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How to make a perfect carbonara in the Instant Pot
Instant Pot Carbonara

This is a true giant in classic Italian cookery usually done on the stove but I can promise you it works beautifully in the Instant Pot too! 

Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Italian
Servings: 2 people
: 595 kcal
Author: Just Jo
  • 150 g pancetta*, cut into small dice (discard any skin)
  • 150-200 g dried pasta - look for nests of spaghetti or linguine (they fit in the Instant Pot better)
  • 3 medium-large eggs
  • lots! of parmesan or pecorino cheese (about 1/4-1/2 cup's worth feels right for two)
  • 1/4 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp freshly cracked black pepper
  1. Start by cooking the pancetta (or guanciale) on Sauté mode until the fat has rendered out - remove the cooked pancetta to a plate and discard most of the fat. I leave about 1 tsp worth behind. Cancel Sauté mode.

  2. Place the pasta nests in the inner pot and cover with at least 1.5 inches of cold water. Check how long the packet says it takes for the pasta to cook and halve it (see notes).  Place the lid on, program the requisite number of minutes on Manual High. 

  3. Meanwhile, whisk the eggs, cheese, nutmeg and black pepper together in a jug or bowl.  Feel free to add more cheese - 1/4 cup if I'm being virtuous, a half cup if I need comfort food stat! ;)

  4. When the timer goes off for the pasta, wait 30 seconds for the pasta to settle and then release the pressure (do a QPR) - again see notes below. Strain the pasta over a bowl so you keep the starchy cooking water.

  5. Return the Inner Pot to the base and put it back on Sauté and adjust to Low. Quickly add back the cooked pancetta, the drained pasta and the egg and cheese mixture. Stir gently but thoroughly until the pasta is covered in the sauce which will cook in the gentle heat. Use the reserved pasta water to loosen the texture as desired and serve in deep bowls with extra black pepper and cheese on top. Devour immediately! 

Recipe Notes
  1. Avoid dried pasta which still has a coating of flour on it - it can go all starchy and spurt when you release the pressure.  Ironically, cheaper brands are better here as they don't tend to have a dusting of flour on them. 
  2. Check your pasta cooking instructions and halve the time stated on the pack to get your Instant Pot cooking time. If it's an odd number, round it down to the nearest minute e.g. if the packet says 7 minutes, cook in the IP for 3 only. 
  3. *= if you can find "guanciale" use that instead (cured pig's cheek - much more traditional for a proper carbonara).