Chicken Carbonara with Pancetta & Lemon Zest


By: Lisa Ng

Spaghetti carbonara is a real treat. 

I love ordering it when I’m at a restaurant, but it’s oh-so-simple to make at home. My secret? Use store-bought rotisserie chicken and shred it all down at home. I also buy fresh pasta (it cooks quickly) and pre-cut pancetta pieces to reduce the number of steps in this recipe.

High quality cream and fresh organic eggs help to create the perfect silky carbonara sauce. I like to serve it a side of sauteed broccolini with my carbonara pasta. The lemon zest and sprinkle of fresh parsley truly elevates the entire dish. Here’s the recipe:



  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 oz pancetta, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons garlic, minced
  • 1 cup Parmesan cheese, freshly grated
  • 8 large egg yolks
  • 2 1/2 cups of whipping cream
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil leaves, chopped
  • 1/4 cup fresh flat-leaf parsley, chopped
  • 1 pound fresh spaghetti pasta
  • 1 rotisserie chicken, shredded
  • 1 lemon, for zesting
  • Salt & pepper
  • Red pepper flakes (optional)
  • Chopped parsley (additonal for garnish)



  1. Heat the oil in dutch oven over medium heat, add pancetta and garlic – sauté until brown and crispy.
  2. In a large bowl whisk cream, cheese, yolks, basil and parsley.
  3. Bring a large pot of salted water to boil over high heat. Cook spaghetti according to package directions to al dente. Drain.
  4. Turn your dutch oven to low. Add chicken to the pancetta mixture and then half of the cooked spaghetti. Slowly add half of the cream mixture and toss over low heat and the sauce coats the spaghetti thickly.
  5. Add the rest of the pasta and the rest of the sauce and repeat for about 4 minutes until the chicken is heated through and the sauce has thickened.
  6. Do not boil or mix at high heat or you will get scrambled eggs! Low heat is best.
  7. Season the pasta to taste with salt and pepper. Top with lemon zest and additional chopped parsley (optional) and red pepper flakes (optional). Top also with more cheese if you’d like.