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Quick Spaghetti Carbonara with Miso

Jul 5, 2022 | 0 comments

This quick and easy spaghetti carbonara is the ULTIMATE simple pasta dish. It takes just 15 minutes and is carbonara the Italian way – no cream in sight! You only need five ingredients to make the luscious, glossy sauce and the unconventional miso paste brings a gorgeous savoury depth you’ll love.

Fork holding up strands of spaghetti, with a plate of carbonara in the foreground.

How did it take me so long to discover the delights of carbonara!? There’s something so magical about turning a few simple ingredients into the most dreamy, creamy pasta dish. It’s my idea of savoury heaven and I can’t believe how easy it is to make. I was always a little scared of making carbonara, mainly because of the potential egg scrambling in the pan factor. But, I’ve found a couple of simple tricks that make this easy and foolproof.

This recipe is carbonara the traditional way (albeit, with a cheeky little twist!) If you’re wondering why I’m messing with a classic and adding miso paste – I seriously believe it enhances the savoury depth of the pasta and I urge you to give it a chance.

It’s incredible to watch the magic happen in the pan as the eggs, pecorino cheese, miso and rendered guanciale fat combine to make a gorgeously luscious, glossy and rich sauce. It CERTAINLY needs no cream, and once you realise how straightforward it is, you’ll want to make it over and over again.

Try it for a special date night, girl’s night in, dinner party or just as an easy weeknight meal when you need something fast.


Carbonara ingredients laid out and labelled.
  • Pecorino romano. This is the classic, sharp, salty cheese used in carbonara, but you can use parmesan or grada Padano if you prefer. Grate it yourself as the pre-grated stuff tends to be coated in an anti-caking agent which will prevent it from melting into a smooth, silky sauce.
  • Guanciale. AKA, cured pork jowl. This is a gorgeously fatty piece of meat, which is what you want in a classic carbonara. The fat is rendered out at the beginning of cooking, which becomes a vital component of the silky smooth sauce. It can be a tricky ingredient to find (you’ll find it at speciality grocery stores, Italian delis, or a butcher). I think chorizo is actually the best swap for guanciale if you can’t find it – it’s deeply savoury and smoky and works perfectly here. You can also use bacon, pancetta or ham, but you’ll need to add some oil to your pan when you start cooking if the meat is relatively lean.
  • Eggs. Always free range, and ideally at room temperature for this recipe.
  • Miso paste. This is the twist. It might seem unconventional, but it seriously enhances the savouriness of the carbonara. It perfectly complements the guanciale and pecorino in the sauce.

How to make it

Start by getting everything prepped. Chop your guanciale or alternative into small cubes. Get your cheese grated and into a small bowl. Add your miso and a lot of freshly ground black pepper, then the eggs.

Beat the mix into a thick paste – I like using a fork to do this and push down on the miso so it mixes through properly. Then get your guanciale or alternative in a small, cold pan and cook until it crisps up and you’ve got lots of the lovely fat collecting in the pan. Cook your pasta, then drizzle some of the pasta cooking water into the bowl with the eggs and cheese.

Transfer the cooked pasta directly from the pot of water into your pan with the guanciale and rendered fat. Turn the heat to low and toss the pasta through the guanciale. Once you hear sizzling, turn the heat off.

And here’s the key part of any carbonara recipe! It may seem a little scary to add eggs to hot pasta (the scrambling fear is real!) but if you’re careful I promise it’s super easy.

Remember, the heat should be off at this point. Working quickly, pour the egg, cheese and miso paste into the pasta in the pan and toss with tongs to coat the pasta. You’ll see the texture start to change – it’ll go from a paste to a looser liquid and then will finally form a silky, slightly thickened sauce in the pan. This happens in seconds so keep tossing that pasta! If you like your pasta a bit saucier, add a little more pasta water to loosen things up. Likewise, if the sauce is too runny for you, add a little more pecorino and give the pan a really good toss.

Carbonara is a pasta dish you want to serve straight away while it’s hot and silky.

Two key tips to remember

  • Have everything prepped and ready to go before you begin. Once you start cooking, things need to come together quickly, so you’ll be working fast. Timing will also depend on the pasta you’re using. I’m using fresh pasta here which takes about 3 minutes to cook, but dried pasta will take longer (about 8/10 minutes – check your packet) so just keep that in mind when you’re cooking.
  • Temper your egg and cheese mix with pasta water to reduce the risk of your eggs scrambling in the pan with the pasta. This was always my biggest fear when making carbonara. The key is to mix a little of the pasta cooking water in with your eggs and cheese BEFORE adding them to the pasta. The pasta water is tempering the egg mix (slowly raising the temperature of the paste) so it won’t get such a shock when it hits the hot pan (aka. less risk of scrambled eggs!

Watch how to make it

Got a question?

I can’t find miso, what can I use instead?

You could add half a teaspoon of fish sauce to get a similar umami flavour – or leave the miso out completely.

What’s the best pasta to use for this?

Carbonara works well with lots of different pasta shapes, so you can choose what you like! I love using spaghetti, penne or rigatoni as well as fettuccine.

Can I reheat the pasta?

Carbonara is a tricky one to reheat, but the best way to do it is on the stovetop. Add a little water to the pasta in a small pot, then gently toss it as you heat it over low heat.

Can I use pancetta instead of guanciale?

You definitely can – guanciale can be hard to find and pancetta is a great alternative.

Like this recipe? Here are more pasta favourites you might enjoy

If you make this recipe let me know in the comments below! I’d love to hear how you get on.

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Fork holding up strands of aspaghetti, with a plate of carbonara in the foreground.

Quick Spaghetti Carbonara with Miso


This quick and easy miso carbonara is the ULTIMATE simple pasta dish. It takes just 15 minutes and is carbonara the Italian way – no cream in sight! A handful of basic ingredients come together to make the most luscious, glossy sauce and adding miso paste brings an unreal savoury depth you’re going to love.

The trick with this recipe is to have everything prepped and ready to go before you begin because once you start, things need to come together quickly.


Units Scale
  • 3.5oz/100g pecorino romano, plus 2 tablespoons extra to serve (or use parmesan or grada padano)
  • 3.5oz/100g guanciale (or use streaky bacon, pancetta or chorizo)
  • 2 eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 tablespoon white miso paste
  • Freshly ground black pepper (roughly 1 tablespoon)
  • 7oz/200g spaghetti (or other pasta of your choice)


  1. Boil your water. Get a big pot of water on the stove and add 1 tablespoon of salt. Bring to a boil while you’re getting everything ready.
  2. Finely dice the guanciale. Chop your guanciale into small cubes and grate your pecorino finely (I like to use a microplane for this if you have one).
  3. Mix the eggs, pecorino and miso. Crack the 2 eggs into a small bowl and add the grated pecorino, 1 tablespoon of miso paste and a good grind of black pepper (around 1 tablespoon). With a fork, give it a very good mix until it resembles a thick paste, pressing down to break up the miso. Set aside.
  4. Cook the guanciale. Set a large, high-sided frying pan or skillet on the stovetop and add the cubed guanciale. Turn the heat to medium and cook, stirring, for about 4 minutes, until the guanciale is starting to get crispy and the fat is rendering out and pooling in the pan. You don’t need to add any oil before adding the guanciale – it’s lovely and fatty enough. But, if you’re using bacon, ham, chorizo or pancetta, you may need to add a little oil if the meat is lean and not releasing fat. I like my guanciale super crispy, but if you like it softer you can stop cooking when it’s looking right for you. When you’re satisfied, turn off the heat and cover the pan with a lid if it has one, or a large plate. 
  5. Cook your pasta according to packet instructions. Once your pasta is al dente (still with a little bite to it) it’s time to put it all together. This is when you need to work quickly and confidently!
  6. Make the carbonara. Drizzle 1/4 cup of pasta cooking water into the egg, pecorino and miso paste, stirring vigorously with a fork while doing it. This is going to temper the paste (it will raise the temperature slightly and gradually so it lowers the risk of it splitting and scrambling when you add it to the hot pasta pan). Transfer the pasta directly from the pot to the pan with the guanciale and turn the heat to low. Give it a quick toss, and when you start to hear the guanciale sizzling, turn the heat off. Then add the paste into the pan with the pasta and guanciale and give it a really good toss with tongs to coat every pasta strand. This is where you’ll start to see the texture of the sauce change – it’ll become runny at first, then start to thicken up and go super glossy the longer you toss it through the hot pasta.
  7. Adjust sauce if needed. If you find the sauce is too runny for your liking, you can add a little more grated pecorino to the pan and toss through to thicken it up. Likewise, if it’s not runny enough, add a little more pasta cooking water to the pan and toss through. If it’s really not thickening up, turn the heat to the lowest setting and toss the pasta over the heat, making sure not to let it get too hot. 
  8. Garnish and serve. You want to serve carbonara right away, so divide the pasta between two serving plates, then top with more grated pecorino and an extra grind of black pepper. 


INGREDIENT NOTES: Use any pasta shape you like for this carbonara – I love using fettuccine or rigatoni too. If you can’t find guanciale you can use bacon, chorizo, ham or prosciutto, but you may need to add a little oil to the pan before cooking. Start with 1 teaspoon and see how you go.

STORAGE INSTRUCTIONS: This pasta is best served straight away – the gorgeous glossy sauce will thicken up as it sits and it’s a tricky one to reheat. If you do reheat it, you can do it gently on the stovetop over low heat, or in the microwave. You’ll need to add about 1 tablespoon of water to it when you do this, just to loosen the sauce back up.

  • Prep Time: 5
  • Cook Time: 10
  • Category: pasta
  • Method: stove top
  • Cuisine: italian


  • Serving Size: 1 bowl

Keywords: carbonara, spaghetti carbonara, easy carbonara recipe


I’m Kate, the creator behind Dished. I love creating flavour packed, simple (ish) recipes for you, designed for every day and special occasions.





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