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Carbonara: A Roman Classic Unveiled in Your Kitchen

Transport yourself to the streets of Rome with the indulgent and flavorful delight that is Carbonara. This iconic Italian pasta dish, featuring a velvety sauce of eggs, cheese, pancetta, and black pepper, is a timeless favorite. Let’s embark on a culinary journey and uncover the secrets to crafting the perfect Carbonara in your own kitchen.


  • 400g (14 oz) spaghetti or your pasta of choice
  • 150g (5 oz) pancetta or guanciale, diced
  • 3 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1 cup Pecorino Romano cheese, grated
  • 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled (optional)
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • Salt, to taste
  • Flat-leaf parsley, chopped (for garnish)

Step 1: Prepare the Pasta

  1. Boil Water: Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the pasta and cook until al dente according to the package instructions.
  2. Reserve Pasta Water: Before draining, reserve about a cup of pasta cooking water. This starchy water will be used to create the creamy sauce.

Step 2: Sauté Pancetta

  1. Cook Pancetta: In a pan over medium heat, sauté the diced pancetta until it becomes crispy. If using guanciale, cook until it’s slightly crispy but not too hard.

Step 3: Prepare the Sauce

  1. Combine Eggs and Cheese: In a bowl, whisk together the eggs, Pecorino Romano, and Parmesan cheese until well combined.
  2. Season with Pepper: Add freshly ground black pepper to the egg and cheese mixture. Be generous – black pepper is a key flavor in Carbonara.

Step 4: Assemble the Dish

  1. Combine Ingredients: Once the pasta is cooked, add it to the pan with the pancetta. Toss to combine, ensuring the pasta is well-coated with the rendered fat.
  2. Temper the Eggs: Remove the pan from heat. Pour the egg and cheese mixture over the pasta, tossing quickly to coat. The residual heat will cook the eggs, creating a creamy sauce.
  3. Adjust Consistency: If the sauce is too thick, add a bit of the reserved pasta water gradually until the desired consistency is reached.

Step 5: Serve and Garnish

  1. Plate and Garnish: Serve the Carbonara immediately, garnishing with additional cheese, black pepper, and chopped parsley.
  2. Enjoy the Creamy Indulgence: Revel in the rich, creamy goodness of your homemade Carbonara.

Tips and Variations:

  • Cheese Choices: While Pecorino Romano is traditional, you can experiment with different cheeses to suit your taste.
  • Garlic Infusion: For a subtle garlic flavor, rub the peeled garlic cloves on the serving bowl before adding the pasta.
  • Vegetarian Twist: Make a vegetarian version by omitting the pancetta and adding sautéed mushrooms for umami.
  • Egg Yolk Variation: For an extra creamy texture, you can use only egg yolks instead of whole eggs.

There you have it – a guide to crafting authentic Carbonara that’s sure to transport your taste buds to the heart of Italy. Enjoy the luxurious simplicity of this Roman classic, and savor the magic that happens when a few humble ingredients come together to create a dish that’s truly greater than the sum of its parts. Buon appetito!

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