Chef and culinary TV personality Andrew Zimmern is sharing his recipe for rigatoni carbonara with seasoned breadcrumbs as well as a seasonal salad with "Good Morning America" -- the perfect weeknight classic dish.

Zimmern hosts "Family Dinner" on Chip and Joanna Gaines' Magnolia Network where he visits families around the country to share their family meals.

PHOTO: Chef Andrew Zimmern cooks alongside Joanna and Chip Gaines to kick off the launch of Magnolia Network.
ABC News
Chef Andrew Zimmern cooks alongside Joanna and Chip Gaines to kick off the launch of Magnolia Network.

Zimmern's pro tip is to make sure to use the best ingredients possible to ensure the simple dish is packed with flavor.

"Domestic versions of Parmesan and pecorino don’t even really melt and they have no flavor. Ditto the meat or the type of pasta and where it is from," he said. "You can make this dish with a secondary list of ingredients but the toe curling wonder of it all will be missing. Typically I am not an ingredient minded, finger wagging chef, but with this dish and a few others I believe the stickler in me is spot on."

Get the full recipes below, including his "addictive" and easy salad dressing to add to the rotation.

Pasta Carbonara Recipe

PHOTO: A bowl of rigatoni carbonara made by chef Andrew Zimmern.
ABC News
A bowl of rigatoni carbonara made by chef Andrew Zimmern.


1 pound rigatoni


8 ounces guanciale cut into VERY thin slices or fine dice. A really good pancetta can be substituted.

1 tablespoon olive oil

3/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper. Aleppo pepper or other spicy dried crushed Italian pepperoncino will work fine. Basic crushed red chili pepper will work in a pinch if you cant get your hands on some of the more flavorful stuff.

1 and 1/4 cups freshly grated imported Pecorino Romano cheese, plus more for the table for those who like some sprinkled on while eating.

3/4 cup freshly grated imported Parmigiano Reggiano cheese. I like the 24-month aged stuff the best, it’s worth it.

5 large egg yolks

1 large egg

1 tablespoon of freshly ground black pepper


Get a large pot of well salted water to a boil. I use 4-5 quarts of water in an 8 quart pot.

In a large 14 inch skillet, add a teaspoon of olive oil and the guanciale. Cook over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, until the fat is rendered and the meat is crispy tender but not too browned, about 8-9 minutes. Toss in the red chili flakes and place all the contents of the pan in a small bowl and reserve. Place the pan back on the stove, don’t wash it!

Whisk the egg yolks, egg and cheeses together in a work bowl and reserve.

The water should be boiling by now, so cook the pasta until al dente.

Drain pasta, reserving 1 cup of the cooking water. I use a large spider wand to pull the pasta out and place it in the pan we cooked the guanciale in. Scoop out some water with a cup measure and set it aside for a moment.

Add the guanciale/chiles/fat to the pan with the pasta. Turn on the heat to a low setting and immediately pour in 1/2 cup of the reserved pasta water to the pan. Stir and slowly add the egg mixture. Stir until creamy, slowly increasing the heat if needed, adding more reserved cooking water to make the sauce a creamy consistency. Remember you are binding the eggs in the water and cheese. Season with the freshly ground black pepper. Serve in large low shallow bowls and garnish with extra cheese.

You won’t need any salt -- the water was salted and the guanciale and the cheeses are salty. You should be nicely seasoned as long as you use the right ingredients.

I like a spoonful of my seasoned breadcrumbs on my carbonara. It's not very traditional in Rome but it's very very addictive and in Sicily they come as a textural element on many pastas. I like to have these on hand.

Seasoned Breadcrumbs


1/4 pound day-old Italian bread, torn into chunks

1 garlic clove, minced

Pinch of chili flakes

1 teaspoon lemon zest

1/4 cup lightly packed chopped parsley leaves

6 basil leaves

2 tablespoons olive oil



Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.

In a food processor, pulse the bread with the garlic, chili flake, lemon zest, parsley and basil. With the machine running, pour in the olive oil. Process until coarse crumbs form.

Season with salt and pepper, then spread on a large rimmed baking sheet.

Bake for 20 minutes, until golden and crisp; let cool.

Seasonal Salad

PHOTO: A simple salad from chef Andrew Zimmern.
ABC News
A simple salad from chef Andrew Zimmern.

"I serve a salad with as much of a combination of frisee, endive, arugula, baby mustards, wild cress as I can find," according to Zimmern. "The spicy and bitter flavors here are beyond stunning. Simple stuff and complex flavors at same time … and I love to serve it with this addictive dressing."

2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
4-5 anchovy filets and some if the oil if you use oil packed filets
1 heaping teaspoon minced shallots
1/3-1/2 cup really good extra-virgin olive oil

Place the anchovies mustard, shallots and some ground black pepper in a large mortar and pestle. You can also pulse in a tall cup using an immersion wand. Make a paste, drizzle in olive oil to emulsify and finish by seasoning with the lemon juice and vinegar.

If your emulsion is tasty but a tad thick, it just means you are better at emulsifying than you thought. Simply thin with a teaspoon or two of cool water.