Close up of perfect spaghetti carbonara on a plate ready to eat

Ultimate spaghetti carbonara recipe

  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
(144 ratings)

Prep: 15 mins - 20 mins Cook: 15 mins

Easy

Serves 4

Discover how to make our best spaghetti carbonara recipe. This cheesy pasta dish is an Italian favourite and, with a little help from Gennaro Contaldo, you can make it perfect every time

Nutrition and extra info

Nutrition: per serving

  • kcal655
  • fat31g
  • saturates16g
  • carbs66g
  • sugars0g
  • fibre3g
  • protein32g
  • salt2.02g
Save to My Good Food
Please sign in or register to save recipes.

Ingredients

  • 100g pancetta
    Pancetta

    Pancetta

    pan-chet-ah

    Pancetta is Italian cured pork belly - the equivalent of streaky bacon. It has a deep, strong,…

  • 50g pecorino cheese
  • 50g parmesan
    Parmesan

    Parmesan

    parm-ee-zan

    Parmesan is a straw-coloured hard cheese with a natural yellow rind and rich, fruity flavour. It…

  • 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

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 and season with a little freshly grated black pepper. 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 frying pan or wok and, as soon as the butter has melted, tip in the pancetta and garlic. Leave 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. Don’t worry if a little water drops in the pan as well (you want this to happen) and don’t throw 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. 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.

You may also like

Ads by Google

Comments, questions and tips

Sign in or create your My Good Food account to join the discussion.
spottycups's picture
spottycups
18th Jul, 2017
5.05
Very easy and super tasty! I made two small tweaks (for costs more than anything else) - I used all parmesan rather than part pecorino, and I used smoked cooking bacon in place of pancetta - not so authentic maybe but absolutely fine for a quick family meal! Served up with steamed greens and it was clean plates all round - will make again soon!
christinashuttl...
10th Jul, 2017
5.05
Made this tonight and me and my husband both really enjoyed it! SO happy that the eggs didn't scramble as I was worried about this having never made it before but I kept it off the heat for about 2 mins before mixing. The only thing I noticed was that the egg/cheeese mixture still had obvious bits of cheese in it, it was not completely smooth as it seems to be in the picture, not sure why that happened but still it was a lovely meal and I will be making it again.
llaura
4th Jul, 2017
5.05
Super easy, super delicious
maguirebarnes
17th May, 2017
5.05
Me & my 10 year old son are learning together trying some of these recipes & this one turned out to be deliciously creamy and exactly how we imagined it to be.
amiddle
12th May, 2017
5.05
Extremely tasty and simple recipe. Don't be tempted to cook out the egg. Just twist it through the pasta for 20-30 seconds for best results. The pasta water is a necessity as well. Very full and happy now.
frandmckay
5th May, 2017
5.05
Wow, people get so ANGRY over recipes! This is a lovely recipe - just use the best ingredients you have access to and enjoy your dinner. Unless you are writing a book entitled "Authentic Italian Food Using ONLY Authentic Ingredients Available Three Centuries Ago" no one cares. It tastes delicious.
Oliviawenyu
5th Feb, 2017
The posted recipe is far too complex. How am I supposed to take out the garlic from the mixture with the pancetta once the garlic has cooked? This step is ridiculous. Whoever wrote this recipe obviously never followed it. Sad.
fumrao
14th Feb, 2017
If you read the recipe correctly, you'll see that it says to leave the garlic cloves 'whole' and to just 'bruise' them with a knife. You should only have to remove 2 whole cloves, which shouldn't be difficult. It's ironic because you never read the recipe properly, and then accuse the author of never following it themselves.
angelagro1982
31st Jan, 2017
5.05
very simple and quick to make with an amazingly tasty result. will have to try this more often now.
freddyemme
22nd Dec, 2016
I guess for the British standards, it's a good recipe, but it's far, far away from being the original one from Italy...

Pages

theSpaghettiMonster
5th Aug, 2017
Are we still allowed to make this post Brexit?
Sammielawson
8th Aug, 2013
How many does this recipe serve?
mindymoo62
30th Oct, 2013
It serves 4 . It is very filling so be carefully not to add too much more than stated on the recipe. Enjoy
dilbert77
27th Apr, 2015
Well, it's not very italian, but I really like to squeeze some fresh lime juice over the dish just before serving. The lime goes very well with the pancetta.
lecampbl
11th Oct, 2014
5.05
This the best carbonara I have ever had and so easy to make, I add chestnut mushrooms to it too
tillyfloss80
3rd Sep, 2014
5.05
I've found that after taking the pasta & pancetta off the heat, giving it a minute or two to cool slightly before adding the egg mixture seems to stop the eggs scrambling.
Lindane
3rd Aug, 2014
Do you use the yolks of the eggs too
tillyfloss80
3rd Sep, 2014
5.05
Yes, use 3 full eggs.
KaiShun
4th Feb, 2014
Its better if you replace the eggwhites with full cream and use only the yolks, then mix all with the cheese(prefer pecorino romano) add 1tbs Plochman's Mild Yellow mustard or other yellow mustard in the mix with loads of freshly ground black pepper. When the mix is ready just continue like the recipe does.