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Overhead image of plated Pesto Carbonara on a black plate with a fork and spoon, laying on marble with basil, garlic cloves, and a corkscrew with a cork
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5 from 1 vote

Walnut Pesto Carbonara

Made creamy with egg yolks and tossed with hot pasta and a bit of bacon fat, carbonara prides itself on simple, quality ingredients that when combined make for a flavourful and soulful dish. We've swapped the traditional pine nuts for walnuts to make this Pesto Carbonara easier on the wallet without compromising flavour.
Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time15 mins
Course: Food + Drink, Main
Cuisine: Italian
Keyword: pesto recipes, walnut pesto carbonara, Walnut pesto recipes
Servings: 4 servings
Author: Chef Sous Chef


  • ¼ cup walnuts
  • 2 cloves garlic 1 chopped and one whole
  • 1 cup fresh basil
  • ½ small lemon juiced
  • 1 cup grated parmigiana reggiano divided
  • ¼ cup olive oil + 1 tablespoon
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon pepper
  • ½ lb pasta
  • 3 large egg yolks
  • ¼ lb pancetta cubed


  • No. 1 | Start a large pot of heavily salted water to boil.
  • No. 2 | In a small food processor or blender, pulse the walnuts and chopped garlic together 3-4 times until combined. Add the basil and pulse again. Finally, add the lemon juice and ¼ cup parmesan and pulse once more then scrape it into a bowl. Stir in the ¼ cup olive oil then season with the salt and pepper. Taste and adjust seasoning as preferred.
  • No. 3 | In a separate bowl, beat the egg yolks and ½ cup parmesan. Add half the pesto, stir and set aside.
  • No. 4 | At this point you can add your pasta to the water and cook it until it is al dente.
  • No. 5 | Meanwhile, place cubed pancetta in a large skillet with a clove of garlic and cook on medium heat. Cook the meat until it is browned but not crispy, about 5-7 minutes. Remove and discard the garlic, then add the black pepper.
  • No. 6 | Reserve about a half cup of the pasta water. Drain the pasta and add to the pancetta. Pour in half of the reserved pasta water and toss to coat the pasta. Add the egg pesto sauce and toss the pasta. Add a bit more water if needed. Season with fresh ground pepper.
  • No. 7 | Serve with an additional sprinkling of parmesan, and a splash of additional pesto.


Tip: make additional walnut pesto and use it on other dishes like pizza or avocado toast. Cooking tip: don't overcook the pasta for your pesto carbonara, you want it al dente (firm to the bite). Once you remove it from the water and add it to the pan it will continue to cook. Also, if you're using fresh pasta begin cooking it just as the pancetta finishes cooking in the pan. Styling tip: let the rustic nature of this creamy pesto carbonara fall as it may. Using a spoon and tongs, twirl the pasta and gently plate, pulling the pasta slowly down one side of the plate. Top with a heaping handfuls of parmigiano, finely chopped basil and glaze with additional walnut pesto.