main courses, cook, recipes
Leave a comment

Pasta alla Carbonara (the real one)

Pasta alla Carbonara

Cuisine: Italian
Region: Central

“Alla Carbonara” means “the coal worker’s style”. No one knows how this recipe got its name – some maintain that charcoal workers in the Italian mountains cooked spaghetti this way, others that the very generous dash of black pepper makes the dish look like charcoal. Whatever the case, this is a very classic Italian dish, presented here in its original form, with eggs instead of cream. Enjoy!

Serves: 4
Cooking time: approx. 15 min
You need: a pot, a skillet, a whisk and a mixing bowl


  • 3 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil.
  • 4 cloves garlic, diced.
  • 300 g (about 10 oz.) pancetta, cut into thin strips, crosswise.
  • 1/3 cup (glass) of white wine.
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste.
  • 500 g or 1 Lb of spaghetti, linguine, tagliatelle or penne.
  • 2/3 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese.
  • 1/4 cup finely grated Pecorino Romano cheese.
  • 2 Tbsp finely chopped fresh parsley – flat leaf is best.
  • 2 eggs.


For the pasta

  1. Take a large pot, fill it up with 4 to 6 Liters or Quarts of water and salt it generously.
  2. Turn the fire on to high and bring the water to a boil.
  3. Add the pasta and stir from time to time.
  4. Cook until al dente – there are instructions on the pasta box.
  5. When done, drain the water but reserve 1/4 cup of pasta water.
  6. While the pasta is cooking…

For the Carbonara sauce

  1. Take a skillet, add the oil and turn on the fire to medium high.
  2. Wait for a few beats and add the garlic.
  3. Cook the garlic until it’s golden – about 1 minute.
  4. Add the pancetta and cook for about 5-6 minutes, until the edges are crisp.
  5. Add the wine, reduce the fire to medium-low and cook for about about 3-4 minutes more.


  1. Take a large bowl and add the grated cheese, the parsley and the eggs and whisk them well.
  2. While whisking, slowly pour in the reserved pasta water until the mixture is smooth.
  3. Add the pasta to the bowl along with reserved pancetta mixture.
  4. Season with salt and a generous amount of pepper.
  5. Toss it all together and serve immediately.

Notes on Pasta alla Carbonara

  • Try to buy real Parmesan, and grate it at home. It does make a difference.
  • You could use guanciale instead of pancetta.

Leave a Comment