Eat like Italians: Spaghetti alla Carbonara


“Carbonara” was a word that conjured up images of pasta or meat slathered in cream sauces. Although it is definitely tasty, that usually isn’t a dish that appeals to me much – until I finally figured out what carbonara really means. Carbonara refers to a dish made with eggs, cheese, bacon and black pepper. In a true Italian fashion, fresh pasta is cooked and immediately tossed with a heavenly egg mixture, coating the pasta. That layer of creaminess, plus the simplicity of the dish, makes this Spaghetti alla Carbonara absolutely unbelievable. If you haven’t had carbonara pasta like this, you really should try it.

Spaghetti alla Carbonara

For pasta cooking tips and other Eat like Italians pasta dishes, check out my:

Bucatini all’Amatriciana

Red Wine Spaghetti with Spicy Rapini

Spaghetti alla Carbonara


  • 5 eggs, beaten
  • 1/4 cup grated parmigiano-reggiano cheese
  • sea salt (about 1/2 tsp) and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 lb spaghetti
  • 2 tbsp kosher salt
  • 4 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 lb pancetta, sliced and diced


  1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add spaghetti and kosher salt and cook until pasta is 2 minutes away from being al dente (according to package instructions).
  2. Meanwhile, heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add pancetta and cook until browned and crispy. Set aside.
  3. In a medium bowl, mix eggs, cheese, salt and pepper.
  4. When pasta is ready, reserve about 1 cup of pasta water. Drain spaghetti. Transfer to skillet with pancetta and toss for 1-2 minutes over low heat. Add 1/2 cup of cooking water to moisten. Simmer until water is evaporated.
  5. Transfer pasta and pancetta to a large bowl, and immediately add the egg and cheese mixture, tossing vigorously with tongs to distribute the sauce. If you’re not tossing quickly, it will turn into scrambled eggs, and you don’t want that. If pasta seems dry, you can add a little more of the pasta water. Serve immediately, with freshly ground pepper and more grated cheese.

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8 comments for “Eat like Italians: Spaghetti alla Carbonara

  1. Faith
    April 2, 2012 at 11:26 am

    I do like Carbonara, but I’ve never made it at home…I definitely want to give it a try. Yours looks delicious!

  2. juniakk @ mis pensamientos
    April 3, 2012 at 10:58 am

    mmm i don’t think i’ve ever had carbonara but i’ve seen my friend make it before and it smelled pretty darn good. looks so good! seriously, i wish i could eat the way you do! if only my stomach could keep up with me.

  3. Laz
    April 4, 2012 at 10:17 am


    You make fantastic pasta dishes. Could you please send some my way one of these days?! Agreed, with your sentiment on Carbonara, one of my favorite pasta dishes. I literally have made 10 different versions of this dish. Job well done.

    By the way, these math problems at the end of your post are getting more complex…not good!

    Take care

  4. Stephanie @ okie dokie artichokie
    April 4, 2012 at 3:20 pm

    Oh, yum! I love simple dishes like this. So flavorful and gorgeous!

  5. John
    May 6, 2012 at 9:06 pm

    This looks like the perfect pasta dish to me. Great natural light in this shot!

  6. Lilia
    July 10, 2012 at 10:35 am

    I love carbonara, simple and delicious!
    Thank you !

  7. Yvonne
    November 13, 2015 at 9:57 am

    1lb of pasta for 2 people? 😉

    • admin
      November 15, 2015 at 3:07 pm

      I was reluctant to say 1lb of pasta for 1 person 😉

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