Carbonara di Mare (Seafood Carbonara)

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Carbonara di mare is a creamy variation of traditional carbonara that’s made with guanciale. Instead of bacon, this seafood carbonara recipe uses fresh salmon and prawns for a tasty dinner that’s ready in 30 minutes. 

Seafood carbonara in bowl

Even though it might sound a bit strange, carbonara di mare is actually a thing. You make it just like regular carbonara, mixing egg yolks and Parmesan, which you then stir it into the pasta to cook from the residual heat, but instead of guanciale or pancetta, you use seafood.

There are lots of different recipes for this, and you can use anything from swordfish and tuna to salmon and calamari. I opted for some fresh Scottish salmon and prawns, but the dish lends itself for lots of variations.

What kind of pasta works in this recipe?

Just like with the traditional carbonara recipe, the most suitable type of pasta for carbonara di mare is spaghetti. You can also use other kinds of long pasta that work great with this type of creamy sauce, such as linguine, for example. 

Seafood carbonara in bowl close up

I like to use fresh spaghetti for carbonara, but regular dry spaghetti would work just as well. What you need to keep in mind is that the pasta really needs to be al dente for this recipe. Boil it for too long, and you’ll end up with inedible mush. You also need to remember to reserve a cup of pasta water before draining the pasta, because you need to add some of it to the egg mixture. 

What seafood works best for carbonara di mare?

You can use just about any kind of seafood for this recipe, as the carbonara sauce is quite versatile. You can make it with swordfish and prawns instead of salmon, or eliminate the shellfish altogether and use a combination of swordfish and salmon. Alternatively, you can use mussels and clams. 

How do you make it?

1. Boil the pasta according to the instructions on the package. You’re looking for al dente texture. 

2. Meanwhile, cut the salmon in bite-sized pieces, removing the skin if necessary. 

3. In a frying pan, heat the olive oil and throw a whole garlic clove in for 1 minute, careful not to burn it. Remove and discard the garlic.

4. Add the prawns to the pan and cook for 5-6 minutes until pink and slighty crisp. Remove the prawns from the pan.

5. In the same pan, fry the salmon bits for 3-4 minutes, adding an extra dash of olive oil if necessary. Transfer the prawns back to the pan and cook together for another minute on low heat.

6. Reserve 1 cup of pasta water and drain the spaghetti.

7. In a bowl, whisk together the egg and yolks with a pinch of salt and freshly grated black pepper. Mix the Parmesan in, add a dash of pasta water, and set aside. 

8. Transfer the spaghetti to the pan. Toss everything well and turn off the heat. Add the egg mixture and toss well. The egg will cook from the residual heat, but make sure you toss the pasta well so you don’t end up with overcooked bits. If the pasta looks too dry, add a bit more of pasta water.

9. Divide the pasta into bowls, season with freshly grated black pepper, and serve immediately.

Seafood carbonara in bowl with cutlery on the right

Tips for the best seafood carbonara

  • Adding pasta water to the egg mixture heats it up a bit and makes it extra creamy, so it’s easier for the spaghetti to catch the carbonara sauce.
  • Be extra careful not to overcook the eggs, as you may end up with a scrambled eggs effect. Add the egg mixture to the pan immediately after turning off the heat. The residual heat is enough to cook the eggs.
  • This is not a dish that can be reheated, so serve it immediately.

If you liked this carbonara di mare recipe, check out some of my other quick pasta recipes:

Tagliatelle ai Funghi (Pasta with Mushrooms)

Creamy Mushroom Alfredo Pasta Bake

Creamy Roasted Red Pepper Pasta with Walnuts

Easiest Ever Creamy Prawn Linguine (Linguine con Gamberi)

Looking for more delicious inspiration? Follow Skinny Spatula on Instagram, Facebook, and Pinterest! 

Yield: 4

Carbonara di Mare (Seafood Carbonara)

Seafood carbonara in bowl with cutlery on the left

Carbonara di mare is a creamy variation of traditional carbonara that's made with guanciale. Instead of bacon, this seafood carbonara recipe uses fresh salmon and prawns for a tasty dinner that's ready in 30 minutes. 

Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes

Ingredients

  • 300 g (10 oz) spaghetti
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 150 g (5 oz) fresh salmon
  • 150 g (5 oz) king prawns
  • 50 g (1/4 cup) grated Parmesan
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 large egg
  • 3 egg yolks
  • Sea salt
  • Freshly grated black pepper

Instructions

    1. Boil the pasta according to the instructions on the package. You're looking for al dente texture.
    2. Meanwhile, cut the salmon in bite-sized pieces, removing the skin if necessary.
    3. In a frying pan, heat the olive oil and throw a whole garlic clove in for 1 minute, careful not to burn it. Remove and discard the garlic.
    4. Add the prawns to the pan and cook for 5-6 minutes until pink and slighty crisp. Remove the prawns from the pan.
    5. In the same pan, fry the salmon bits for 3-4 minutes, adding an extra dash of olive oil if necessary. Transfer the prawns back to the pan and cook together for another minute on low heat.
    6. Reserve 1 cup of pasta water and drain the spaghetti.
    7. In a bowl, whisk together the egg and yolks with a pinch of salt and freshly grated black pepper. Mix the Parmesan in, add a dash of pasta water, and set aside.
    8. Transfer the spaghetti to the pan. Toss everything well and turn off the heat. Add the egg mixture and toss well. The egg will cook from the residual heat, but make sure you toss the pasta well so you don't end up with overcooked bits. If the pasta looks too dry, add a bit more of pasta water.
    9. Divide the pasta into bowls, season with freshly grated black pepper, and serve immediately.

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

4

Serving Size:

1

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 408Total Fat: 21gSaturated Fat: 6gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 13gCholesterol: 298mgSodium: 777mgCarbohydrates: 26gFiber: 1gSugar: 1gProtein: 28g

Nutritional information is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator.

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