Giada De Laurentiis Says This Bacony Classic Is Her Weeknight Dinner

Few dishes are as delicious, filling, and comforting as a big bowl of pasta carbonara. Of all the noodle dishes from Italy, carbonara holds a special place among the classics, right up there with spaghetti and meatballs.

There are many origin stories out there, but carbonara appears to have originated in Rome, at the time of the Allied liberation during World War II. American soldiers can take some credit for the dish: They are believed to have shared their rations of bacon and eggs with restaurants facing supply issues. It's fortunate that they did, because shortly thereafter, the first references to carbonara appeared in newspapers and books, according to La Cucina Italiana. Carbonara is fancy enough for company but fuss-free enough for a family meal, and in the hands of Food Network veteran Giada De Laurentiis on TikTok, carbonara looks like a snap to make — even for a weeknight dinner.

De Laurentiis makes weekday work of pasta carbonara

Carbonara is a creamy dish, yet it doesn't contain cream or butter. Its silkiness comes from its sauce made with beaten eggs, pasta water, and grated cheese. The trick is to marry the ingredients so they don't become a gloppy mess of scrambled eggs and pasta.

While some recipes call for guanciale or pancetta, De Laurentiis uses bits of crispy bacon to add flavor and texture (per TikTok). She mixes eggs, egg yolks, Parmigiano Reggiano, and salt and pepper. Her pasta of choice isn't spaghetti — it's an unspecified tubular pasta with some curve and indentations that looks a lot like busiate, going by this Insider guide to pasta shapes.

A pot of pasta is bubbling on the stove, and De Laurentiis puts some of the starchy pasta water to use — a trick she picked up from her grandfather (via Bon Appétit). She removes the bacon from its pan and adds some pasta water to the bacon fat. The cooked pasta gets tossed in there. She also adds a few ladles of pasta water to the beaten egg mixture. "The whole point is to start heating the eggs so you don't scramble them when you add them to the pasta,” De Laurentiis says. "The hot water makes the eggs the same temperature as the pasta you just cooked.” De Laurentiis completes her weeknight supper prep by adding in the crisped bacon, along with more Parmigiano for creaminess.