Spaghetti alla carbonara's creamy sauce is simply a thin egg and cheese custard, spiked with pork and black pepper. Try to find pancetta or guanciale (pork cheek cured like pancetta) for a really authentic taste!

Chef John
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Ingredients

2
Original recipe yields 2 servings
The ingredient list now reflects the servings specified
Ingredient Checklist

Directions

Instructions Checklist
  • Cook guanciale with olive oil and 1 teaspoon ground black pepper in a Dutch oven over medium-low heat until almost crisp, about 5 minutes. Reduce heat to low.

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  • Whisk eggs, 3 tablespoons Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, 3 tablespoons Pecorino Romano cheese, and 1 teaspoon ground black pepper in a bowl. Set aside.

  • Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Cook spaghetti in the boiling water, stirring occasionally until cooked through but firm to the bite, 10 to 12 minutes. Drain, reserving 1 cup of the pasta water.

  • Pour reserved pasta water and drained spaghetti into the bacon-pepper mixture; stir to combine.

  • Slowly pour egg mixture into the pasta mixture; cook, stirring constantly until the egg mixture forms a thick sauce, 1 to 2 minutes. Remove from heat.

  • Stir remaining 3 tablespoons Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese and 3 tablespoons Pecorino Romano cheese into the pasta mixture and serve.

Cook's Note:

You can substitute pancetta for the guanciale. Or in a pinch, use bacon.

Partner Tip

Reynolds® Aluminum foil can be used to keep food moist, cook it evenly, and make clean-up easier.

Nutrition Facts

688 calories; 30.3 g total fat; 220 mg cholesterol; 984 mg sodium. 66.1 g carbohydrates; 36.3 g protein; Full Nutrition

Reviews (182)

Read More Reviews

Most helpful positive review

Rating: 4 stars
08/17/2012
When I make carbonara, I always add about a cup of chopped yellow onion to the bacon as it fries. That combination is delicious. I also use chicken broth instead of pasta water, as it adds more flavor, and only add the cheese at the end, along with about 1/2 cup of chopped fresh parsley. Read More
(152)

Most helpful critical review

Rating: 3 stars
05/24/2012
I have never made this before and I think I made a big mistake by upping the servings to 8. There was waaay too much pasta to stir as instructed. Definately don't try to up the servings so much as I did! The people I made it for enjoyed it but personally I wish I would have stuck with the actual recipe amt. Read More
(27)
236 Ratings
  • 5 star values: 169
  • 4 star values: 45
  • 3 star values: 17
  • 2 star values: 3
  • 1 star values: 2
Rating: 4 stars
08/17/2012
When I make carbonara, I always add about a cup of chopped yellow onion to the bacon as it fries. That combination is delicious. I also use chicken broth instead of pasta water, as it adds more flavor, and only add the cheese at the end, along with about 1/2 cup of chopped fresh parsley. Read More
(152)
Rating: 4 stars
08/17/2012
When I make carbonara, I always add about a cup of chopped yellow onion to the bacon as it fries. That combination is delicious. I also use chicken broth instead of pasta water, as it adds more flavor, and only add the cheese at the end, along with about 1/2 cup of chopped fresh parsley. Read More
(152)
Rating: 5 stars
05/05/2012
Surprisingly, I've never had spaghetti alla carbonara before. So, I don't have anything to compare this to. I know where I can buy pancetta at but it was too far away and I was feeling lazy. So, I used thick bacon. I, like chef John in the video, used whole wheat spaghetti. I enjoyed this simple dish even though I messed up a little and my cream curdled a bit. I didn't lower my heat as low as I should have and I didn't constantly stir. So, do as Chef John said!!! :o) Read More
(111)
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Rating: 5 stars
04/30/2012
Very easy simple ingredients great to see the video also. I added a little diced onion with the bacon and seared cubed chicken tenderloins with the pasta; it tasted just like a nearby restaurant's carbonara. Wasn't too sure about adding the pasta water but it was a great tip; made the sauce just the right consistency! Perfect amount for two people. Thanks for the recipe! Read More
(88)
Rating: 4 stars
09/26/2012
Spaghetti alla Carbonara is not difficult to make and requires just a few simple, but standard, required ingredients. It really does not vary much from one recipe to the next. This recipe is a fundamental, basic reference recipe. I find it a little easier to mix the (room temperature) egg and cheese in a bowl and then add the cooked pasta to that mixture (rather than the other way around). I stir in the cooked meat, be it guanciale, pancetta or bacon, at the end. Add a little of the pasta cooking water if the sauce seems a little dry – the dish should be creamy, but not swimming in sauce. I just returned from Italy, where I was lucky enough to enjoy this pasta dish with guanciale, which comes from the jowls of the pig. I admit it sounded unappealing when I first tried it years ago, but only because it was unfamiliar. It is the best and by comparison neither pancetta nor bacon measure up. Unfortunately, it is hard to find here in the states. In its absence I’ve used pancetta, as I did tonight, other times bacon, and I have to say that if I can’t have this with guanciale I prefer bacon over the pancetta. I found this recipe a little heavy on the cheese for my taste, so I backed off on it by about one-third. Nothing innovative about this recipe – but because this is a classic dish, it shouldn’t be. Read More
(69)
Rating: 5 stars
02/16/2015
I'm half Italian and have been living here for over 28 years. So I can fully guarantee that the above recipe is correct. Hence the 5 stars. However there is a small cooking trick that we do here in Italy to make sure that the sauce is creamy and that the eggs don't curdle. First we only use the yellow of the eggs inorder to make the egg taste not so strong (you may use the whole egg if you want). Second you should beat the egg and mix a part of the grated cheese together and then add a couple of spoonfools of the pasta water while the pasta is boiling to this mixture. The pasta water will help make this mixture creamy. When you add the egg mixture it should be done on either a very low heat or even better off the stove. If necessary add extra pasta water. All the rest remains the same... ingredients ect... hope this helps it works for me now my pasta is never dry Read More
(54)
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Rating: 5 stars
05/23/2012
I made some changes to it. added garlic to the bacon and a little bit of white wine. Little Cilantro on top. Came out great! Love this recipe!!! Read More
(35)
Rating: 5 stars
06/05/2012
I'm a cooking novice so I was intimidated at first. However the video and instructions help more than you'll know. I was nervous about the sauce and about the whole prep but it was really easy to make and beautiful to look at. I served it with some steamed broccoli and it was a hit. The only thing I did different was that I used thick-cut bacon since I'm on a college budget but I thought it turned out really well. Apparently so did my family. Read More
(32)
Rating: 3 stars
05/24/2012
I have never made this before and I think I made a big mistake by upping the servings to 8. There was waaay too much pasta to stir as instructed. Definately don't try to up the servings so much as I did! The people I made it for enjoyed it but personally I wish I would have stuck with the actual recipe amt. Read More
(27)
Rating: 5 stars
09/26/2012
Whenever I see a recipe for Spaghetti alla Carbonara with cream added, I know immediately that the cook had never tasted the real thing, a Roman specialty. Thank you Chef John for this perfect, authentic recipe. Read More
(22)