Swap In Udon Noodles For An Asian-Fusion Carbonara

You might typically use spaghetti for your pot of homemade carbonara, but udon noodles are supreme if you want to try something new like an Asian-Italian fusion of flavors and textures. There are subtle differences between pasta like spaghetti and noodles like udon, and some of those contrasts are why the ingredient swap works so well. We'll call it udon carbonara, compared to spaghetti carbonara, because you can still use all of the other core ingredients like pancetta, eggs, garlic, and grated parmesan cheese.

It's a great ingredient swap if you appreciate fusing together different types of cuisine — or if you just want to use that pack of udon noodles in the pantry soon. Udon noodles are thicker and chewier than spaghetti, so the ingredient offers more texture in each bite. The flavorful sauce and pancetta of carbonara should hold onto the bigger noodles better, which will also soak up any of the extra sauce at the bottom of your plate or bowl. To make it happen, you can make homemade udon noodles from scratch if you have time, or use store-bought dry, fresh, or frozen noodles. Keep in mind dry udon noodles might be thinner than ones made fresh but they'll still provide thicker texture than spaghetti in carbonara.

Add miso paste to udon carbonara for more Asian-inspired flavor

The first key to perfecting udon carbonara (other than making a flavorful sauce) is cooking the noodles properly. You'll want to adjust your cooking method depending on whether you're using fresh, frozen, or dried noodles. Check the package for the instructions, and don't overdo it or the noodles might lose their chewy texture. You can boil udon noodles like spaghetti and other pastas, but some recipes recommend blanching or parboiling them since the udon will continue to cook in the sauce as you create the rest of the dish.

Try this udon twist with Tasting Table's simple spaghetti carbonara from recipe developer Jennine Rye by simply swapping the spaghetti with noodles. Rye makes a sauce with eggs, grated parmesan, salt and pepper, butter, pancetta, and garlic. Those are all classic ingredients for carbonara, but you can add miso paste or dashi powder to really lean into the Asian-style inspiration. Swap the pancetta with bacon if it's more affordable or you already have some in the fridge. And don't forget a garnish of scallions, crushed red pepper, and more grated parmesan to complete the dish for serving.