Spaghetti with Butter Egg and Cheese

Of the 10 items I always have in my fridge and pantry, this recipe makes use of five of them. It’s an easy fix for nights when the cupboards are bare, I  have no more than 15 minutes to pull a meal together, and bellies need to be filled with something warm and delicious.

A crowd-pleaser and kid-pleaser, Butter, Egg and Cheese is spaghetti carbonara’s pork-free cousin.  The whole thing gets done in the same vessel used to cook the spaghetti, the heat of pot and pasta effectively cooking the egg onto the noodles.

It’s just the sort of dish to make when comfort is in order: when someone comes home with reports of a broken promise, or a broken ankle, or perhaps when they’re older, a broken heart.

It’s the meal we ate when I was a girl visiting cousins who lived in a house that was always alive with children, and noise, and the smell of something good happening at the stove. The dining table, which filled the better part of the kitchen, was crowded with too many of us to reasonably fit; a giant pot of this spaghetti usually at its center. As I recall, the pasta was devoured, shoveled into mouths rather than eaten with any semblance of manners.

Butter, Egg, and Cheese is a recipe my aunt learned from her mother, a native of Italy. It’s since been passed on to my cousins, and their children, to me…and now you. It’s well worth sharing. And much as I’m prone to tinker with recipes in an attempt to lighten them up or work in more vegetables or experiment with whole-grain pasta, Butter, Egg, and Cheese  should be left entirely alone. Get your added nourishment from generous salads and steamed vegetables on the side. Those Italian grandmothers knew what they were doing with this one.

Spaghetti with Butter, Egg and Cheese

Serving Size: Makes 4 to 5 servings

Spaghetti with Butter, Egg and Cheese

The handful of ingredients in this dish can be adjusted to suit your taste. Some like it cheesier, others prefer less milk, and others still, more butter. However you make it, do your best to get it from stove to table the minute the dish is assembled; that's when it is at its very best.


  • 1 pound spaghetti
  • Salt
  • 3/4 cup milk, plus more if needed
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2/3 cup finely grated Pecorino Romano cheese, plus more to pass at the table
  • Pepper to taste


  1. Cook the spaghetti in a large pot of generously salted water.
  2. While the spaghetti cooks, whisk together the milk and egg in a small bowl.
  3. Once the pasta is cooked al dente, drain.
  4. Put the drained pasta back into the cooking pot. Turn the heat to low, add the milk/egg mixture and butter, and stir just until the milk thickens and coats the noodles, a minute or so.
  5. Remove from heat. Add the cheese and stir again. Taste and add salt and pepper to taste. If the pasta gets too sticky, thin it with a little more milk.
  6. Serve immediately with more Pecorino Romano at the table.
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  1. 04.15.2013 at 11:43 AM #

    this pasta dish was literally all I ate until I was like 13 years old. I LOVE it. I’m surprised I didn’t turn into one giant carb back in the day 🙂

    • katiemorford
      04.15.2013 at 12:14 PM #

      Picky kid turned professional chef? Hope for parents far and wide.

  2. Pam
    04.27.2013 at 6:57 PM #

    Made this tonight for very tired, somewhat sick freshman son just back from overnight frosh retreat. We both loved it!

    • katiemorford
      04.28.2013 at 10:17 AM #

      Sounds like the perfect occasion for this pasta!

  3. 10.10.2013 at 7:41 AM #

    This looks really good actually! Oh, how I love pasta, cheese is awesome and so is milk and butter, eggs, they are pretty cool, it just depends! Thank you so much for sharing this! 😀

  4. Celia Montgomery
    12.07.2013 at 5:17 PM #

    I just found this recipe after googling “Pasta, egg, cheese” because that’s all I had in the fridge. What a lucky find! This took 10 minutes to make and was delicious. Thank you so much for posting!

    • katiemorford
      12.08.2013 at 2:16 PM #

      Hi Celia

      So glad the recipe worked out. It’s one of our favorites and so easy to pull together.

  5. 06.20.2014 at 6:03 PM #

    I just made this (minus the cheese) & it was delicious! I was a little worried abt the taste bt since these were the ingredients I had I worked with it & I’m glad I did. Definitely gonna make again…thank you!

    • katiemorford
      06.21.2014 at 9:32 AM #

      Oh good. Glad you liked it and that it all worked, even without the cheese! Thanks for the comment.

  6. Vasava
    08.24.2014 at 8:23 AM #

    I tried this out with cheddar instead of Parmesan (since cheddar is the default cheese in Indian refrigerators – and milk, cheese and eggs were all I had at home 😀 )

    Wasn’t too bad! Thanks for the simple recipe!

  7. ashley
    01.16.2015 at 6:03 PM #

    Mmm this was a lot better than I expected! I added a dash of garlic powder and it was really good that way too!

    • katiemorford
      01.17.2015 at 5:11 PM #

      Great tip on the garlic. Appreciate the comment.

  8. Rachel
    06.02.2015 at 6:15 PM #

    Eating it now, w changes.
    Spinach brown rice pasta, egg, cashew milk and a dash of half and half, skipped the butter (rushing), Himalayan pink salt, fresh ground pepper,sun dried tomatoes in oil, Romano.
    Next time will add bacon, maybe.

    • katiemorford
      06.03.2015 at 7:56 AM #

      Love that! Now I need to try it your way (maybe bacon, too) 🙂

  9. 01.14.2016 at 3:15 AM #

    Perfect! made this for my 4 year old girl today thats home and sick… she loves it!

    • katiemorford
      01.14.2016 at 8:49 AM #

      It’s always a favorite with my kids. Hope your little one is better soon.

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