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You're 20 Minutes Away From Pasta Carbonara For One

This silky, comforting dinner is ready in a flash. 
By Published Apr. 4, 2022

There are two things you should know about me: I am often cooking dinner for one. And I am often craving pasta for said dinner. 

That’s why this pasta carbonara for one is my weeknight go-to. It fits the bill, plus it’s creamy, cheesy, bacon-y, and delicious. (Did I mention it comes together in 20 minutes? Maybe the fastest-ever carbonara?) 

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For our cookbook Cooking for One, I spent several months figuring out how to cook pasta for one. (It’s more than just dropping some pasta in a pot of water!) The results included this 20-minute carbonara recipe. It’s lightning quick and easy peasy, and it leaves you with just one dish in the sink.

Think of this recipe as a series of shortcuts. Is it traditional? Not really. Carbonara usually calls for pancetta or guanciale, but I just used easy-to-find bacon. It crisps up beautifully and gives the dish that smoky, crispy, crackly sprinkle on top. Yum.

Let's talk pasta cooking method. Say goodbye to that pot of boiling water because we’re cooking pasta right in the skillet. The starch that releases from the pasta magically adds that “creamy without cream” mouthfeel.

I also used angel hair to cut back on cook time. I’m trying to break world records here! 

And what’s a carbonara without some egg and cheese? A single egg yolk plus Pecorino was the key to our silky-smooth success. 

This pasta carbonara dinner for one is hard to beat.  In both deliciousness and time.

20-Minute Carbonara for One

  • 3 tablespoons grated Pecorino Romano or Parmesan cheese, plus extra for serving
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • Pinch pepper
  • 2 slices bacon, chopped
  • 1½ cups chicken or vegetable broth
  • 3 ounces angel hair pasta



1. Whisk Pecorino, egg yolk, water, and pepper together in bowl; set aside. 

2. Cook bacon in 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium heat until crispy, 5 to 7 minutes. Using slotted spoon, transfer bacon to paper towel–lined plate. 

3. Pour off all but 2 teaspoons fat from skillet (or add oil to equal 2 teaspoons). Stir in broth and pasta and bring to boil. Cover and simmer vigorously over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until pasta is nearly tender, about 3 minutes. Uncover and continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until sauce is thickened slightly, about 2 minutes. Off heat, stir in egg mixture and crisped bacon. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve with Pecorino.