Lemony Chicken Carbonara

10 minutes

20 minutes




  • 4–5 rashers good-quality bacon, chopped 
  • 2 boneless, skinless chicken thighs or breasts, cut in large strips 
  • spaghetti 
  • 1 cup peas 
  • 4 cloves NZ garlic, chopped 
  • 1 1/2 cups cream 
  • 1 Tbsp lemon zest
  • 3/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan 
  • big handful chopped fresh herbs (chives, basil, parsley), plus extra for serving 
  • flaky sea salt and freshly cracked black pepper 
  • 1 Tbsp lemon juice 
  • 3 free-range eggs, lightly beaten

Suggested wine match -  2013 Waipara Hills Equinox Chardonnay

From The Food Show 2015.


This beautifully silky and creamy pasta has three eggs in it – I used free-range farm eggs for the photo shoot, which gave the sauce the most beautiful yellow hue. You can omit the chicken for a vegetarian option; and if you’re not a fan of peas, try baby spinach instead for some greenery on the scenery (as Mum would say).

Heat 1 Tbsp olive oil in a large frying pan over a medium-high heat. Add bacon and fry for a few minutes until one side is crispy and brown. Stir and cook until crispy and golden all over. Set aside to drain on paper towels.

Add chicken strips to pan and cook until golden brown all over and cooked through. Set aside.

Cook pasta in a large saucepan of salted boiling water until just al dente (firm to the bite). With 4 minutes to go, add peas.

While pasta is cooking, tip out excess fat from chicken pan and replace pan over a medium-low heat. Add 1 Tbsp olive oil and garlic then cook, stirring, for about 1 minute. Add cream and lemon zest along with bacon, chicken and Parmesan. Simmer gently for a few minutes. Stir through herbs and season with salt and pepper to taste.

Drain pasta and peas quickly in a colander then immediately return to saucepan. Add cream sauce, lemon juice and beaten eggs. Cook over a very low heat, stirring with a wooden spoon, until egg cooks and sauce thickens. Don’t let eggs get too hot or they will scramble – be patient! The carbonara should be smooth and creamy looking.

Serve with extra fresh herbs on top and a good crack of black pepper.