Smoked Gouda Carbonara

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Silky, creamy and utterly delicious, Smoked Gouda Carbonara is Italian comfort food at its best.

Smoked Gouda Carbonara | | Silky, creamy and utterly delicious, Smoked Gouda Carbonara is Italian comfort food at its best.

Eight times, my friends. Eight. That’s how many times I’ve shared carbonara in some way, shape or form here.

Because I’ve waxed eloquent on so many occasions about my love for authentic Spaghetti Carbonara, I’m not going to do it again. If you want to know how deep the passion runs, you can read about it here, or here, or even here.

I have to admit that the thought of changing up my favorite Italian comfort food didn’t sit too well with me, but since I try to keep an open mind, I decided to go along with Chef Kevin Fink and his unique take on the pasta and give it a go.

Using the dishes that Chef Fink creates at Austin’s Emmer & Rye as inspiration, Food & Wine removed carbonara’s iconic Parmesan ingredient and subbed in smoked Gouda in its place. My thought was that it was going to be either a genius idea or a major bomb.

The Process

Three components: al dente pasta, egg yolks whisked with Gouda and seasonings, and cooked bacon.

Important instructions to remember: Save a cup of pasta water for tempering the egg mixture (keeping the eggs from cooking when added to the pasta). Gradually add it to the eggs, whisking the whole time.

Drained pasta goes into pot where bacon was cooked, pasta mixture goes into bowl where egg mixture was whisked. It all gets tossed with purpose until it becomes creamy (and that really does happen).

The Verdict

Okay, so, it’s a genius idea. In fact, out of what are nine versions of carbonara that I’ve made to date, this is the favorite. We loved it in a very eat-until-you-feel-sick kind of love. The Gouda idea was inspired and the flavor of it made me want to weep. This has become the new family favorite and I will definitely make it again. And again.

What I’d Do Different Next Time

Not a darn thing.

The Cost

Spaghetti: $1.69
Eggs: $.89
Smoked Gouda: $6.49
Bacon: $4.99

Total: $14.06

Smoked Gouda Carbonara Recipe

Smoked Gouda Carbonara
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Reviewed by:
Recipe type: Pasta
Cuisine: Italian
Serves: 6
  • 1 pound spaghetti
  • 5 large egg yolks
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 cup (4 ounces) finely shredded smoked Gouda, plus more for serving
  • Kosher salt
  • Black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 6 ounces slab bacon, finely diced
  • ¾ teaspoon crushed red pepper
  1. In a large pot of salted boiling water, cook the pasta until al dente. Drain, reserving 1 cup of the cooking water.
  2. In a large bowl, beat the egg yolks with the whole egg, the 1 cup of Gouda, ½ teaspoon of salt and 2 teaspoons of black pepper. Very gradually whisk in ½ cup of the reserved cooking water to temper the eggs.
  3. Meanwhile, in the large pot, heat the olive oil. Add the bacon and cook over moderate heat until rendered but not crisp, 5 to 7 minutes. Add the pasta, crushed red pepper and ¼ cup of the reserved pasta cooking water. Cook, tossing, until the pasta is coated, 1 to 2 minutes. Scrape the pasta mixture into the large bowl and toss vigorously until creamy, 1 to 2 minutes; add more cooking water if needed. Season with salt and pepper. Divide the pasta into bowls and serve, passing more Gouda at the table.


One thought on “Smoked Gouda Carbonara

  • December 25, 2017 at 9:49 pm

    I’ve never had carbonara until recently at a restaurant. They added summer corn to it. My husband asked me to try to make it. I followed your instructions and this was delicious. I would probably cut down on the black pepper next time and when corn is in season, I will add some.


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