My all-time favorite Food Network show is Good Eats. With the whole show revival theme happening recently, I am crossing my fingers that they bring it back. Until then, I have found America’s Test Kitchen on my local PBS.
One of the first episodes I remember watching had a recipe for “Foolproof Spaghetti Carbonara.” I don’t think I had ever had Spaghetti Carbonara, but as soon as I saw it, I knew I had to make it. After I did, it instantly became one of my favorite recipes. It is pretty simple and a crown pleaser with ingredients like pasta, bacon and cheese.
I have adapted the America’s Test Kitchen Foolproof Spaghetti Carbonara to be made in an Instant Pot. This has sped up the cooking process, and reduced the amount of dishes I need to clean after. Win and win.
Here is what you will need:
- 1 lb dry spaghetti
- 8 strips high quality bacon cut into 1/2 inch pieces
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 3 eggs and 1 egg yolk
- 1 1/4 cup grated Pecorino Romano Cheese
- 3/4 t black pepper
- Instant Pot (I have an 8 quart DUO Plus Instant Pot)
You will start by selecting Sauté on your Instant Pot, on normal if you have that option. It is very important that you let the Instant Pot pre-heat before adding any oil or fat. Because the insert is stainless steel and not non-stick, the metal needs to warm up. Stainless Steel has natural “pores” that will close when the metal is heated and create a natural non-stick surface. If you add the oil before the “pores” close, the oil will fall into the “pores” and prevent them from closing. The pre-heating should only take about 5 minutes.
While your Instant Pot is pre-heating, cut your bacon into 1/2 inch pieces and separate the pieces. Once it says HOT, add the bacon and stir every couple of minutes.
Once the bacon has cooked for about 5 minutes, add 1/4 cup of water to the Instant Pot. I know this seems odd, but it allows the bacon to cook a little slower and allows it to be be both crispy and chewy. Don’t ask me how, but it does. Continue to stir every couple of minutes, and allow the water to cook off and the bacon to finish cooking. The bacon should take about 14 minutes total to cook. Once the bacon is almost done browning, you will add your garlic in the last minute. Stir it in, and cook for about 1 minutes until it is fragrant.
Select Cancel on the Instant Pot to stop the heating. Use a slotted spoon to remove as much of the bacon and garlic as you can from the Instant Pot and put in onto a plate lined with a paper towel.
Use a ladle to remove as much of the bacon grease from the Instant Pot as you can. Save the grease for the next steps. About 1 tablespoon of the bacon grease will remain in the bottom of the Instant Pot.
Working in about 3 or 4 batches, break the spaghetti in half and add it to the Instant Pot, trying to spread it out and cross the noodles as much as possible so they don’t clump together during cooking. Once all of the spaghetti is in the Instant Pot, drizzle in about 1 1/2 tablespoons of the bacon grease. Make sure you have at least 1 tablespoon saved for the egg-cheese mixture. Try and stir the dry pasta around a little bit to coat the spaghetti with the oil. This will also help prevent the noddles from sticking during the cooking process.
Add 4 cups of water to the Instant Pot. Cover and lock into position, making sure the valve is in the sealed position. Set Pressure Cook on High for 6 minutes.
While the Instant Pot comes up to pressure and the pasta cooks, make the sauce mixture. In a small mixing bowl add 1 tablespoon of the bacon grease, 3 eggs plus one egg yolk, 3/4 teaspoon ground black pepper and 1 1/4 cups grated Pecorino Romano cheese. Whisk together until smooth.
Make sure you use Pecorino Romano. Parmesan will not work in this dish. I find mine at my local “poor-man’s Whole Foods,” if you know what I mean.
Once the pasta is done cooking, manually release the pressure and carefully lift the lid off (as you should always do). There will still be some water in the bottom of the Instant Pot. You want it there, leave it be.
Add the egg-cheese mixture and bacon to the Instant Pot. And stir it all together making sure to stir in the starchy water in the bottom. The heat of the pasta, pasta water and Instant Pot will cook the eggs.
Plate the pasta and enjoy!
Foolproof Instant Pot Spaghetti Carbonara
- Pressure Cooker
- 8 slices bacon cut into 1/2 inch pieces
- 3 cloves garlic minced
- 4 eggs -3 whole and 1 yolk
- 1 1/4 cups Pecorino Romano Cheese grated
- 3/4 tsp black pepper
- 1 lb spaghetti pasta
- Set Instant Pot to sauté, on normal if an option. Allow Instant Pot to heat up, then add the bacon. Stir the bacon every couple of minutes. After about 5 minutes, add 1/4 cup water to the Instant Pot. Continue to cook the bacon, stirring every couple of minutes allowing the water to cook off and the bacon to brown. In the last minute of the bacon cooking, add the garlic, stir until the garlic is fragrant.
- Using a slotted spoon, removed the bacon and garlic onto a paper towel lined plate to drain. Use a ladle to remove as much of the bacon grease from the Instant Pot to save for later. Leaving a little bit of grease in the bottom of the Instant Pot is ok.
- Break the spaghetti in half and add to the Instant Pot spreading it out and criss-crossing it so the pasta does not clump together. Drizzle in 1 to 1 1/2 tablespoons of the bacon grease over the pasta, making sure to reserve 1 tablespoon for later. Stir the pasta as much as possible, trying to coat the pasta in the grease. Add 4 cups of water to the Instant Pot. Cover and lock into place, sealing the release valve. Set to Pressure Cook on high for 6 minutes.
- While the pasta cooks, add 1 tablespoon of the bacon grease to a small mixing bowl. Add 3 eggs, 1 egg yolk, the pepper and cheese to the bowl. Whisk together until smooth.
- When the pasta is done cooking, release the pressure from the Instant Pot. When pressure is fully released, open the Instant Pot and stir in the egg-cheese mixture, bacon and garlic. Make sure to stir from the bottom to incorporate remaining starchy water.