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Quick and Tasty Spaghetti Carbonara

This is a non-traditional Spaghetti Carbonara recipe as it does not contain eggs (which can easily scramble) and has added mushrooms and ham. Traditional or not, it tastes fantastic and is easy to make.

I recently read this article on freshly pressed, which, as great as it was talking about the first generation of people not knowing how to “use” the kitchen, in the opening paragraphs did little in the way of complimenting the humble spaghetti… I think the reason for this was twofold.

Firstly, the author admits that her Mum used to cook so much of the only dish not-out-of-the-box she knew how, that the family was left having spaghetti leftovers for a week at a time. Admittedly, I used to be guilty of overcatering but Mr Chipconnoisseur has taught me this to be a big no no. Lunch the next day is ok, but dinner, lunch then dinner again not so much. Now I tend to agree: this is how people grow to dislike things.

Secondly, I have found that for most people cream-based pasta sauces are more palatable than tomato-based ones (unless of course you are alergic to dairy) because they are less acidic and therefore less of an assault on the tastebuds. If you’ve ever tried making canned tuna spaghetti in tomato sauce and only liked it so so, try using cream instead – it works a treat and the finished dish is irresistibly good. Better still with a good pinch of curry.

The reason why I love spaghetti? It is one of those meals that even the most hesitant cooks can master and prepare from scratch on any occasion. And when it comes to making this non-traditional version of the carbonara, the recipe doesn’t overcater and the dish feels light yet so deliciously creamy.  The entire meal takes only minutes to cook, making it perfect for a midweek meal.

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Quick and Tasty Spaghetti Carbonara

This is a non-traditional spaghetti carbonara recipe as it does not contain eggs and has added mushrooms and ham, but it tastes fantastic and is easy to make.
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time15 mins
Total Time25 mins
Servings: 2


for the Carbonara:

  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 60 g dry spaghetti
  • 120 g shaved ham diced
  • 10 small button mushrooms
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 2 garlic cloves crushed
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 cup cream
  • 2 tbsp finely grated pecorino or Parmesan cheese

To serve:

  • extra finely grated pecorino or Parmesan cheese
  • extra pepper


To make the Spaghetti Carbonara:

  • Bring a pot of water to a boil, add half a teaspoon of salt. Add spaghetti and cook for 12 minutes (or according to your packet instructions).
  • In the meantime, place ham into a medium saucepan over high heat and stir to brown lightly. Add mushrooms, pepper, garlic, a pinch of salt and mix well. Pour in cream, turn down heat and allow to cook down for about 10 minutes. Mix in a 2 tablespoons of finely grated pecorino or parmesan into the sauce.
  • When ready, remove pasta with tongs and drop straight into the saucepan with the sauce. Mix well and serve immediately with extra cheese, pepper and basil leaves if you like.
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eatmarvin January 27, 2011 at 11:28 am

Hi Martyna! I totally agree. Making too much of a good dish, doesn’t matter how yummy it is, can eventually turn people off. And I also like cream based pasta sauce over tomato based. And your Spaghetti Carbonara looks delicious and very easy to prepare. I might make some (not too much) for dinner. :)

Denis Bonner June 1, 2011 at 12:58 am

Where is the cream? You cannot call this spaghetti alla carbonara if it has no cream in it!
(Note that this is a reflection from someone who is not only a trained chef but spent 2 years living in Italy.)

Wholesome Cook June 1, 2011 at 8:35 am

But, there is cream in it!!!

7 Quick Barbecue (Rotisserie) Chicken Recipe Ideas for Everyday Meals « Wholesome Cook June 25, 2012 at 12:30 pm

[…] I make my carbonara, I always add a little chicken to the sauce and use it for a yummy pizza toppings. My favourite? […]

Giulio February 9, 2013 at 12:39 am

Spaghetti alla carbonara have no ham, no mushrooms, no cream and no garlic so…while this recipe might taste good, it has nothing to do with spaghetti alla carbonara. ;-)
Anyway, quite a nice blog you have here, some good suggestions around.

Martyna @ Wholesome Cook February 9, 2013 at 10:51 am

Hi Giulio, thank you so much for your comment. I have updated the recipe and notes to say that this is not a traditional recipe, although most of the carbonara recipes I’ve come across contain garlic, some sort of ham and most do use cream. Nevertheless, I’ve made the changes. Nice to hear you like the blog :-)

Giulio February 9, 2013 at 7:42 pm

You’re welcome. ;-)

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