This NYT Cooking take on classic carbonara substitutes orzo for spaghetti and the finished dish resembles risotto. Brown guanciale, pancetta or bacon and set aside. Stir the dry orzo into the fat, add stock and simmer. Once the liquid is mostly absorbed by the pasta, remove from heat and stir in cheese and eggs. Serve sprinkled with more cheese, pepper and reserved bacon.

Avoiding Additives and Preservatives

I used Free From bacon and Better Than Bouillon to make the stock. Use genuine Parmesan or Pecorino Romano, which do not contain colour or preservatives.

Cook bacon and set aside

This preparation is similar to risotto

Orzotto Alla Carbonara


3 ½ ounces (100 g) guanciale, pancetta or thick-cut bacon, cut into small dice (2/3 cup/165 ml)

1 ¼ cups/about 9 ounces (312 ml/255 g) dry orzo

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

3 cups (750 ml) low-sodium chicken broth, plus more as needed

6 tablespoons (90 ml) finely grated Pecorino Romano or Parmesan, plus more for serving

1 large egg plus 2 egg yolks


Add the guanciale to a large, high-sided skillet and set over medium heat. Cook, stirring occasionally, until deeply browned and crispy all over, about 5 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the guanciale to a small dish. Drain off all but 2 tablespoons (30 ml) of the fat from the skillet; reserve the extra fat for another use.

Stir the orzo into the fat in the skillet until coated, then season with salt and pepper. Stir constantly for just a few seconds, then add the chicken broth, raise the heat to high and bring to a simmer. Reduce the heat to medium-low to maintain a gentle simmer. Cook, stirring occasionally so the orzo doesn’t stick to the bottom of the skillet, until the orzo is tender and loose like risotto, adding more broth as needed, 7 to 9 minutes. At this point, the pasta should have absorbed most of the liquid.

Take the skillet off the heat and vigorously stir in 4 tablespoons (60 ml) of the pecorino. In a small bowl, whisk together the egg and yolks. Stir in the remaining 2 tablespoons (30 ml) pecorino and ¼ cup (60 ml) of the orzo to temper the eggs and prevent them from scrambling when added to the skillet. Stir this mixture into the hot orzo, then immediately shake the skillet with one hand and stir with the other until the orzo is creamy and thick, about 1 minute.

Taste and add salt as desired. Divide among plates and sprinkle with more pecorino, black pepper and the reserved guanciale. Serves 2-4.

From NYT Cooking