One of the most popular pasta recipes out there and certainly a favourite at home, Spaghetti Carbonara is a staple in the Italian diet and probably almost every Italian restaurant everywhere in the world. Consisting of only a couple of ingredients, it takes about 15 minutes to cook. Though simple to make, I would say that if you want a great tasting dish you should definitely have great quality ingredients – and believe me when I say that great quality pancetta, eggs, pecorino and parmesan make this dish. Also, NEVER order or eat Carbonara that’s made with anything but those few ingredients, garlic and some seasoning. You sometimes will see people claiming to be serving authentic Carbonara that contains, for example, cream – well… it’s anything but authentic. Feel free to check this with anyone from Italy…

Spaghetti Carbonara

Serves 4 | Prep 5 minutes | Cook 15 minutes | Easy


You’ll need:
  • 25g unsalted butter;
  • 100g pancetta, diced;
  • 1 garlic clove, peeled and crushed;
  • 300g spaghetti;
  • 40g parmigiano reggiano, freshly grated;
  • 40g pecorino, freshly grated;
  • 2 eggs, beaten.

Cook the pasta in a large pan of salted, boiling water, until al dente (as per pack instructions).

While the pasta is cooking, melt the butter in a large pan. Add the pancetta and whole garlic clove and cook for 5 minutes, or until the garlic turns brown. Remove the garlic. Cook the pancetta for 5 minutes more. While the pasta and pancetta are cooking, add ½ the grated cheeses to the beaten eggs, season with black pepper.

When the pasta is ready, drain and reserve a couple of tablespoons from the pasta water. Add the pasta to the pancetta and mix well, turn the heat off.. Mix a couple the pasta water with the eggs, adding one spoon at a time. This method ensures that the eggs will not scramble when you add them to the pasta. Pour the eggs, mixing well immediately so that it coats the pasta. You’ll have to be quick as you don’t want the egg to start to scramble. Mix a couple of tablespoons cooking water to make a sleek sauce. You can add the garlic back in, if you wish. Add the remaining cheese, mix again, and serve at once.

Though I cook this pretty much by heart, this is the base recipe I usually use and it’s from myWaitrose magazine. You’ll notice that I’ve changed the method a little bit, mainly to suit my style of cooking. Original recipe available here.