Last updated on February 27th, 2021
I love Spaghetti Carbonara! It’s glossy. It’s glorious. It’s shockingly fast to make. I make it the so-called “Roman” way, with just pasta, pork, pepper, cheese, and eggs. Some folks add garlic to the mix, but the Roman version is (supposedly) garlic-free. It’s definitely cream-free. The shimmering, cream-like sauce that coats the pasta is nothing more than beaten eggs! Here’s the recipe for this feel-good food that comes together in about 11 minutes:
Spaghetti Carbonara: Kevin’s Recipe Demonstration
And here’s the photographic step-by-step, followed by a printable version of the recipe:
Drop 8 ounces of spaghetti into a big pot of boiling, lightly-salted water. Let the pasta cook just until it reaches the al dente stage — about 9 minutes.
While the pasta boils, tip some olive oil and 4 ounces of coarsely diced guanciale or pancetta into a cold skillet. Guanciale (pork cheek) is traditional for carbonara, but it is impossible to find in my neck o’ the woods. I used pancetta. If pancetta isn’t available where you are, use bacon.
Sauté the pork over medium-low heat until it turns brown and crisp — about 9 minutes.
While the pasta and pancetta are cooking, whisk up two whole eggs plus one egg yolk in a medium bowl.
To the eggs, whisk in a generous 1/4 cup of grated Pecorino Romano…
And several grinds of black pepper. Freshly-ground pepper is a must for carbonara!
When the pasta and pancetta are done, turn off the heat. Then immediately transfer — use tongs here — the pasta to the pancetta. When the wet pasta hits the hot fat in the skillet, the fat will sizzle loudly. That’s a good sound!
Stir the the pasta and pancetta together. Keep stirring until the pan stops sizzling.
Then immediately tip the egg mixture over the pasta!
Stir the eggs into the hot works until the pasta glistens. Heat from the pasta and pancetta will cook the beaten eggs without scrambling them. The sauce will be very thick, which is just the way I like it. For a less viscous sauce, simply stir in some droplets of pasta water.
Divide the pasta among 2 plates, and give each serving a dusting of coarsely-ground black pepper and a nice sprinkling of freshly-grated Parmigiano-Reggiano!
Shimmering strands of pasta, crisp bits of pork, a creamy sauce that contains no actual cream — what’s not to love about Spaghetti Carbonara? If you make this dish as described here, please let me know how it turns out for you!
Love and hugs,
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Looking for other pasta dishes to try? Here are just a few of my favorites:
And here’s the printable recipe for Spaghetti Carbonara:
- 8 ounce spaghetti
- A big pot of boiling, lightly-salted water
- A drizzle of olive oil (about 2 teaspoons)
- 4 ounces coarsely-diced guanciale, pancetta, or bacon
- 2 large eggs, plus 1 egg yolk
- A generous 1/4 cup grated Pecorino Romano cheese
- Freshly-ground black pepper
- Freshly-grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, for serving
- Put the pasta in the boiling water, and cook just until al dente -- about 9 minutes.
- Meanwhile, add the olive oil and the pancetta to a large, cold skillet. Sauté, over medium-low heat, until the pork turns brown and crisp -- about 9 minutes.
- While the pasta and pork are cooking, prepare the sauce: In a medium bowl, whisk together the whole eggs, the egg yolk, Pecorino Romano cheese, and several grinds of black pepper.
- When the pasta and pancetta are done, turn off the heat. Then use tongs to transfer the pasta to the pancetta. Stir until the skillet stops sizzling. Then immediately pour on the egg mixture, and stir until the pasta is thickly coated. For a thinner coating, stir in droplets of pasta water.
- To serve, divide the pasta mixture among 2 plates. Dust each serving with freshly-ground pepper and freshly-grated Parmigiano-Reggiano. Enjoy while hot!