Entrees, Pasta

Spaghetti alla Carbonara

spaghetti alla carbonara

Spaghetti alla Carbonara is a deliciously, simple pasta dish that requires only a few key ingredients and a bit of technique. The origin of the dish is obscure, the name may have been derived from the word “carbonada“, which means “bacon” in central Italian dialect. A true Italian would make their own pasta, use guanciale (cured hog jowl), freshly grated Pecorino-Romano cheese, fresh eggs and a lot of pepper. Since I do not have a pasta maker (yet), nor do I have a hog’s jowl, I used the highest quality Italian pasta, an aged Pecorino-Romano cheese blend, a three-pepper blend, and bacon. Unfortunately, there were no leftovers…

spaghetti carbonara

This recipe uses the most authentic ingredients available and one pound of pasta proved to be not enough!!! You’ll want to double the recipe if you’re feeding a lot of men or a big group. The star of this recipe is the simplicity of flavors from the combination of pasta, cheese, freshly grated pepper and salty pork. That’s it. There is no need to add onion, garlic, cream, salt or peas. Let the simplicity shine through!

On another note, if you’re wondering how the raw eggs work in this dish…you can certainly substitute pasteurized eggs, but it’s not really necessary and here’s why:spaghetti carbonara



When you temper the eggs with warm pasta water, then add them to the warm pasta, the temperature of the eggs comes up enough for the eggs to be safe to eat. The tricky part is incorporating the eggs without making scrambled eggs and pasta…



Recipe instructions are quite detailed, but, in a nutshell, you’re going to put the whole, uncracked eggs in a bowl of warm water and let them come to room temperature. Then, after about 9 minutes, pour out the water,  crack them in the bowl, add 1/2 cup grated cheese, stir it together and add it to the warm pasta. Stir pasta and egg mixture constantly over warm heat, adding warm pasta water in 1/2 cup increments. You’ll begin to see the cheese melt and the liquid evaporate. When that happens, the dish is done. Plate it, sprinkle bacon over it and serve!Here is a link to the cute dishes I used for my recipe.

Spaghetti alla Carbonara
Prep Time
8 mins
Cook Time
9 mins
Total Time
17 mins

Rich, cheesy, peppery and delicious, Spaghetti alla Carbonara is perfect for one, two or a large group. 

Course: Main Course, Side Dish
Cuisine: Italian
Servings: 4 large servings
Author: SmartyPantsKitchen
  • 1 lb spaghetti pasta
  • 8 oz Percorino-Romano cheese grated
  • 2 egg yolks room temperature
  • 10 cups water
  • 8 slices bacon cooked and crumbled
  • 3 tablespoons three pepper blend
  1. Cut bacon into small pieces; in a large pan, cook bacon pieces till done; place them on a paper towel; set aside

  2. Pour off most of the bacon grease; set pan  aside

  3. Grate, then shred Pecorino-Romano cheese; set aside

  4. Bring water to boil

  5. Separate eggs and stir in 1/2 cup of grated cheese; set aside

  6. Cook pasta 9 minutes (al dente)

  7. Place the pan you used to cook the bacon on the stove on a low setting

  8. Using tongs, transfer cooked pasta to the pan with the bacon drippings and stir the pasta 

  9. Temper the Eggs: (Add 3 tablespoons warm pasta water to egg/cheese mixture; stir well)

  10. Add 1 cup warm pasta water to pasta, then add egg/cheese mixture; combine well

  11. Add remaining grated cheese to pasta and combine well; keep mixing; add a warm pasta water in 1/2 cup increments to desired consistency

  12. Add pepper to pasta; stir well

  13. Plate and add bacon pieces to each serving

Recipe Notes
  • I did quite a bit of research on this recipe and learned that an authentic carbonara sauce uses no cream, no Parmesan, no onions, no garlic and no green peas
  • The "bacon" used in a truly authentic carbonara is actually guanciale, which is an Italian cured meat from the pork jowls. 
  • You can substitute the Pecorino-Romano cheese with Parmesan, but authentic carbonara doesn't use Parmesan; Pecorino-Romano is much more pungent and flavorful 



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