Lia’s Spinach Carbonara

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With autumn taking a firm grip on the weather, thoughts and memories wander back to my summer vacation in Greece. There’s Greek countryside, the sea, the people, friends and family.

Most of my mom’s side of the family lives there and this is one of the important reasons why I go back to Greece as often as I do.

My first cousin Lia (see the resemblance) is also blessed with being raised and fed by a wonderful cook, my Theia (aunt) Angeliki (my mom’s sister).

Each year I make my pilgrimage back to my parents’ home town and I always stay at Lia’s house. This year, my Theia Angeliki was at my family’s summer home so, Lia was left with the cooking duties.

I arrived into Amynteo by train from Thessaloniki…just in time for lunch. Lia had prepared a surprising and delicious meal of Spinach Carbonara.

This is a such an easy and wonderful departure on the classic carbonara but it injects some hearty, healthy spinach into the mix (good way to sneak some greens in for your kids).

I’ve made this dish twice already…once using thawed frozen spinach and also with fresh baby spinach, wilted at the very end when tossing the sauce together. Either approach works wonderfully.

I’m delighted to share my cousin’s recipe of Spinach Carbonara with you…it’s quick, it’s easy, it’s filling and in a usual Kalofagas way, delicious!

Lia’s Spinach Carbonara
(serves 4)

1 package (500gr.) dry linguine
12 strips of bacon

4 handfuls of thawed frozen spinach,
squeezed of excess water
6 cups of fresh baby spinach, rinsed & pat dry
4 eggs yolks

1/2 cup of heavy cream

1/2 cup grated Kefalotyri cheese

lots of cracked black pepper
4 cloves of garlic, smashed

1/2 cup of red onions, diced

1/4 cup dry white wine
some pasta water

some extra grated Kefalotyri (or Romano) cheese

  1. Place a large pot of water on your stovetop and bring to a boil. Add a good amount of salt and cook your pasta as per package instructions. In a small bowl, whisk your egg yolks, cream, grated cheese and black pepper and set aside.
  2. Chop your strips of bacon into bite-sized pieces and place in a large skillet. Add about a 1/3 cup of water and bring to a boil. The water will help render the fat in the bacon and eventually leave you with crispy bacon. Remove with a slotted spoon and reserve. Remove excess bacon fat or add some olive oil if the skillet is too dry.
  3. Add your onions and smashed garlic and saute for 2-3 minutes over medium-low heat while stirring. Now add the wine and keep on stirring to deglaze and release the brown bits from the bacon. Reduce until there’s almost no liquid left, take off the heat and reserve.
  4. As soon as your pasta is cooked, reserve some pasta water and drain the pasta. Add the pasta back into the skillet, along with the bacon, egg/cream mixture and your spinach. Begin tossing and folding the sauce into the pasta. If your sauce is too dry, add some of the reserved pasta water and continue to coat. Your sauce should cook and thicken from the residual heat of the pasta. If the sauce is too loose, place your skillet under very low-heat and keep tossing the sauce & the pasta until it thickens.
  5. Plate the pasta with some more cracked black pepper and have some grated cheese available at the table.

© 2008 – 2009,
Peter Minakis

. All rights reserved.

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46 Comments for “Lia’s Spinach Carbonara”

JennDZ - The Leftover Queen


That looks scrumptious Peter! Your cousin looks like a sweetie! You are so lucky to be able to visit them often!

Peter G


Nice one Peter! The spinach is definitely a great add on in this dish…you and your cousin look sweet together.



that looks delightful! maybe i can try this without the bacon (i can hear everyone saying, Whats The Point? LOL!) – but we veggies gotta adapt!

Happy cook


It looks so yumm, never added spincah, my daughter will love this as one veggie she eats is spinach



this is one of the most original carbonara recipes i’ve come across – and i love the idea of sneaking in some greens for the kids’ pasta



Awwwwwww…What a lovely picture! The dish looks great! How do you make your pasta look so orderly?

FOODalogue: Meandering Meals and Travels


You do look a lot alike. Kudos to Lia for adding a healthy element to carbonara. It’s long been my ‘kitchen opinion’ that if you add spinach to anything, it excuses some of the other ingredients.

Susan from Food Blogga


Oh, what an enticingly rich and creamy dish this is, Peter. Many thanks to you and Lia!



What gorgeous photos. I am so all over this one. Never heard of that cheese, but the spinach is a really good addition.

Cathy - wheresmydamnanswer


That looks so tasty!! Love the pic of you and your cuz!! Talent runs in the family!!



At first when I saw the spinach, I thought, oh, healthy carbonara. Then I saw the 12 strips of bacon, the 4 egg yolks, and the heavy cream. And then I remembered, carbonara is not about healthy, it’s about being fabulous!!



Looks scrumptuous. Even before I read the content of the post, I looked at that photo and siad you two look A LOT alike!

Laurie Constantino


Just more proof that everything tastes better with bacon! You and Lia have exactly matching eyes – it’s so great to be able to spend time with family, isn’t it?

The Short (dis)Order Cook


It looks delicious and I love the idea. Add spinach to your carbonara and ease the guilt. The nutrients in the spinach cancel out everything else, right?



I’ve made this, and just love it! Love your crown of bacon on top of the nest of pasta. Mine just ends up slapped on a plate, as the starving hordes crowd around, growling, waiting to be fed. *sigh* Feeding teeneaged and young adult men can be so trying – they just don’t appreciate pretty food *sigh*



You can’t go wrong with carbonara topped with a mount of salty bacon. This looks perfect and I am impressed, once again. You and your cousin both have gorgeous eyes!!

Mochachocolata Rita


oh oh creamy carbonara…and all that bacon…come to mama! my cousins and i used to be sooo close when we were young, up to the point where we will all cry at the train station before parting :) hehehe



Love the idea of spinach with pasta. Love the idea of spinach with anything. Your cousin has a great smile and looks very sweet



I make a similar sauce for pasta, but it is more of a cheese sauce base with spinach added. This is a bit different with the addition of eggs. I bet it is a really rich sauce. I will have to give it a go this way.



You two look so alike!!!! those eyes!!!
I wish I had some cousins here in Canada so that I could visit you and share this wonderful Spinach Carbonara Chico!



I wish I can visit Indonesia often. Your photo with your cousin is just so sweet!! And yes, there is a resemblance. I don’t look at all alike to anybody in my family, not even my brothers. *sigh*



Yum. Sometimes it's the simpler meals that are the most heartwarming. I love every ingredient in this dish, I only wish I were traveling to Greece to enjoy it!

You & your cousin do share a striking resemblance—looking more like brother & sister than first cousins!



Your cousin is lovely … gorgeous eyes you all have! This carbonara is lovely, too. It’s so much lighter than the traditional one, and I really enjoy pasta and spinach. And, of course, I have a thing for bacon! YUM!



Your cousin is lovely … gorgeous eyes you all have! This carbonara is lovely, too. It’s so much lighter than the traditional one, and I really enjoy pasta and spinach. And, of course, I have a thing for bacon! YUM!





I do love the flavor of carbonara, but I have a feeling it would really blow me away with spinach, one of my favorite foods ever ever. YUM. Nice work from Lia!

Choosy Beggar Tina


Can you believe that I just tried kefalotyri cheese for the first time last week? And that it’s only because the new Longos by our house brought it in? I LOVE IT. I mean, I REALLY, REALLY LOVE IT.

And now I’m going to go search your blog for other ways to use this outstanding cheese, because frankly – Peter, I trust you.



I did a double-take on the title of this post, thinking “that’s so sweet that Peter picked up my carbonara recipe.” And then I thought, “I don’t have a spinach carbonara recipe on Swirling Notions ;-).” It’s so funny, I never, ever run into someone with my name (Lia) spelled the way mine is spelled (Lia) here in America and I’m not Greek. Yet whenever I go to Greece, I run into a gazillion Lia’s. Now I can count your cousin among them ;-). Great looking recipe too . . . thanks, Lia!



Hi there cousin!!! This is Lia! Thanks man for making me FAMOUS!!! I also want to thank your friends for their good comments!
Love you all, kises!!!!!
PS (dont you have a better picture of me? i look terrible)



First, and most importantly, Lia you do not look terrible, the photo is not so good, just a family snap, but you have an open generous smile, so all the rest is details.

As to carbonara, my favourite recipe for this is Marcella Hazan’s which is simpler, and perhaps truer to the roots of the dish as something knocked up by the charcoal burners with ingredients to hand, in a misty morning in the woods, from the embers of a fire, after staying up all night watching the charcoal heap, and ensuring that it does not catch fire. I like a little romance with my cooking! So no cream, that’s only for restaurants who cannot make from scratch, and is in my opinion plain wrong. Here is Marcella’s son with his mother’s recipe

I will try adding spinach to this, it sounds delicious, and by luck I have a bag in my fridge now, so lunch is sorted!