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Pasta carbonara recipe

Pasta carbonara recipe

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  • Recipes
  • Ingredients
  • Pasta
  • Italian pasta
  • Carbonara

A classic Italian recipe, this is great for when you come home tired and want something quick but wholesome and delicious too.

Leicestershire, England, UK

39 people made this

IngredientsServes: 4

  • 400g spaghetti or other pasta
  • 250g bacon chopped
  • 2 courgettes chopped (optional)
  • 4 eggs lightly beaten
  • Large handful of parmesan grated
  • Finely chopped parsley (optional)
  • Salt and pepper

MethodPrep:10min ›Cook:15min ›Ready in:25min

  1. Put your pasta on to boil.
  2. While the pasta is cooking fry your bacon and courgettes (if using) in a large pan.
  3. Once your pasta is cooked remove from the heat and toss in the beaten eggs, work quickly and make sure all the pasta is coated.
  4. Add the remaining ingredients reserving a little parmesan and mix well.
  5. Serve with a sprinkling of the reserved parmesan.

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Reviews & ratingsAverage global rating:(8)

Reviews in English (10)

Altered ingredient amounts.Double cream rather than eggs-13 Jul 2009

Something else.I usually add milk at step 3, pouring it in while mixing the eggs and pasta until there's no more left. I also chop up the bacon into small pieces, about the size of your thumbnail. It probably wouldn't change the taste, but it's what I've always done-08 Mar 2009

Used different ingredients.Used Double cream with the bacon rather than milk and eggs-20 Jun 2009

Traditional Pasta Carbonara

Searching for an authentic Italian recipe for pasta alla carbonara? Here's the original way to cook carbonara, with tips and tricks from Fine Dining Lovers.


Serves for

Total time


Carbonara is perhaps the most iconic traditional Italian dish. Over the years, its recipe and ingredients have been debated, but there is only one real carbonara, and it's prepared with eggs, pecorino romano, guanciale and pepper. Onions and cream are strictly forbidden.

Carbonara can be made with a variety of pasta shapes, but spaghetti is the most popular. Spaghetti carbonara can be prepared in a few minutes (in the time that it takes the pasta to cook), but the steps and quantities are the two parameters that determine the perfect outcome of a dish of carbonara pasta, as only Michelin-starred chefs can do. Here are all the steps for the preparation of the original carbonara.


Step 1

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add your pasta of choice and cook to al dente according to instructions on the package. Reserve 1 1/2 cups of the pasta water before draining.

Step 2

In a large skillet, cook guanciale or bacon over medium heat until crisp, about 7 to 10 minutes. Drain most of the fat, leaving about 2 tablespoons in the skillet.

Step 3

In a separate bowl, whisk together the egg yolks and eggs, then gradually whisk in about 1/2 cup of the pasta water. This prevents the eggs from scrambling.

Step 4

Add the pasta to the skillet with the bacon. Pour in the egg mixture and toss well. Add in the cheese and season with salt and pepper. Continue cooking, stirring constantly, for 1-2 minutes or until the sauce has thickened up a bit and the pasta is well-coated. If sauce is too thick, add additional reserved pasta cooking water, up to 1 cup.

Five-Ingredient Pasta Carbonara Recipe

Pasta carbonara is a traditional Roman dish known for its rich and velvety, but cream-free, sauce made from eggs, hard cheese, pepper and cured pork. Though Pecorino Romano is the traditional cheese used, much of what’s available in the U.S. is long-aged and can be too salty. Somewhat fruity and nutty Parmigiano-Reggiano, or a combination of the two cheeses, is better suited to this recipe that includes salty pancetta. Because there are so few ingredients, be sure to use the best quality you can find.

  • 2 eggs, plus 1 egg yolk, room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon fresh-ground black pepper
  • 3 ounces Parmigiano-Reggiano (or half Parmigiano, half Pecorino Romano), fine grated
  • 12 ounces dry spaghetti
  • 4 ounces pancetta, cut into ¼-inch dice
  • Salt, to taste

In large bowl, whisk eggs, yolk, pepper and 2 ¼ ounces of cheese. Set aside.

Bring lightly salted pot of water to boil over high heat. Add spaghetti, and cook according to package directions.

Meanwhile, warm large, heavy-bottomed skillet (not nonstick) over medium heat. Add pancetta, and cook until golden-brown and almost crispy, 6–8 minutes. Lower heat, and keep warm.

Reserve ½ cup pasta water, and drain pasta. Add spaghetti to skillet with pancetta. Using tongs or wooden spoons, toss pasta with pancetta. Turn off heat.

Whisk together reserved pasta water and egg mixture, then pour into pan. Working quickly, toss pasta to coat, until sauce is thick and glossy. Add salt, to taste.

Sprinkle remaining cheese on top. Serve immediately. Serves 4.

Corte dei Papi 2018 Colle Ticchio (Cesanese del Piglio). The only Denominazione di Origine Controllata e Garantita (DOCG) for red wine in Italy’s Lazio region, the Cesanese del Piglio DOCG is known for ripe, spicy wines with sturdy tannins that can cut through rich pasta dishes. Aged in stainless steel, this wine is an especially refreshing complement.

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Pasta Carbonara

Easy Pasta Carbonara - pasta, bacon, garlic, eggs, and Parmesan cheese make this Italian dinner taste out of this world.


  • 1 (lb) dried pasta, any shape or size
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
  • 8 slices bacon, cut into small pieces (about 6-8 ounces)
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • (optional) chopped parsley or basil for garnish


Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and cook pasta until al dente, about 8-10 minutes. Prepare sauce while pasta is cooking so that the pasta is hot. Drain pasta and reserve 1/2 cup of the pasta water for the sauce.

In a small bowl, whisk together the eggs and Parmesan cheese. Add some ground black pepper (about 1/4 teaspoon or more if you like pepper).

In a large deep skillet, cook the bacon until crispy. Add the garlic and cook for an additional minute. You do not need to drain the bacon fat but can drain some of it if you have a ton . Remove from the heat.

Quickly stir in the cooked and drained pasta into the bacon mixture. Stir in the egg mixture. The pasta should be hot enough to cook the eggs but not too hot so that they start to scramble. Whisk in the reserved pasta water to the desired consistency you want for the sauce.

Season with salt and pepper. Sprinkle with additional Parmesan cheese. Garnish with chopped parsley or basil if desired.

Classic Pasta Carbonara

This simple, classic pasta carbonara recipe is the perfect dish when you need a special night in. And with this foolproof method for nailing the signature creamy sauce, you can go into the kitchen with confidence. Traditionally, you would toss your hot pasta with the eggs and cheese right in the skillet you&rsquove used to cook the pork (over low heat) to create a smooth, emulsified sauce. However, this method takes practice to get right&mdashand crossing the fine line between gently cooking the eggs and scrambling them is all too easy, even for a pro. With this smart test kitchen technique, you essentially create a double boiler to provide just enough heat to melt your cheese and emulsify the silky sauce, without running the risk of breaking it. Finally, drizzling pancetta drippings over the pasta disperses rich porky flavor throughout the sauce even without ever having the pasta in the skillet. We use pancetta for this recipe as it is easily found in most supermarkets, but guanciale is traditional and worth trying if you can find it. Gemelli pasta is a great noodle shape to pair with this rich and saucy dish, but feel free to use whatever noodle you prefer.

Secrets to a perfect carbonara

Carbonara is one of the four classic Roman pastas alongside gricia, amatriciana, and cacio e pepe. All four recipes are based on pecorino romano, a sharp sheep’s milk cheese that, despite the name, is mostly produced on the Italian island of Sardinia today. If you don’t have pecorino available, Parmesan cheese is a good substitute, but it does lack the bite that pecorino imparts.

In addition to pecorino, another major player in the flavor of carbonara is guanciale. Guanciale is cured pork jowl with a strong flavor and delicate texture, which comes from an intense curing process of at least three months. During that time, the meat is seasoned on the surface with a blend of herbs and aromatics, usually including garlic, rosemary, salt, pepper and sage.

If you don’t have access to guanciale, another acceptable option is pancetta. This cut comes from the belly of the pig and is more similar to bacon than to guanciale, but it makes a good substitute in a pinch, especially in countries like the US and Canada where guanciale is not as readily available.

In addition to the cheese and the rendered fat from the guanciale, real Roman carbonara gets its silky texture from two other key ingredients. The first is eggs, which you’ll want to be as fresh as possible—we’re not fully cooking them here, but rather just warming them through. And finally, a bit of starchy pasta cooking water helps the sauce cling to the pasta and ensures maximum flavor.

Spaghetti carbonara with plenty of guanciale and an extra dusting of pecorino cheese.

The best pasta shape for carbonara

Even many Romans can’t agree on which is the best type of pasta to use in carbonara. The most common options are traditional spaghetti and tube-like rigatoni. Both are delicious and hold the sauce perfectly, so it all comes down to taste!

We use spaghetti in our traditional carbonara recipe here, but if you’d rather try rigatoni or another pasta shape, have at it.

Classic carbonara served with rigatoni. Photo credit: Abbie Stark


How To Make Creamy Carbonara

  1. Prepare the pasta: Bring a large pot of salted water to boil over high heat. Add the pasta and cook according to package instructions. Drain and set aside.
  2. Crisp the pancetta: Add the pancetta to a large skillet and saute over medium-low heat until crisp. Transfer the pancetta to a bowl using a slotted spoon.
  3. Get saucey: Add the half and half to the skillet and bring to a simmer. Whisk the egg yolks into the sauce followed by the Parmesan cheese. Stir in the black pepper. Taste for salt and season if needed.
  4. Finish the carbonara: Add the cooked spaghetti, bacon and basil to the skillet and toss well to combine. Garnish with more cheese and serve hot!

If you want to go as authentic as possible, nix the cream and hunt down some guanciale, which is available is most specialty Italian supermarkets. Just keep in mind that axing the cream will result in a dish that is a bit drier, hence not quite a creamy carbonara. For pasta you can also use fettuccine, rigatoni, or bucatini.


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