to classic.
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When it comes to carbonara, I’m generally a stickler. It is something that I fell madly in love with at the first bite and that is why I always want it like the first time: spaghetti, gaunciale, pecorino Romano, eggs and a lot of black pepper. NO peas, thank you very much. But when it comes to a casserole Inspired by that beloved dish, I can be a bit more flexible. Here, a bit of short pasta is mixed with many of those ingredients in a creamy bake that delivers much of the same flavor in one convenient pan. You can’t argue with the flavor of the carbonara and you can’t argue with the convenience of the casserole, so while you might call me a purist, I’m fully into this mix.
If you’ve already made baked mac and cheese from scratch, the process here is pretty much in line with that. Start by making a basic bechamel sauce and throw in some white cheddar, pecorino romano, and parm to make it downright cheesy with lots of depth of flavor. Pecorino is the only thing true to the classic carbonara, but I promise you won’t be sad about the others joining the party.
This is mixed with the pasta and cooked with bacon, eggs and peas and cooked until crisp and golden brown. I know I said I don’t do carbonara but here where the sauce is thicker and a little richer, they give it a sweet touch to cut through the richness. Plays. I tell her to season to taste with salt and pepper, but be sure to use abundance black pepper – helps define the dish. Any short pasta will work, but something like a tube or shell captures the creaminess better. If heaven is cheese and carbs, this is heaven in a pan, and I have a feeling it just might be.
Creamy Carbonara Casserole
Preparation time 15m
Cooking time 30 min
2.8 Evaluated 2.8 out of 5 Rated by 9 reviewers
Allergens: Milk, Eggs, Gluten
- 1/2 pound short pasta such as macaroni, rigatoni, or ziti
For the sauce:
- 4 tablespoons of unsalted butter
- 4 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 2 cups of milk
- 1 1/2 cups sharp white cheddar cheese, shredded and divided
- 1/2 cup pecorino romano, grated and divided
- 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, grated and divided
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- 2 large eggs, beaten
- 8 slices of bacon, cooked and chopped
- 1/2 cup frozen peas
- Preheat oven to 375°F.
- In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook the pasta al dente. Drain and reserve.
- While the pasta boils, melt the butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Whisk in the flour, then cook the raw flour to taste, stirring constantly, for about 2 minutes.
- Gradually whisk in the milk until just incorporated, then continue cooking until the mixture is thick enough to coat the back of a wooden spoon. Spice with salt and pepper.
- Remove from heat and add 1 cup cheddar and 1/4 cup pecorino Romano and Parmesan in 3-4 intervals, stirring in between.
- Add about a tablespoon of cheese sauce to the beaten eggs and mix to combine. Pour the remaining sauce over the pasta, along with the warm eggs, bacon, and peas, and toss to combine.
- Transfer to a 9-by-13-inch pan, then top with remaining cheddar, Parmesan, and pecorino Romano cheeses. Cook until lightly browned and foamy, 35-30 minutes.
- Let cool for 10 minutes before serving. To a good time!
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