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Nov 20, 2012 08:43 AM

carbonara for 6, tactics

I have cooked carbonara for 4, that was a challenge itself, and I did not really have enough.

Any idea on amount of pasta? This will be for a main course, not a traditional primi. I am thinking at least a dozen yolks.

Any tips on how to make this work? Split in 2 or 3 batches? I do have a pasta pot big enough thankfully. I can cook all the pancetta in one pan then split into a couple pans. Mixing the pasta, water, eggs, bacon and cheese altogether and serving hot is what I am most concerned about. Any tips on getting this done without looking like the Tasmanian Devil in the kitchen is most appreciated.

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  1. It all depends on your carbonara recipe.
    Peas or any other add in's that make it even less traditional?

    If going dried pasta a'la a thin spaghettii, I do 1 lb. to 1-1/2lbs of dried for 6 folks as a main but plate what fits the bowl size you use. Leftover cooked spachetti can always find a use. For its cost , too much rather than too little when cooking pasta alone..

    I usually do one whole egg whisked per serving, but if only doing 2 egg yolks fine, and I usually split eggs into individual gladware and wisk or do 2 bataches up per container and then split those into 2 bowls respectively when serving. 3 containers, 6 servings, 12 egg yolks. I also add my freah ground pepper to the yolks to reduce a step of adding it to each bowl and having things cool down. LazY on my end? Maybe. But it works.

    Pancetta as a whole batch for 6 can be cooked, held and and then quickely warmed/heated when ready to start to plate if using a bit of olive oil to keep it lubricated and spread the heat to prevent burning.

    I keep my bowls in a 200F oven to keep them warm.

    Once bowls are warm, cook the pasta and have the pancetta done and warming , the eggs mixed and the cheese grated.

    Drain pasta, retain water and then serve per bowl with 6 up on the counter.

    There should be extra pasta based on the numbers above so you can reaheat that alone in the microwave with a tiny amount of pasta water if anyone wants seconds and then drop in more egg yolks for a single batch . A whole bowl batch can be spit or halved accordingly for small seconds.

    I've done the "big batch" one pot style ad nauseum but once cold or even cool it does NOT reheat well nor really hold well for seconds unless you add cream or some type of dairy to keep it juicy once pasta is added.. Leftovers is a lost cause.

    Nature of the beast.

    Good luck.

    6 Replies
    1. re: jjjrfoodie

      thanks JF,

      strictly traditional (with the exception of pancetta vs. guanciale).

      Are you saying that I should toss my pasta/eggs/bacon in the bowls themselves not on the stove? do you find this adds enough heat to the process? I usually do this in a skillet, add items, mix add a bit more water or cheese as needed. have never tried to make in the bowls. If that works, would make it much easier for 6 servings.

      1. re: cleopatra999

        Yes to "JF's" bowl or even use two.If the bowl is pre warmed to very hot the finish and serve is easier.

        1. re: lcool

          I interpreted it as mix in 6 separate bowls. Do you mean I should mix end product in one big bowl then allow guests to dish up? Or just mix in one bowl then transfer to the 6 individual bowls?

          1. re: cleopatra999

            Yes. I use 6 seperate oven warmed bowls (I use std. ceramic Target or cooking supply sourced soup or pasta bowls depending upon the portion size I am doing.. Same for either)

            Nice Warm bowls negate the need to toss everything back in a skillet and risk being overdone.

            Warm Bowl, bowl bowl bowl bowl bowl.

            Hot Pasta, pasta, pasta, pasta pasta pasta .
            Scant Pasta water x 6.
            Hot pancetta x 6.
            Egg x 6
            Your already grated fresh Parm or romano x6.

            Get those to the table ASAP

            Let each mix on thier own and then add extra cheese of choice. Extra cracked pepper on top at the table.


            I do it one-up all day long when I cook for only me and it's easy-peasy.
            When I;m too lazy to heat a bowl in an oven I just fill with very hot tap water to keep bowl warm. Then dump and dry before adding pasta.

            Those squeemish about fresh uncooked eggs may want to add to a hot pan but I have no qualms about adding room temp eggs to my hot pasta.

            It's just he way I roll.

            I'm not skeered.


            Carbonara is just not a great "cook and hold" or family style dish in my eyes.

            Portiion to each guest and seconds are not that hard to whip up. At all.

            If done in a big batch, once it gets near room temp or cold, it's a gonner. That's why I don;t do it that way unless a mondo big family event or lots of kids that want small portions.


              1. re: cleopatra999

                Yes to the 6,but I usually do a stack with 2 or so extra.My warm in oven method includes a spoonful of water or pasta water,per bowl on a sheet pan.For me an easier kind of hot with a slippery surface.