Cooking spaghetti carbonara for one can quickly deliver a simple but decadent meal | Food | Pittsburgh | Pittsburgh City Paper

Cooking spaghetti carbonara for one can quickly deliver a simple but decadent meal 

“I don’t like spending hours in the kitchen.”


Cooking for one can be frustrating. First are the serving sizes, which imply that I have four to six mouths to feed. But I’m the only one relying on me, which is, mostly, pretty great! (I can eat chocolate ice cream for breakfast because I’m a grown-ass woman.) Sometimes having a week’s worth of leftovers can make life easier for a single gal, but it can also make life boring. I also don’t like spending hours in the kitchen. I don’t need to impress anyone — I just need to satiate myself. I tend to cook simple meals with basic ingredients. Butter, cheese, eggs and pasta are staples that I always have and are also the quintessential elements for vegetarian spaghetti carbonara. It’s perfect for the creative single: quick, easy and adaptable, so you can get back to whatever it is you do. 


  • 8 oz. spaghetti

  • 2 tbsp. olive oil or butter

  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced

  • 1 cup grated Parmesan or Pecorino 

  • 2 eggs

  • Lots of salt and pepper
  • Optional: peas, spinach or asparagus


Bring a pot of salted water to boil. Beat eggs in a bowl with ½ cup of the cheese. Add salt and pepper to the egg mixture to taste. (I go heavy on pepper, since the cheese is already pretty salty.) Add pasta to boiling water. Reserve one cup of starchy cooking water. Drain pasta when just a bit firmer than al dente. Meanwhile, heat oil or butter in heavy-bottomed skillet. Add the minced garlic. Cook for a minute, stirring, until garlic becomes fragrant. You can add the optional veggies with extra butter or oil here. Cook for a few minutes over low heat. Add pasta to skillet and ⅓ of the starchy water. Pour egg and cheese mixture over top. Stir immediately so the egg doesn’t scramble. Add more starchy water in increments for desired creaminess. Once mixed thoroughly, remove pasta from heat and sprinkle remaining cheese on top. Serve immediately.

Grieshober is a fiction writer who lives in Wilkinsburg.


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