Mary Berry Pasta Carbonara Recipe

Mary Berry Pasta Carbonara Recipe
Yields: 1 Serving Difficulty: Easy Prep Time: 10 Mins Cook Time: 15 Mins Total Time: 25 Mins

Pasta carbonara is a classic Italian dish that consists of pasta tossed with eggs, cheese, bacon, and black pepper. It’s a simple yet satisfying dish that can be whipped up in no time. Mary Berry, the beloved British cook and author, has her own version of pasta carbonara that is creamy, cheesy, and delicious. She uses crème fraîche instead of eggs to make the sauce and adds mushrooms and parsley for extra flavor and texture. This recipe serves 4 people and can be prepared in approximately 20 minutes.

In this article, I will show you how to make Mary Berry’s pasta carbonara step by step, with tips and tricks along the way.

What is Mary Berry Pasta Carbonara?

Mary Berry pasta carbonara is a variation of the traditional pasta carbonara that uses crème fraîche instead of eggs to make the sauce. Crème fraîche is a type of sour cream that has a higher fat content and a milder flavor than regular sour cream. It adds a rich and creamy texture to the pasta, without the risk of curdling or scrambling. Mary Berry also adds mushrooms and parsley to her pasta carbonara, which gives it a nice contrast of color and flavor. The bacon, cheese, and black pepper are still essential ingredients that make this dish a carbonara.

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Why You’ll Love This Recipe

You’ll love this recipe because:

  • Simplicity and Speed: With minimal ingredients and a single pot, this dish comes together quickly, making it perfect for busy weeknights.
  • Creamy and Flavorful: The combination of crème fraîche and cheese results in a luxuriously smooth sauce, complemented by the savory taste of bacon.
  • Versatile: This recipe is adaptable to various pasta types and welcomes additional ingredients, allowing for customization based on preference or what’s on hand.

Ingredients Needed to Make Mary Berry Pasta Carbonara

To make Mary Berry pasta carbonara, you will need the following ingredients:

  • 350 g (12 oz) of pasta of your choice
  • 200 g (7 oz) of bacon, chopped
  • 250 g (9 oz) of mushrooms, sliced
  • 300 ml (10 fl oz) of crème fraîche
  • 50 g (2 oz) of grated Parmesan cheese, plus extra for serving
  • Salt and black pepper, to taste
  • A handful of fresh parsley, chopped

Instructions to Make Mary Berry Pasta Carbonara Recipe

To make Mary Berry pasta carbonara, follow these steps:

Step 1: Cook the pasta

  • Bring a large pot of water to a boil over high heat. Add a generous pinch of salt and the pasta of your choice.
  • Cook the pasta, stirring occasionally, for the time indicated on the package, or until al dente. This means the pasta should be slightly firm to the bite, not mushy or overcooked.
  • Drain the pasta in a colander and return it to the pot. Keep some of the pasta water in a cup or bowl for later use.

Step 2: Cook the bacon

  • Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the chopped bacon and cook, stirring occasionally, until crisp and golden, for about 10 minutes.
  • Use a slotted spoon to transfer the bacon to a plate lined with paper towels. This will drain the excess fat and keep the bacon crispy.
  • Keep the bacon fat in the skillet for the next step.

Step 3: Cook the mushrooms

  • Add the sliced mushrooms to the same skillet with the bacon fat. Cook, stirring occasionally, until browned and tender, for about 15 minutes.
  • Season the mushrooms with salt and pepper to taste. You can also add some minced garlic or chopped onion for extra flavor, if you like.
  • Transfer the mushrooms to a bowl and set aside.

Step 4: Make the sauce

  • In a small bowl, whisk together the crème fraîche and the grated Parmesan cheese until well combined. This will make the base of the sauce.
  • Season the sauce with salt and pepper to taste. You can also add a pinch of nutmeg or some lemon zest for extra flavor, if you like.

Step 5: Combine the pasta and the sauce

  • Add the crème fraîche mixture to the pot with the pasta and toss to coat. The heat from the pasta will melt the cheese and warm up the sauce.
  • If the sauce is too thick, add some of the reserved pasta water to thin it out. You can also add some milk or cream for extra creaminess if you like.
  • Stir in the bacon, mushrooms, and parsley. Mix well to combine.

Step 6: Serve and enjoy

  • Serve the pasta carbonara hot, sprinkled with more Parmesan cheese if desired. You can also garnish with some more parsley for extra freshness if you like.
  • Enjoy your pasta carbonara with some simple sides, such as a green salad, a crusty bread, or a glass of white wine. Bon appétit!

Pasta Carbonara Recipe Mary Berry

What Do I Serve With Mary Berry Pasta Carbonara?

When planning your meal around Mary Berry’s pasta carbonara, consider these pairing suggestions to create a balanced and enjoyable dining experience:

  • Fresh Green Salad: A salad of mixed greens with a dressing of extra virgin olive oil and fresh lemon juice offers a light and refreshing contrast to the rich pasta. The crisp textures and bright flavors will cleanse the palate.
  • Crusty Bread: Opt for slices of garlic bread or a loaf of ciabatta to accompany your pasta. These breads are perfect for soaking up any remaining sauce, ensuring you enjoy every last bit of flavor.
  • White Wine Pairing: Enhance your meal with a glass of white wine. Varietals like Pinot Grigio or Chardonnay are excellent choices, as their acidity and fruit notes beautifully complement the creamy and savory aspects of the carbonara.

Mary Berry Pasta Carbonara

Expert Tips to Make Perfect Mary Berry Pasta Carbonara

Achieving the ideal balance of flavors and textures in Mary Berry’s pasta carbonara can be easily accomplished with these expert tips:

  • Select Quality Ingredients: The foundation of a great carbonara lies in its ingredients. Opt for full-fat crème fraîche to achieve a rich, smooth sauce. While sour cream or Greek yogurt can substitute in a pinch, they may alter the sauce’s intended texture.
  • Cheese Choices: Freshly grated Parmesan cheese is key for authentic flavor and seamless melting into the sauce. Although Pecorino Romano, Gruyère, or Cheddar can be used, each will impart a distinct taste.
  • Pasta Perfection: Cook your pasta to an al dente finish to ensure it retains a slight bite. This not only improves the dish’s texture but also helps the pasta better absorb the creamy sauce.
  • Utilize Pasta Water: Don’t forget to save some of the pasta cooking water. Its starchy composition is invaluable for adjusting the sauce’s consistency, helping to achieve that perfect, silky texture.
  • Serve Immediately: To fully appreciate the dish’s creamy quality, serve it hot immediately after preparation. As it cools, the sauce may thicken and lose its smoothness.

Variations of Mary Berry Pasta Carbonara

Tailor Mary Berry’s pasta carbonara to your taste or dietary preferences by experimenting with these variations:

  • Protein Boost: Add cooked chicken or ham to introduce additional protein and enhance the dish’s savory profile. These can be prepared in the same pan used for the bacon, absorbing all the flavorful residues.
  • Vegetable Inclusion: For a pop of color and nutritional value, consider stirring in peas or spinach towards the end of cooking. These ingredients not only add visual appeal but also introduce a fresh element to the dish.
  • Aromatic Enhancements: Elevate the sauce with the inclusion of sautéed garlic or onion, which can be browned lightly in the bacon fat before adding the mushrooms. This step introduces an extra layer of flavor that complements the overall dish.
  • Seasoning Adjustments: A pinch of nutmeg or some grated lemon zest mixed into the crème fraîche and cheese sauce can brighten the dish with subtle spice and citrus notes, respectively, adding complexity to the flavor profile.

How do I Store Mary Berry Pasta Carbonara Leftovers?

Proper storage of Mary Berry pasta carbonara leftovers ensures that you can enjoy this delicious dish even after the day it’s made.

Here’s how to keep it fresh and tasty:

  • Cool Down: Allow the pasta carbonara to cool to room temperature before storing to prevent bacterial growth and condensation inside the container, which could make the pasta soggy.
  • Airtight Storage: Transfer the cooled pasta into an airtight container or a heavy-duty ziplock bag to maintain freshness and prevent any fridge odors from affecting its flavor.
  • Refrigeration or Freezing: You can refrigerate the pasta carbonara for up to 3 days. For longer storage, freeze it for up to 3 months. Both methods preserve the flavors and textures well.
  • Labeling: Mark the container with the storage date and dish name. This helps manage leftovers efficiently and ensures you use them within safe consumption periods.

How do I Reheat Mary Berry Pasta Carbonara Leftovers?

Reheating pasta carbonara while retaining its creamy texture can be a bit of a challenge, but with the right technique, it’s entirely possible.

Here’s how to revive your dish:

  • Thawing: If your pasta carbonara is frozen, thaw it in the refrigerator overnight. This gradual thawing helps maintain the dish’s integrity.
  • Microwave Method: Place the pasta in a microwave-safe dish and lightly cover it with a damp paper towel. This helps reintroduce moisture, making the sauce creamy again. Heat for 2 to 3 minutes on medium power, stirring at the halfway point to ensure even warming. Adjust the timing based on your microwave’s strength and the amount of pasta.
  • Stovetop Method: For a more evenly reheated dish, warm the pasta over medium-low heat in a skillet. Stirring occasionally, reintroduce moisture as needed by adding a little water, milk, or cream to loosen up the sauce without diluting its flavor. This method helps evenly distribute heat and rejuvenate the pasta’s creamy texture.
  • Finishing Touches: Before serving, consider sprinkling additional grated Parmesan cheese and fresh parsley over the top to refresh the dish’s flavors and presentation.

Nutrition value (per serving):

  • Calories: 667 kcal
  • Fat: 38 g
  • Carbohydrates: 57 g
  • Protein: 27 g
  • Sodium: 726 mg
  • Cholesterol: 154 mg


Can I Use Different Types of Pasta for Mary Berry’s Carbonara?

Yes, you can use various types of pasta for Mary Berry’s carbonara recipe. While traditional carbonara often uses spaghetti, this recipe is versatile enough to work well with fettuccine, penne, or even rigatoni. The key is to ensure the pasta can hold the creamy sauce well, so shapes with ridges or tubes are excellent choices for capturing more flavor in every bite.

How Do I Prevent the Sauce from Curdling?

To prevent the sauce from curdling, avoid high heat when combining the crème fraîche and Parmesan cheese with the pasta. The gentle warmth of the cooked pasta is usually sufficient to melt the cheese and create a smooth sauce. If additional heating is needed, do so over low heat, and consider adding a bit of the reserved pasta water to help stabilize the temperature and consistency of the sauce.

Can I Add Vegetables to the Carbonara?

Absolutely, adding vegetables to Mary Berry’s pasta carbonara can introduce a delightful variety of textures and flavors, as well as boost the nutritional content. Peas, spinach, and asparagus are great options that blend well with the creamy sauce and overall dish. Simply cook the vegetables beforehand or sauté them along with the mushrooms to ensure they’re perfectly tender before incorporating them into the pasta.

Is It Possible to Make This Recipe Gluten-Free?

Yes, making Mary Berry’s pasta carbonara gluten-free is straightforward by substituting regular pasta with your preferred gluten-free variety. Many gluten-free pasta options, such as those made from rice, corn, or quinoa, offer excellent alternatives that mimic the texture and taste of traditional pasta. Just be sure to check the pasta’s cooking instructions, as gluten-free varieties may have different cooking times or water requirements.

Final Words

Mary Berry pasta carbonara is a delicious and easy dish that you can make in less than 30 minutes, with just a few ingredients. It’s creamy, cheesy, and satisfying, perfect for a weeknight dinner or a special occasion. I hope you enjoyed this article and learned how to make Mary Berry pasta carbonara step by step, with tips and tricks along the way. If you have any questions or feedback, please leave a comment below. I’d love to hear from you.

Thank you for reading and happy cooking!

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