Yes, I know you’re not meant to put cream or anything creamlike in a carbonara. So, technically, this recipe isn’t really a carbonara. But it is quick, easy, filling, cheap, delicious and the leftovers keep well in the fridge. If I am going to be perfectly honest, food purists are usually crashing bores. While I will die on the pineapple-has-no-business-being-on-a-pizza hill, food purists are frequently the death of dinner parties, the drain of all joie de vivre from restaurants – and, crucially, they often lack imagination and patronise people who just want to eat something yummy.

This carbonara was born last week when I was using up a few things in the fridge before my husband and I went away for a few days. There were a couple of eggs, there was some bacon that was on the verge of seeing better days, there was pasta – and there was just enough Greek yoghurt for this carbonara and the next morning’s breakfast. After some Googling, I decided Greek yoghurt – or indeed any plain yoghurt – would be a legitimate ingredient in a carbonara.

As if that wasn’t enough for the food purist police to break down my door, I also put finely grated cheddar cheese in this carbonara. Arrest me now, you tedious drones!

It was super-fast, super-easy after a busy day writing about anything but food – and my husband said it tasted better than many a restaurant carbonara. And that, quite frankly, is praise enough.

Sod-the-purists carbonara


2 tablespoons olive oil

250g dried pasta (I used fusilli)

1 large onion, diced

2 garlic cloves, crushed (or use garlic granules)

150g bacon, diced (or use pre-packaged diced bacon or ham)

Two eggs

150g finely grated cheese (I scandalously used cheddar, but parmesan or any hard cheese is fine)

Five tablespoons of yoghurt (I used fat-free Greek yoghurt, but any plain yoghurt will do the job. Or cream or creme fraiche)

Salt to taste

A sprinkling of dried basil

Black pepper to serve


  1. Heat the olive oil in a pot and put the pasta on to cook.
  2. Once the oil is warm, thrown in the onion, garlic and bacon and cook until the bacon starts to brown. Turn the heat down.
  3. Mix the eggs, yoghurt and grated cheese and add to the onion, garlic and bacon and stir quickly. Leave the heat on medium-low.
  4. Check on the pasta – use a little of the pasta water to thin the sauce so it doesn’t become thick and gluey.
  5. Drain the pasta when it’s just about cooked and add to the pot with the carbonara sauce. Stir well and season with the salt and basil.
  6. Serve with a smattering of black pepper.

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