Creamy Spaghetti Carbonara with Peas and Ham

This modern take on a classic Italian pasta dish relies on ham instead of traditional pancetta for a dose of smoky flavor and richness. Just like cooking an omelet for breakfast, perfecting a luscious carbonara depends on treating the eggs just right. A couple simple steps will ensure success. First, be sure to toss the cooked pasta with the sauce off the heat so that the eggs will cook evenly once they return to the heat. Second, since the sauce will continue to cook after it leaves the skillet, pull the carbonara off the heat a little sooner than you think you should so it’ll hit the table saucy and creamy.Related: More Pasta Carbonara Recipes

Spring Pea and Ham Carbonara Recipe
Photo: Photo by Jennifer Causey / Food Styling by Rishon Hanners / Prop Styling by Sarah Elizabeth Cleveland
Active Time:
40 mins
Total Time:
40 mins


  • 3 large eggs

  • 3 large egg yolks

  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

  • 5 1/2 ounces pecorino Romano cheese, grated (about 1 1/3 cups), divided

  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

  • 1 (8-ounce) package cubed cooked ham

  • 2 large shallots, thinly sliced crosswise into rings

  • 1 cup shelled fresh (from 1 pound unshelled English peapods ) or frozen peas

  • 1 pound spaghetti

  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter

  • 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice

  • 2 tablespoons thinly sliced fresh chives


  1. Whisk together eggs and egg yolks in a small bowl until thoroughly blended. Stir in salt, pepper, and 1 cup of the cheese; set aside.

  2. Heat oil in a large deep skillet over medium-high. Add ham and shallots, and cook, stirring often, until shallots are softened, about 6 minutes. Add peas and 3/4 cup water. Bring to a simmer over medium-high. Simmer, stirring occasionally, just until peas are tender, about 5 minutes. Remove skillet from heat.

  3. Cook pasta according to package directions for al dente. Using tongs or a spider, transfer pasta to skillet. (It’s okay if pasta is still dripping water going into skillet.) Reserve 1 cup pasta water; let cool 2 minutes.

  4. While whisking constantly, gradually pour the 1 cup reserved cooking water into egg mixture. Then slowly pour egg mixture into pasta mixture in skillet, stirring constantly with tongs.

  5. Set butter and lemon juice in a small bowl alongside the stove. Place skillet over low heat, and cook, stirring and shaking skillet constantly, just until sauce is creamy and coats noodles, being careful not to overcook and curdle eggs, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat, and stir in butter and lemon juice. Divide pasta evenly among four warm bowls. Sprinkle evenly with chives and remaining 1/3 cup cheese.

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