Spaghetti with Butter, Egg, and Cheese

Spaghetti with Butter, Egg, and Cheese

The plan was dinner and a movie with the whole family, a rare occasion these days and one I’d been excited about. Halfway through the evening, however, one of the kids — who hadn’t felt great to begin with — took a turn for the worse and I found myself back home tucking her into bed and wondering what I was going to fix for dinner. A craving for comfort food combined with a bare pantry landed me on today’s recipe, one I hadn’t made in ages. In no time, I was crossed legged on the couch with a bowl of this pasta in my lap, thinking, “why don’t I make this more often?”

A Pasta for Everyone

Spaghetti with Butter, Egg, and Cheese is an easy fix for nights when supper needs to get done and you’re short on supplies.  A crowd-pleaser and kid-pleaser, it’s essentially 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.

A Bowl of Comfort

This is 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 whose house was always alive with children, pets, 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. The pasta was always devoured: shoveled into mouths rather than eaten with any semblance of manners.

Worth Passing On

The recipe is from my aunt, who learned it from her mother, a native of Italy. It’s since been passed on to my cousins, and their children, to me and my children…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.

If you like this recipe, you might also enjoy:

Carrot Mac and Cheese

Weeknight Spaghetti and Clams. 

Summer Veggie Pasta

Instant Pot Mac and Cheese from Real Mom Nutrition

Gluten-Free Meyer Lemon and Brown Butter Pasta from This Mess is Ours

Spaghetti with Butter, Egg, and Cheese

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Spaghetti with Butter, Egg, and Cheese
4.92 from 23 votes
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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.
Course Main Course
Cuisine Italian
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 15 minutes
Servings 4 to 6
Calories 332 kcal
Author katiemorford

Ingredients

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

Instructions

  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.
5 ingredients and 15 minutes will get you this crowd- and kid-pleasing dinner. Click To Tweet

Comments

04.15.2013 at 11:43 AM #

Gaby

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 🙂

04.15.2013 at 11:43 AM #

katiemorford

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

04.27.2013 at 6:57 PM #

Pam

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

04.27.2013 at 6:57 PM #

katiemorford

Sounds like the perfect occasion for this pasta!

10.10.2013 at 7:41 AM #

Allison Proctor

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! 😀

12.07.2013 at 5:17 PM #

Celia Montgomery

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!

12.07.2013 at 5:17 PM #

katiemorford

Hi Celia

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

06.20.2014 at 6:03 PM #

Kacey

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!

06.20.2014 at 6:03 PM #

katiemorford

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

08.24.2014 at 8:23 AM #

Vasava

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!

01.16.2015 at 6:03 PM #

ashley

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

01.16.2015 at 6:03 PM #

katiemorford

Great tip on the garlic. Appreciate the comment.

06.02.2015 at 6:15 PM #

Rachel

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.
Yes!
Next time will add bacon, maybe.

06.02.2015 at 6:15 PM #

katiemorford

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

01.14.2016 at 3:15 AM #

Elin

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

01.14.2016 at 3:15 AM #

katiemorford

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

08.20.2016 at 9:40 PM #

Dolly DiPanni

When I was a kid in the 1940’s we lived on this, sometimes we had it with pancetta but we always had garlic in ours…we had garlic in everything but ice cream and cake. We did not use milk, just butter…lots of it as we had two milking cows and quite a few goats but I never heard of it being made with milk. I use 3 eggs and half stick butter and 1 clove garlic, otherwise it is same recipe. All my kids and grandkids and even my 3 year old great grandson loves it.

08.20.2016 at 9:40 PM #

katiemorford

Thank you for sharing. Everyone seems to have their own spin on this and I’m sure they are all delicious.

08.22.2016 at 11:00 AM #

Demra

Perfect pasta dish , we add a handful of frozen peas and it was a hit for a family of 7 .

08.22.2016 at 11:00 AM #

katiemorford

Yes to frozen peas in this (and maybe prosciutto or pancetta for the non-vegetarians, too).

10.28.2016 at 8:05 PM #

Shaun

Growing up in South Africa my mom made this for us all the time. I now live in New Zealand with my wife and kids and was trying to explain this to them….then found this! I will be making this tonight and I sense it will get devoured. Thanks for sharing, brings back fond memories!

10.28.2016 at 8:05 PM #

katiemorford

That is such a lovely memory and I appreciate you taking the time to share. Enjoy!

11.15.2016 at 4:12 AM #

Karl Wakefield

I’m little worried is the egg cooked an safe to eat in a minute??

11.15.2016 at 4:12 AM #

katiemorford

I do think if you work quickly and put it right back into the hot pot, the egg cooks. You can always turn the heat back on a bit just to be sure. If you are concerned, you can also use Safest Choice pasteurized eggs.

02.04.2017 at 3:27 AM #

Randy

I think I’m having it for breakfast this morning. A friend made this…. I never got the ingredients and amounts. Making good my mouth water. Can’t be to bad for breakfast …. eggs. Wheat ….. milk ….

02.04.2017 at 3:27 AM #

katiemorford

Makes sense to me 🙂

02.22.2017 at 1:57 AM #

Angel

I never cook. My husband does. Even though I buy loads of recipe books and love reading recipes. An hour ago I decided I have to feed myself ( when I’m on my own I don’t eat lunch or a proper dinner….less hassle) because I am doing a trip to Machu Pichu next month and apparently I will need some energy. First search. I find your recipe. I just followed to the letter. Wow….I feel very energised, I did it. I can cook. Cant wait to tell my friends. It was absolutely DELICIOUS and so simple, so easy. Thanks so much for your sharing.

02.22.2017 at 1:57 AM #

katiemorford

Oh my goodness, what a lovely thing to hear. And yes, you need to nourish yourself for that trip. Maybe this is the beginning of more cooking? Thanks for telling me. Enjoy your adventure next month.

03.18.2017 at 2:52 AM #

Theresa

Can we just quarter the recipe to make a 1-2 serving potion with this?

03.18.2017 at 2:52 AM #

katiemorford

I would imagine it would work for a small portion. The tricky bit would be dividing up a single egg. Let me know how it goes!

03.21.2017 at 3:55 PM #

Sarah

I lo e this recipe — I make t whenever I’m at a loss. For my carnivorous husband, I fry up some pancetta and thrown it in as well. So easy, so good.

03.21.2017 at 3:55 PM #

katiemorford

Brilliant addition!

07.15.2017 at 11:31 AM #

Fausti

I’m teaching my grandchildren (ages 9 & 11) to cook and found this recipe. I know they will love it. They will love it even more because they would have made it themselves. Thanks for sharing. Blessings!

07.15.2017 at 11:31 AM #

katiemorford

It’s perfect for that sort of thing. Thanks for the comment.

07.19.2017 at 12:32 PM #

Dmitry

Just made it and loved it! Thanks! Great recipe. (p.s. your recipe was one of the first links on google – congrats! 🙂

07.19.2017 at 12:32 PM #

katiemorford

Thanks Dmitry…nice that Google found me 🙂

10.17.2017 at 9:24 AM #

Doctor Willis

I love the recipe can I change the Romano cheese for cheddar cheese, since I don’t take anything that includes Martin?

11.12.2017 at 12:42 PM #

Judy

I googled spaghetti,eggs and cheese recipe, your recipe came up. OMG it is delicious!! I used almond milk as I am lactose intolerant and I used asiago cheese because that is what I had on hand. I will be making this again! It’s a keeper.

01.29.2018 at 3:26 PM #

Teresa

I’ve browsed the comments and curious to know if this would turn out as good as it sounds, using black bean or soy bean pasta. Thanks for sharing!

01.29.2018 at 3:26 PM #

katiemorford

While I often use alternative pastas in my cooking, this is one that I tend to stick with the traditional Italian pasta. That said, if you love bean or soy pasta, you might enjoy this using one of those. Only one way to find out 🙂

02.10.2018 at 11:06 AM #

Jeri

Sounds so good! My SO can’t tolerate tomatoes (and he’s 1/2 Italian, poor baby). Loves pasta though. Thank you for sharing this recipe. I will be making this soon!

02.10.2018 at 11:06 AM #

katiemorford

This is such a good basic pasta. My family loves it. Bummer about the tomatoes…you’ll just have to get creative 🙂

03.13.2018 at 4:03 AM #

Erina

Knowing me. I follow recipe to the T! And I’m only making this for myself. And when it says “serve immediately” I go into panic mode since I’m only one person and I don’t really know how to downsize it just one person when it comes to recipes like this one. I know it will turn out yummy. Excited to try it. Using wheat spaghetti instead of regular and I’m sure it will be great with a lot of leftovers!

03.20.2018 at 6:02 PM #

Nicole

My childhood neighbor made this growing up and I’ve always wanted to recreate it. Can’t wait!

05.01.2018 at 5:11 PM #

Derek

This is a little different than the recipe we grew up on. My grandmother came off the boat from Poland and our favorite thing for her to make was a version of this. She only spoke broken english, so maybe something was lost in translation with her. She used Extra wide egg noodles, added a half dozen eggs to the pan and a half stick of butter, then added the cooked pasta back in, cooked until the eggs were done and presto! I like mine with PArm cheese and lots of pepper and the one thing that was basically mandatory on it was ketchup. Yummm…

05.01.2018 at 9:32 PM #

katiemorford

I love hearing that story Derek. Those are precious memories. I’m intrigued by the addition of ketchup 🙂
Katie

05.15.2018 at 11:18 PM #

AnnL

Simple ne pot meal and yet delicious. I add on some fried chopped back bacon and chopped garlic.

05.23.2018 at 11:21 AM #

katiemorford

Glad you enjoyed it….your additions sound spot on!

06.05.2018 at 6:05 AM #

Patricia

I’ve just googled this. I’d completely forgotten this recipe and that’s all I’ve got in the fridge, so my husband is in for a really lovely treat after a heavy meat week!

06.05.2018 at 6:05 AM #

katiemorford

Wonderful. Hope you all enjoyed it.

07.23.2018 at 8:58 AM #

P.J.

Katie. Looks like a great recipe, I’m just wondering if it’s any good if refrigerated and reheated later?

07.23.2018 at 8:58 AM #

katiemorford

It’s really best eaten just after it’s made, but if you have leftovers, you can surely reheat them.

11.30.2018 at 4:27 PM #

DJ

Ahh, the power of simplicity.

Made it with grated parmesan because that’s all I had on hand. Would have been even better with the Pecorino Romano. Added some dried parsley to the plate since I am a slave to appearances. 🙂

The lesson here is: never question the culinary wisdom of Italian grandmothers.

Very good, very easy, very pleasing to the kids, and ridiculously easy on the wallet.

11.30.2018 at 4:27 PM #

katiemorford

LOVE your comment. And agree with everything. I’m such a fan of my aunt’s recipe, I put it in my next cookbook (comes out in April 🙂

12.03.2018 at 7:19 PM #

Karen Gustafson

This is just like what I grew up eating. So good! I did add some spinach to get some veggies in.

12.03.2018 at 7:19 PM #

katiemorford

I’m so glad. I really is comfort food…love the addition of veggies to the mix. I’m going to try that next time! Thanks for the comment.

12.07.2018 at 3:59 PM #

Carolyn Perkins

Tasty, easy base recipe. I doubled the cheese (used Parmesan reggiano on hand) and added some red pepper flakes when I served as we like spicy. Now thinking about add-ins: bacon bits, spinach, garlic, etc.

12.07.2018 at 3:59 PM #

katiemorford

Awesome…and yes to add ins! I sometimes like to add crispy pancetta 🙂

12.13.2018 at 3:17 PM #

Rp

Can i substitute the butter with oil???

12.13.2018 at 3:17 PM #

katiemorford

Yes, I think that would be fine.

01.26.2019 at 10:35 PM #

Afreen

Wow!! I came across this recipe and your amazing blog only because my 3yr old refused to eat her eggs this morning! As I told myself that I will be incorporating eggs in her tummy no matter what comes my way, I decided to search egg and pasta recipe..thinking i wouldnt find anything great..but then, your recipe happened!! IT ENLIGHTNED ME! My 3yr old ate it all up and didnt want her daddy to try it because she loooved it that much!! THANK YOU!! YOU have saved me from going nuts on her picky days!!! Thank you to your mom and your nana!!! Much love and keep doing what you are doing!

01.26.2019 at 10:35 PM #

katiemorford

Hi there,

Thank you for your sweet comment. I’m so glad your little one is a fan. My kids have always loved this pasta! Feel free to subscribe…would be great to have you part of our little community here on Mom’s Kitchen Handbook.

Katie

02.12.2019 at 7:28 AM #

Haley

Who doesn’t love a good pasta with cheese?

04.12.2019 at 11:26 AM #

Linda F. Resnick

Is there anyway to make this for one? It sounds delicious and easy.

04.12.2019 at 11:26 AM #

katiemorford

Yes. I would just scale it down accordingly. The tricky part, of course, is the egg. Maybe you beat the egg and then try to use about half that volume? Let me know how it goes.

04.28.2019 at 1:31 PM #

Catherine

Hello. Nice webpage and website.

Concerning the pasta, egg, butter and cheese recipe, I always thought this was what a “typical” Italian ate. Noting your website, it seems others (from elsewhere, e.g. Poland, South Africa, et al) also enjoy this dish.

As someone who is Italian, but also part German, Im glad to see this particular dish (which was a favorite of Frank Sinatra) is enjoyed by others, from different ethnicities.

Buon Appetito, and Ciao!

04.28.2019 at 1:31 PM #

katiemorford

Hi Catherine, I agree, it does seem to have universal roots. Nice to know Frank Sinatra was also a fan 🙂 — Katie

05.22.2019 at 3:59 PM #

Jeff

Well like all the othere was trying make something we had and not have to go grocery shopping for ingredient. As I read the othere comments it taste good but it lact just that one othere ingredient to tie it all up. I just try this again and try for that one othere ingredient to make it even better.

05.22.2019 at 3:59 PM #

katiemorford

You can try adding a generous amount of freshly ground black pepper. That might do the trick for you!

08.18.2019 at 12:40 PM #

Luis Millan

Very easy and nice to cook, merci.

08.18.2019 at 12:40 PM #

katiemorford

Terrific. Glad you liked it.

08.20.2019 at 5:14 PM #

Loved the recipe!

Used almond milk instead of milk and oil instead of butter. Didn’t add cheese. Turned out awesome and my family loved it! Tasted exactly like Annie’s Dairy Free Mac&Cheese <3

08.20.2019 at 5:14 PM #

katiemorford

Wow…that’s awesome. Great to know for my dairy-free friends.

08.30.2019 at 2:56 AM #

Mari

The usual american way to ruin a traditional dish! The carbonara devastated by butter!
Better a aglio olio e peperoncino 🌶 finished with pecorino , like Italians do when they are in need of comfort food

08.30.2019 at 2:56 AM #

katiemorford

This recipe actually comes from my Italian aunt, who learned it from her Italian mama. That said, I think your aglio olio e peperoncino sounds delicious too!

09.02.2019 at 12:38 PM #

Ketrena Graves

I am anxious to try this. My grandson doesn’t like tomatoes, so he could eat this with the rest of the family.

09.02.2019 at 12:38 PM #

katiemorford

Absolutely.

09.19.2019 at 11:57 PM #

misheck

I think it’s more delicious with bacon, mushroom,cheddar cheese and white sauce

09.19.2019 at 11:57 PM #

katiemorford

Definitely the sort of recipe you can riff on…that all sounds delicious!

09.24.2019 at 4:04 PM #

Carolina

Fantastic.
I had made carbonara before, but hadn’t ever mixed the egg with milk the way your recipe suggests. I know know that it’s the key to a good result. My family loved this tonight. Thanks!

09.24.2019 at 4:04 PM #

katiemorford

Hi Carolina, Thanks for taking the time to comment. I’m so glad your family liked it the way mine does!

09.30.2019 at 5:11 PM #

Henry Cohen

l followed the recipe and added sautéed shitake mushrooms at the end. Delicious!

09.30.2019 at 5:11 PM #

katiemorford

Sounds like a great addition. Glad you liked it.

10.08.2019 at 4:36 PM #

Allison Jones

We are gluten free and dairy free and I made it with gf pasta, unsweetened vanilla almond milk, and vegan butter! So so so good!

10.08.2019 at 4:36 PM #

katiemorford

Oh my goodness…I’m so glad. I will have to tell my college girl, who has food sensitivities. Thanks for sharing.

10.30.2019 at 10:37 PM #

R Beth Shahan

When I was a kid between paydays my mom would make macaroni and butter and then she would season it up. She about kicked me when I bought a friend home for dinner. She was so embarrassed but my friend even liked it.

10.30.2019 at 10:37 PM #

katiemorford

Sometimes the simplest recipes are the best ones!

11.24.2019 at 9:35 PM #

Dawn

I made this low carb by using the Thin Slim Fettuccine pasta and oh my, was it absolutely DELICIOUS! My husband can’t stop talking about how amazing this pasta dish is, he’s requesting it be added to our weekly menu. So easy to make with a huge flavor payoff. Thanks for sharing this amazing recipe!

11.24.2019 at 9:35 PM #

katiemorford

I’m so happy to hear it was a hit!

11.25.2019 at 3:17 PM #

Mary

I need help with this I just cooked this for dinner and it didn’t taste good what can you add to it to make it taste better . I only had parmesan cheese milk and eggs and I did everything to a t and no one thinks it taste good

11.25.2019 at 3:17 PM #

katiemorford

It’s hard for me to say why it didn’t go over so well. It’s a very simple pasta. I wonder what type of cheese you used. Because this has so few ingredients, good quality, freshly grated Parmesan or Pecorino really makes a difference.

11.30.2019 at 8:27 PM #

Laurie

This is awesome! I made this tonight and it was as easy, and as tasty as described. Thanks for the recipe, I’m definitely adding this to our repertoire.

11.30.2019 at 8:27 PM #

katiemorford

Great! Thanks for the feedback.

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