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I’m Andrea. I like to cook and bake and take photographs and write about life. Welcome to Bella Eats, where I share these passions of mine with you. I’m glad you’re here.

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orecchiette carbonara

We have a special category for certain types of meals in our house: BHubb meals. As in, 'that's a BHubb dinner', which tranlates to 'that's the kind of dish that makes Brian, aka BHubb, a happy man'. Typically a BHubb meal is rich and heavy, and most often has some sort of pork product involved. Examples of BHubb meals from the past include Slow-Cooked Carnitas, Pappardelle with Spicy Pork Ragu, and Bacon Garlic Marinara with Homemade Meatballs. You see, sometimes I get on a salad kick, or a soup kick, and there will be weeks where most of our meals are one or the other. Those are most definitely NOT BHubb meals, because once Brian leaves the table he is rummaging for more sustenance in the pantry within half an hour. I am trying to be better about the balance between AHubb and BHubb meals in our house, and I must admit that I get a lot of satisfaction out of Brian's vigorous nod of approval after his first bite of a dinner made specially with him in mind. 

I knew going in that this Orecchiette Carbonara would get such a nod. Brian already expected something delicious when he got home last night, as I'd asked him before he left for work to slice 6 long strips of bacon from the cured pork belly we had waiting in our fridge. His eyebrows went up as he said 'bacon, huh?!?', and happily got to work carefully releasing slice after slice from the slab. And once at the dinner table, true to form, with his mouth still full Brian looked to me, pointed at the bowl in front of him, and gave me that content bob of his head letting me know that this, for sure, was a Bhubb meal.

This is a dish that I feel certain will make a frequent appearance at our table. We almost always have each of these ingredients on hand, aside from perhaps the leeks which, in a pinch, could be substituted with sweet onion.  Orecchiette can occasionally be difficult to find, but is worth the effort if you do. The tiny ear-shaped pasta is perfect for catching the peas and bits of bacon. If you have trouble, substitute shells or bowties.

Orecchiette Carbonara

serves 4


  • 6 slices high-quality, thick-cut bacon
  • 2 medium leeks, white + pale green parts only, halved lengthwise and cut crosswise into 1/3-inch pieces
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 cup frozen peas, thawed
  • 10 oz orecchiette pasta or small shells
  • 2 large, high-quality egg yolks, room temperature
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
  • 1 tbsp fresh parsley


  1. Cook bacon until crisp. We like to cook our bacon in the oven at 400° for about 15 minutes on a rimmed baking sheet, but cooking it in a skillet on the stove top is fine, too. Transfer the cooked bacon to a paper towel to drain, and set aside. Reserve 2 tbsp of the bacon fat, keeping it in the skillet or pouring it from the baking pan into a skillet.  Once the bacon is cool, break it into small pieces.
  2. Add the leeks and garlic to the skillet with the bacon fat, and saute' over medium heat until tender, about 6 minutes. Add the peas and stir to heat evenly. Set aside.
  3. Meanwhile, cook pasta in a large pot of boiling salted water until just tender, about 8 minutes. Drain pasta, reserving 1/2 cup of the pasta cooking water.
  4. Whisk the egg yolks, parmesan, and cream together in a medium bowl. Gradually add 1/4 cup of the pasta cooking water. 
  5. Add the pasta to the leeks and stir to mix over medium heat, just until all is heated through and the leeks are just starting to sizzle again. Remove the skillet from the heat and pour egg mixture over pasta. Stir until the sauce is just creamy and eggs are no longer raw, about 2 minutes. You can return the skillet to very low heat if the egg mixture is still runny, but be careful not to overcook. If the pasta needs to be moistened, you can add some of the reserved pasta cooking water back to the pan.
  6. Stir in the bacon and parsley, blending well.
  7. Serve with additional cheese and freshly ground black pepper.

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Reader Comments (27)

This is definitely a well loved (by my husband) staple in our home too! Yummy!

09.28.2011 | Unregistered CommenterLucy Taylor

What a delicious twist on carbonara! I'm pretty sure this would get the approval of most "Hubbs" out there ;)

Love all pasta carbonara recipes! Can't go wrong when there is bacon involved!

This looks absolutely delicious! I'll have to try it sometime.

Yum! I love orecchiette - they make every dish delish!

Yum, yum, and yum! I'm totally making this for the hubby and me! :)

Never tried carbanora before but my does it look delicious. This is a must try. Love your blog its so nice :)

09.29.2011 | Unregistered CommenterAli

Sans bacon for my veggie self, this looks delicious! I haven't had anything with shells since I was little, but they're so much fun! Bhubbs dinner... ba hah! Love it.

09.29.2011 | Unregistered Commentergenevieve

I love carbonara and orecchiette and your photos are gorgeous!! Yay bacon!!

09.30.2011 | Unregistered Commenterkickpleat

I love carbonara and the idea of using orecchiette. Such a comforting meal!

09.30.2011 | Unregistered CommenterLucy

AHubb and BHubb...so funny! I love this recipe; carbonara is always such a comforting dish.

I never knew the 'correct' term for them, but I love BHUBB dinners! I just made mac and cheese carbonara.

I made this for dinner last night and it was so good, my husband and I both loved it! thanks for sharing :-)

10.3.2011 | Unregistered Commenterdebbie

Just found you from Mint. This looks so yummy! And your pictures are beautiful!

I want to eat that but i don't have bacon and leeks
Just found you from Mint. This looks so yummy! And your pictures are beautiful! as Debbie said.

10.6.2011 | Unregistered Commenterani mendez

here it is, i didi it!
my blog

10.7.2011 | Unregistered Commenterani mendez

Carbonara is my go to dish when I just dont have the time nor energy to really cook. My recipe is a bit more simple but yours looks lovely!


10.8.2011 | Unregistered CommenterCherie

That is definitely a man meal! But I love that you used orecchiette and peas... makes it a bit lighter/fresher.

These meals sound like they would be right up my alley!!! Think I must chat to my wife about some NHubb meals

I f all BHubb meals are like this one that I'm on board because this pasta looks and sounds outstanding.

10.12.2011 | Unregistered CommenterEliana

Oh, my gosh - this looks delicious! I'm going to have to make this. Thanks for sharing!

10.25.2011 | Unregistered CommenterWanda Eash

I just made this with turkey bacon. Not much fat in it so I used olive oil to sauté the veggies. Simply fabulous and refreshing! Thanks so much.

08.14.2012 | Unregistered CommenterJessica

I've been trying to track down pasta crazily and while I found the proper one it was tricolore and I didn't want the added flavors of mushroom, spinach, and beet root lol

So my options now are gnocci, lumaconi, penne, and bowtie. Any of those options seem better than another?

09.6.2012 | Unregistered CommenterLJK

The shape of the pasta alone is so cute it looks delicious! But I will be trying this one!
Erica x


09.24.2012 | Unregistered CommenterErica

this is a good recipe but is not the real carbonara one. The originally recipe s much easier... try this: while you're boiling your pasta (spaghetti), put some bacon cubes (pancetta) in a pot, cook until becomes red and turn off the fire. When the pasta is done (about 9 or 10 minutes) stir and put in the pot with bacon , add ground black pepper and one or two fresh eggs mixed, one spoon of olive oil and parmesan cheese. mix well -and serve immediately until is hot. enjoy this simple but famous italian recipe and excuse for my very bad english...

11.7.2012 | Unregistered Commentersamuele

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