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

Ultimate spaghetti carbonara recipe

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(150 ratings)

Prep: 15 mins - 20 mins Cook: 15 mins


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
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  • 100g pancetta



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

  • 50g pecorino cheese
  • 50g parmesan



    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


  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.

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Comments, questions and tips

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30th Mar, 2015
I've never made this before and am a pretty novice cook so forgive me if this sounds silly, but it sounds like the egg is pretty much raw (or half raw) when you serve the meal? Wouldn't this make you ill? I'm such a worry wart and have no idea about things like this!
vuvoo's picture
31st Mar, 2015
The egg is cooked delicately so that it doesn't taste raw but isn't scrambled - the heat of the freshly boiled spaghetti warms it gently. Carbonara is always made this way, so unfortunately if the level of cooked-ness doesn't sit with you this dish is not the one for you! It is very unlikely to make you ill.
25th Mar, 2015
Delicious and creamy. Easy recipe to follow. I will make this dish again very soon. I added an onion to the dish and it turned out to be the best Carbonara I have ever made.
25th Mar, 2015
Delicious and creamy. Simple and easy recipe. I loved it and will make this dish again. I added an onion to the recipe and it turned out brilliantly. The best Carbonara I have made.
25th Mar, 2015
Delicious and creamy. Simple and easy recipe to follow. I added one onion to the recipe and loved the result. I will try this again.
18th Mar, 2015
Wow. This dish is glorious. I made it exactly as written and served it with a salad of Roquette with a little balsamic and olive oil. So good, definitely a recipe to make over and over. P.s. Goes down a treat with a nice mineral-y Sauvignon blanc
3rd Mar, 2015
Simply gorgeous, made it several times now!
17th Jan, 2015
Went down a treat with the Wife and Kids! Used 100g of Parmesan as couldn't find pecorino cheese. Did find it went cold quite quickly, I think this is because the eggs came straight from the fridge. Would definitely make again, quick, simple and tasty!
17th Jan, 2015
This was ridiculously easy and quick to make and an instant hit. Even the fussy eaters cleaned their plates and asked for more. This will get cooked again....regularly.
13th Jan, 2015
Just made this great quick recipe! Added some mushrooms too. I used normal cheddar and parmesan worked just as well. Definitely will be making this again!


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