Ultimate spaghetti carbonara

Ultimate spaghetti carbonara

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(78 ratings)

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Cooking time

Prep: 15 mins - 20 mins Cook: 15 mins

Skill level

Easy

Servings

Serves 4

Discover how to make the perfect Spaghetti carbonara - with a little help from Gennaro Contaldo

Nutrition and extra info

Nutrition info

Nutrition per serving

kcalories
655
protein
32g
carbs
66g
fat
31g
saturates
16g
fibre
3g
sugar
0g
salt
2.02g

Ingredients

  • 100g pancetta
  • 50g pecorino cheese
  • 50g parmesan
  • 3 large eggs
  • 350g spaghetti (De Cecco is very good)
  • 2 plump garlic cloves, peeled and left whole
  • 50g unsalted butter
  • Maldon salt and freshly grated black pepper

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Method

  1. Put a large saucepan of water on to boil. Finely chop the pancetta, having first removed any rind. Finely grate both cheeses and mix them together. Beat the eggs in a medium bowl, season with a little freshly grated black pepper and set everything aside.
  2. Add 1 tsp salt to the boiling water, add the spaghetti and when the water comes back to the boil, cook at a constant simmer, covered, for 10 minutes or until al dente (just cooked).
  3. Squash the garlic with the blade of a knife, just to bruise it. While the spaghetti is cooking, fry the pancetta with the garlic. Drop the butter into a large wide frying pan or wok and, as soon as the butter has melted, tip in the pancetta and garlic. Leave these to cook on a medium heat for about 5 minutes, stirring often, until the pancetta is golden and crisp. The garlic has now imparted its flavour, so take it out with a slotted spoon and discard.
  4. Keep the heat under the pancetta on low.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 (see left). Don’t worry if a little water drops in the pan as well (you want this to happen) and don’t throw the rest of the pasta water away yet.
  5. Mix most of the cheese in with the eggs, keeping a small handful back for sprinkling over later. Take the pan of spaghetti and pancetta off the heat. Now quickly pour in the eggs and cheese and, using the tongs or a long fork, lift up the spaghetti so it mixes easily with the egg mixture, which thickens but doesn’t scramble, and everything is coated. Add extra pasta cooking water to keep it saucy (several tablespoons should do it). You don’t want it wet, just moist. Season with a little salt, if needed.
  6. Use a long-pronged fork to twist the pasta on to the serving plate or bowl. Serve immediately with a little sprinkling of the remaining cheese and a grating of black pepper. If the dish does get a little dry before serving, splash in some more hot pasta water and the glossy sauciness will be revived.

Recipe from Good Food magazine, November 2002

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Comments

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caitey's picture
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The best 'proper' carbonara ever! Authentic and gorgeous. I now know this recipe off by heart and cook it about once a week.

jack-issocool's picture

would add spring onions mushrooms and might try and make the pasta myself

jack-issocool's picture

would add spring onions mushrooms and might try and make the pasta myself

scarecrow's picture

An absolutely excellent pasta meal.Good for nearly any occasion.

foodfor5's picture

So simple to make. It was absolutely yummy comfort food, very tasty. Family really enjoyed it.

michalis01's picture

This method of serving may not be to everyone's taste but I find it delicious. Instead of adding the egg yolks during the preparation, serve each portion with the raw egg yolk on top. A good quality egg with a deep rich colour looks very apetizing. When you start to eat the dish the yolk breaks and runs down and mixes in with the other ingredients and you experience the magic of the sauce suddenly being enriched with the yolk. Of course you must ensure that the pasta is hot at the time of serving so the raw egg 'cooks'. This is how it is served in Provence and Northern Italy. Simply delicious.

dirk_diggler's picture

To stop the eggs scrambling I find that by leaving a little bit of cooking water in with the pasta allows you to make the egg sauce as opposed to griddling the eggs. Fresh chopped parsley is great in this too.

dagodame's picture
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Can't fault this recipe! This Carbonara was delicious and a snap to prepare. The only change I made was to use a combo of bacon and pancetta as I wanted to finish up what I had in the fridge.

arhg85's picture
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I used only parmesan cheese and one egg (because I made 2 servings only). I had it with some Shiraz, it was excellent!

simonthedon's picture

I found it to be too eggy, although my test subjects loved it.

pup202's picture
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Love this recipe, so light and creamy without being ladened with cream as so many carbonaras are. Perfect.

Tansyt's picture

My first attempt at this resulted in spaghetti with scrambled egg. I will try again (following the recipe precisely rather than just roughly) and leave my rating till next time.

foxyjo's picture
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This is absolutelt gorgeous!! I just followed the recipe word for word, although i didnt have pecorino cheese, so used more parmesan and a bit of mature cheddar!! It was really tastey, will definately be making this again.

03rosexl's picture
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so amazingly good

smileyk's picture
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Excellent! Far nicer than the other carbonara recipe on here. Really lovely.

dagnyosk's picture
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Used smoked turkey instead of pancetta but it was brilliant. Was even kinda sad that I didn't make more ha ha..

chanelu's picture
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Oh, pure heaven! There is no real substitute for proper carbonara sauce, so much richer and more flavoursome than anything with cream. When I don't have any pecorino on hand I simply double the parmesan.

nataliearm's picture
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Excellent dish - very simple and very tasty. I used white wine to cook the pancetta in and it worked a treat.

forestnuter's picture
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Very nice and essentially, very quick. I let the pasta cool down a bit before adding the egg mixture and used last nights gammon steak instead of pancetta. A very simple dish that doesn't disappoint

lajpink's picture
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perfect everytime. Possily the easiest dish ever. Only additions - two shallots and a small handful mushrooms or/and peas

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