Olympia – Jan/Feb 2018
Seaside – Jan/Feb/March 2018

Spaghetti Carbonara with Kentucky Ham Recipe

KentuckyHamCarbonara_NZ (1280x1094)RFT Contributor Nancy Zaffaro gave us this recipe that uses Newsom’s Kentucky cured ham. She writes, “This is a great mid-week meal. It’s ready in the time it takes to cook the pasta and I always have the ingredients in the house. I use a little more than usual ham in this dish because the ham truly takes center stage.”

To order a Newsom’s Kentucky ham


1 pound dried long thin pasta; such as spaghetti, linguini, or angel hair

Olive oil, enough to coat a medium sized sauce pan

1 T butter (or a little more olive oil)

3 cloves minced garlic

1 chopped sweet onion

One 3 x 3 inch chunk of Kentucky ham, diced very small

1 cup fresh or frozen peas

4 eggs, beaten

Fresh ground pepper

1 ½ cups of good quality fresh grated Parmesan or pecorino romano cheese, plus some for the table


Optional: Dried red pepper, added at the end, or on the table for passing.

1         Start heating water for cooking pasta.

2         While the water is heating, heat olive oil and butter in sauce pan and sauté garlic and onion cooked until just before it starts to brown in the pan. Add diced Kentucky ham, stir until warmed and just beginning to brown. Add peas until just warm. Add ground pepper. Set aside.

3         Cook pasta to al dente, or to your liking.

4         Drain pasta in a colander, leaving about a quarter of a cup of cooking water in the pot.  Quickly add the pasta back to the pot and quickly add the raw egg. Stir quickly until the egg cooks. (It will turn a beautiful yellow and the egg will look a little as it does when making egg drop soup.) Keep stirring until the egg is cooked. Add the sauce, using a spatula to get all the oil, butter, peas and bits of ham mixed in. Grate in a little more fresh pepper and all of the grated cheese. Stir again.

5         Empty pasta into a large pasta bowl and serve hot.

6         Serve with sea salt, black pepper and dried red pepper on the table.

Newsom hams hanging in smokehouse

Want to know more about Kentucky ham? Read about Nancy’s Real Food Find, “Kentucky Ham: Now a West Coast Staple.”

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Nancy Zaffaro

Nancy Zaffaro is a travel and food writer based in Portland, Oregon. She enjoys travel, writing, good food and drink (of course!), cooking, yoga, kayaking, and photography. She’s a long-time writer and editor who has had interesting and varied careers in the arts and in business, and is thrilled to be able to travel the world and write about her adventures. Nancy is also the Editor of