Fettuccini Carbonara with Ham Recipe

Carbonara is customarily made with pancetta, an Italian version of bacon. But this recipe uses leaner, easier-to-find ham.

| March/April 2020

Yields 6 to 8 servings.


  • 16 ounces fettuccine or other pasta
  • 2 large bay leaves
  • 1 cup cooked, diced ham
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature 
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • Dash of black pepper
  • 1 cup grated Parmesan cheese, plus more for serving
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • Chopped fresh parsley
  • Chopped fresh basil


  1. In a large stockpot, cook pasta according to package directions, adding bay leaves to the water. Drain, and reserve 1/2 cup water.
  2. Heat ham in a large skillet over medium heat until browned, about 4 to 5 minutes, stirring often. Transfer ham to a plate.
  3. In a mixing bowl, stir together eggs, salt, pepper, and Parmesan. Set aside.
  4. In a large bowl, toss pasta with 1 tablespoon olive oil. Set aside.
  5. Add remaining olive oil to skillet, and heat over medium-low heat. Add garlic, and cook for 1 minute, being careful not to brown it. Stir in pasta and ham, and cook for 5 additional minutes, stirring occasionally.
  6. Reduce heat to low, and add egg mixture and reserved pasta water. Toss to coat pasta, and simmer, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes.
  7. Garnish with parsley and basil. Serve with additional Parmesan to the side.

For more recipes, see Recipes Using Ham.

Valerie Boese and her family live in northeast Nebraska, where they grow a wide variety of vegetables, herbs, and fruits. The family owns and operates TarBox Hollow Poultry.

Live The Good Life with GRIT!

Grit JulAug 2016At GRIT, we have a tradition of respecting the land that sustains rural America. That's why we want you to save money and trees by subscribing to GRIT through our automatic renewal savings plan. By paying now with a credit card, you save an additional $6 and get 6 issues of GRIT for only $16.95 (USA only).

Or, Bill Me Later and send me one year of GRIT for just $22.95!

Facebook Pinterest Instagram YouTube Twitter

Free Product Information Classifieds Newsletters