Ultimate spaghetti carbonara

Ultimate spaghetti carbonara

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(104 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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dianeholmes's picture
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I have been using this recipe for a few years now. I think it is the best Carbonara that I have ever eaten. I think the secret to this recipe is the lack of cream. Carbonara does not need a heavy cream to make it taste good. This recipe ticks all the boxes for me and my family and friends.

caroline cheshire's picture
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I was keen to try a recipe without cream as those with cream often dry out. The idea of keeping some pasta cooking water to ensure a creamy finish seemed to work. I used mainly egg yolks as i wanted some whites for a meringue, and used one more than the recipe said, which seemed to work well. This will be my new carbonara recipe, tho I will still be looking to tweak and improve!

pushkinpassey's picture
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It was amazing but I felt there was too much of an eggy flavour which I don't feel when I eat carbonara in a restaurant.

calamitykate666's picture
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Absolutely gorgeous. The whole family loved it. I actually thought that the cheesiness might be a bit strong for my young sons but they scraped their plates clean.

The only thing I changed (sorry SME - I know it offends you and I did LOL @ your "Substituting bacon for a lamb chop" remark!) was that I added an extra egg yolk - just because I feared the lack of cream in the recipe would mean it wouldn't be rich enough. It would have been.

absinthe's picture
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I've been making carbonara using this recipe for three years, it's the most delicate, simplistic, authentic and comforting dish. It's the first meal I cooked my partner two years ago and the first meal I cooked last night in our new home. This will be treasured in my recipe file for years to come. The adding of pasta water is a triumph!

coolruth's picture
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Really easy quick mid-week meal. I make it with left overs of gammon and throw it in at the end. I also leave the garlic in the pan as I love the flavour it gives!

This is really yummy with leeks and peas too - an easy way of getting some veg portions in!

saffij's picture
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Whoo hoo! It didn't curdle! Great recipe. Will do again and again. Many thanks

grange12's picture
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The best!

emsta88's picture
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a bit bland. not what we expected :(

melg95's picture

I cna guarantee that this is the best carbonara that you will ever taste! Superb, and it's something I cook regularly because it has to be one of my favourite recipes in the entire world!

sydjnr73's picture
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empty plates thats all i wanted;))))

cassandramcintyre's picture
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Just made this carbonara, first tim etrying this at home. It was delish! I also did not have pecorino, or butter, so I used olive oil and parmesan. Next time i think i will add a little chopped garlic to the pancetta as well. Will be making again soon! x

vhoracek's picture
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excellent :) some chopped basil leaves helped, too!

d41d0y's picture
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Easy, quick, authentic. Been searching for a "proper" carbonara recipe for ages, and this one was great. Loved the subtle flavour of the garlic.

cookingpinkdianel33's picture

i think its great that other cooks can leave their suggestions and how they have adapted it. I always value ideas and often use them myself.

smeldridge's picture
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Good stuff this version of carbonara. BUT, must say I do get tired in some of these reviews where people say things like "I took out the eggs, added some brie, didn't use the parsley, but substituted mint, and since I didn't have any bacon I used a lamb chop. Gorgeous, I'd make it again!" Give me a break!

cookingpinkdianel33's picture

Beautiful and enjoyed by all my family with requests for me to make another one soon. I also added some chicken, red onions, peppers and a few sundried tomatoes. I had some boursin left over and added some of that to the egg mixture as i couldn't get the pecorino.

effers's picture
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Def. NOT doing this again. Tasted bad, if I could, I would give it zero stars.

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

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