Spaghetti alla Carbonara. Luscious and wonderfully indulgent, pasta carbonara takes as long to make as it does to cook the pasta. The ingredients are simple—just spaghetti (or another long pasta), and the carbonara is made with pancetta or bacon, eggs, parmesan, a little olive oil, salt and pepper.
The silky carbonara sauce is created when the beaten eggs are tossed with the hot pasta and a little fat from the pancetta or bacon.
Carbonara is one of Rome's four classic pastas - Gricia, Cacio e Pepe, Carbonara, and Amatriciana
80-100g pancetta – you can use streaky bacon but use more like 200 gms as pancetta is much stronger in flavour
1 cup parmesan cheese, freshly grated plus more for serving
3 large eggs
2 plump garlic cloves, peeled and left whole
50g butter, preferably unsalted
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
Handful fresh flat-leaf parsley, chopped
1. Bring a pot of water to the boil and cook the spaghetti as per the packet instructions (about 8-9 mins)
2. Looking at the picture below, cut the pancetta crossways in half and half again, so you should have lots of strips about 4cms long
3. Prepare the sauce while the pasta is cooking to ensure that the spaghetti will be hot and ready when the sauce is finished; it is very important that the pasta is hot when adding the egg mixture, so that the heat of the pasta cooks the raw eggs in the sauce
4. Beat the eggs and Parmesan together in a mixing bowl, stirring well to prevent lumps.
5. Heat the olive oil in a good size pan over a low-medium heat. Add the pancetta and sauté for one minute until it is crisp and the fat is rendered. Toss in the garlic and sauté for less than one minute to soften
6. Drain the pasta well, reserving 1/2 cup of the starchy cooking water to use in the sauce if you wish.
7. When the pasta is ready, lift it from the water with a pasta fork or tongs and put it in the frying pan with the pancetta and toss for a minute to coat the strands in the bacon fat
8. Remove the pan from the heat and pour the egg/cheese mixture into the pasta, whisking quickly until the eggs thicken, but do not scramble (this is done off the heat to ensure this does not happen.) Thin out the sauce with a bit of the reserved pasta water, until it reaches desired consistency.
9. Season the carbonara with several turns of freshly ground black pepper and taste for salt. Mound the spaghetti carbonara into warm serving bowls and garnish with chopped parsley. Pass more cheese around the table.