End of Summer Dish: Grilled Shrimp Carbonara with Lemon Zest and Chives

grilled shrimp carbonara

End of Summer Dish: Grilled Shrimp Carbonara with Lemon Zest and Chives

When summer nears its end and the sweltering days give way to cool and breezy evenings, I like to plan meals that I can enjoy outdoors. Usually that means setting my outdoor dining table and firing up my grill to barbecue a light meal of meats and veggies, but lately I’ve been craving carbs. I decided to satisfy my craving with a spin on one of my favorite pasta dishes, Grilled Shrimp Carbonara.

Grilled Shrimp Carbonara is a classic pasta dish from Rome consisting of just a few simple ingredients: egg, Pecorino Romano cheese, cured pork, and pasta. I chose to get creative with my version and swapped out some classic items for a lighter, more summer appropriate version of the dish. I opted for juicy grilled shrimp instead of the usual guanciale or pancetta, and used Parmesan cheese instead of the more pungent Pecorino Romano. I also added lemon zest for the aroma, and finally, chives to tie all the flavors together. These additions added a brightness to an otherwise heavy dish and I can truly say I absolutely love this fresh and light version! This Grilled Shrimp Carbonara is the perfect summer pasta to enjoy outdoors with good company and a bottle of crisp Sauvignon Blanc. The unassuming list of ingredients will leave you with a delicious pasta dish that will be craved for many more nights to come.

grilled shrimp carbonara


  • 1/2 lb. spaghetti
  • 9 oz. shrimp
  • 2 whole eggs
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1 cup finely grated Parmesan
  • 3 tbsp. lemon zest
  • 2 tbs. neutral oil – (I use light olive oil)
  • 2 tbs. finely chopped chives
  • Salt and pepper to taste
grilled shrimp carbonara

How to make it:

This dish requires just a handful of ingredients, a few minutes of prep, and won’t leave you with a sink full of dishes to wash.

To begin, set a large pot of water over high heat. For the most flavorful pasta, always salt generously; the water it’s cooked in should taste salty like the sea. As the water comes to a boil, zest lemon on the smallest grate of your cheese grater, or, use a fancy zester such as a Microplane.

Next, grab your fresh block of Parmesan cheese and grate finely.

Place eggs, egg yolks, lemon zest, and Parmesan cheese into a large bowl and mix until combined.

When the water reaches a boil, place pasta into the water and set your timer for 8 minutes for the perfect al dente spaghetti.

Toss shrimp with a neutral oil, I use a light olive oil, and a pinch of salt and pepper. Grill the shrimp on an outdoor grill or in a skillet until cooked through. This took me about 3-4 minutes for medium sized shrimp.

Before draining your spaghetti, reserve 1/4 cup of pasta water in a dish. This water is full of starchy goodness that will help to emulsify the pasta sauce, making it silky and luxurious.

When the timer goes off, drain pasta, and please, never, ever rinse! Remember, we need all that starch that’s clinging to the noodles for the best tasting sauce. Immediately toss the spaghetti into the bowl of the egg and cheese mixture and mix, mix, mix, for 1-2 minutes. Next add pasta water by the tablespoon and mix again until you reach a thick, creamy consistency.

Toss in grilled shrimp, add salt and pepper to taste, and serve immediately into a large serving dish or individuals bowls. Top with finely chopped chives and enjoy this tasty carbonara!

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Audrey Villalpando

I live for great food, craft cocktails, rooftop lounges and adventures to new places, in the hopes of finding my next creative inspiration. [email protected]


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