Jennifer Aniston’s Favorite Pasta+ Recipe

Jennifer Aniston’s Favorite Pasta: After spending years watching “Friends,” you’d think I’d know what Rachel’s, ahem, I mean, Jennifer Aniston’s favorite dish was. Turns out that watching marathons of the show on TBS doesn’t translate to having any knowledge about the actors—or their food preferences—themselves.

Stay with this section of Cooking in the Wonder section of Eternal Pen magazine.

Jennifer Aniston’s Favorite Pasta

That’s why it wasn’t until recently that I learned that Aniston’s favorite recipe doesn’t involve a cup of Central Perk coffee, or a viral salad either. Instead, for her, it’s all about a simple pasta dish—a riff on an Italian classic, carbonara.

Aniston shared her love of the dish during an interview with People back in 2016. At the time of the interview, she shared that she made the dish at least twice a week. Unlike traditional carbonara (which is delicious and perfect as it is), Aniston, known for health-conscious lifestyle, said she made tweaks to the pasta dish to make it lighter.

Her changes included swapping in turkey bacon for the pancetta, guanciale, or pork bacon often used, decreasing the cheese, and omitting butter or oil. She also added a bit of red onion and low-fat milk. After reading this, I have to admit that it sounded like a pretty sad dish to me. But like anything, I was willing to give it a try. Here’s what happened.

How I Recreated Jennifer Aniston’s Spaghetti Carbonara Recipe

Jennifer Aniston’s Favorite Pasta1

Jennifer Aniston’s Favorite Pasta: Since I’ve made carbonara a few times, I already knew the challenges ahead. The biggest being, “How do I get the dish flavorful and creamy without ending up with scrambled eggs mixed with pasta?”

Since Aniston didn’t provide her own instructions, I ran with my own instincts and made some creative judgment calls. I set a pot of water over the stove, brought it to a boil, and started cooking my pasta.

After whisking up an egg and egg yolk (the key ingredients for a rich and luscious sauce), I added some grated Pecorino Romano cheese and a few splashes of milk. I cooked my bacon until crispy, then removed it from the pan, leaving any (albeit very minimal) drippings.

Jennifer Aniston’s Favorite Pasta:

I added a bit of olive oil (Aniston does not) along with my diced onions and cooked them until softened, about 2 minutes, then added the minced garlic and cooked for an additional minute. I removed a bit of pasta water and then drained the pasta; adding it to the pan with the onions.

After tossing a bit, I added the reserved pasta water, and then the egg mixture—tossing like a crazy lady the whole time, for about 1 minute. I took it off the heat, then seasoned with salt and pepper and gave it a taste.

It was delicious! Is it absolutely authentic? No way! But it’s close enough for a busy weeknight. All in all, it’s a pretty good dish—especially with my modifications!

Tips for Making Jennifer Aniston’s Favorite Pasta

Jennifer Aniston’s Favorite Pasta: Use your freezer. Dicing raw bacon can be a challenging task. Make it easier by partially freezing your slices before dicing them. Place them on a parchment-lined baking sheet and put them in the freezer for 20 minutes. Dice and add directly to your pan.

Prep for success. Things come together quickly in this dish, so it’s best to have ingredients prepped and ready. Measure the ingredients before you get started and keep them organized and nearby so that you can work efficiently.

Add some fat. Aniston eliminates a substantial amount of fat from the original recipe, but to sauté the onion and garlic, you’d benefit from a bit of oil in your pan. If you want to keep things more healthful, use extra-virgin olive oil.

Keep some pasta liquid. Part of the beauty of the original dish is the use of pasta water for creating that velvety, delicious sauce. I’d recommend you use it too. It can be ladled out or scooped out with a measuring cup right before you drain the pasta.

How to Make Jennifer Aniston’s Spaghetti Carbonara Recipe

Serves: 2


1/2 pound spaghetti or other thin pasta

1 large egg plus 1 large egg yolk

2 tablespoons low-fat milk

1/4 cup grated Pecorino Romano (or Parmesan) cheese, divided

2 slices turkey bacon, diced

1/4 cup finely diced red onion

2 cloves garlic, minced

Salt and black pepper, to taste

Directions/ Jennifer Aniston’s Favorite Pasta

Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add salt (about 1 tablespoon per gallon of water) and stir in pasta. Cook pasta, stirring occasionally, until al dente, following package directions for time. Reserve 1/4 cup pasta cooking water, then drain pasta. Return drained pasta to the pot and cover with a lid to keep warm.
Beat the egg, egg yolk, and milk in a small bowl along with half of the cheese. Set aside.
Set a large skillet over medium heat and add the bacon. Cook until crispy, about 3 minutes. Remove cooked bacon with a slotted spoon, transferring to a paper-towel-lined plate. If skillet is dry (meaning your turkey bacon didn’t leave any fat drippings behind while cooking), add 1 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil, then add onion and cook until just softened, about 2 minutes. Add garlic and cook until fragrant, 1 more minute.
Add drained pasta to the skillet along with half of the reserved pasta water, stirring to combine. Add egg mixture, tossing and stirring constantly to combine for 1 minute. Remove from heat and stir in remaining cheese, bacon, and additional reserved pasta water if pasta seems dry.
Serve in bowls and garnish with freshly cracked black pepper.

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