Olive Magazine
Two grey bowls filled with spaghetti, fried leeks and chunks of fried pancetta, topped with grated white cheese

Leek carbonara

Published: October 1, 2021 at 11:18 am
  • Preparation and cooking time
    • Total time
  • Easy
  • Serves 2

The oniony kick of leeks adds a richness to classic carbonara. Freeze any left-over egg whites in a small sealed container – they defrost quickly and are handy for making a pavlova or Swiss meringue buttercream


Make this creamy leek carbonara, then check out our classic spaghetti carbonaravegetarian carbonara and penne carbonara plus more quick pasta recipes.


  • 77g cubed pancetta or guanciale
  • a knob unsalted butter
  • 2 leeks, washed, halved lengthways and thinly sliced
  • 200g spaghetti
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 75g parmesan
  • black peppercorns, ground to make 2 tsp


  • STEP 1

    Cook the pancetta in a cold non-stick frying pan over a medium-high heat for 5-10 minutes or until the fat has rendered and the pancetta is crisp. Scoop out onto a plate using a slotted spoon.

  • STEP 2
    Add the butter and leeks to the pan with a pinch of salt, then reduce the heat to medium-low and cook gently for 15-20 minutes or until the leeks are very tender. Stir the pancetta back into the pan. Meanwhile, cook the spaghetti in a large pan of lightly salted boiling water following pack instructions.
  • STEP 3
    Whisk together the egg yolks, parmesan and black pepper. When the pasta is nearly done, spoon 2 tbsp of the pasta cooking water into the egg mixture and whisk again.
  • STEP 4
    Use a pair of tongs to transfer the spaghetti straight from the water to the leek pan, then reduce the heat to very low. Immediately scrape in the egg mixture and use the tongs to gently toss everything together. Add another splash of the pasta cooking water, if needed to loosen. Continue to toss for 3-4 minutes – the sauce should thicken and cling to the spaghetti, which means the egg yolks are cooked. Divide the carbonara between two bowls and serve.

Find more

Vegetarian Lasagna Recipe for kale, ricotta and leek lasagne

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