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

Ultimate spaghetti carbonara recipe

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(140 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, 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.

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Comments, questions and tips

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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!
13th Jan, 2015
Tried this one night and it turned out amazing. Cooked it for a bunch of uni friends and they all loved it, think I'll be making this as often as I can :)
7th Dec, 2014
Lovely recipe, easy to follow and everyone loved it. I made mine with smoked bacon as it was all I had! Also used Penne pasta, still delicious. I will be using this recipe again and again.
12th Nov, 2014
Fantastic and foolproof recipe. I wasn't sure about the amount of cheese but it was delicious. This will be my go to Carbonara from now on.
18th Sep, 2014
Served this for dinner tonight and everyone enjoyed it. Really simple and quick to do. I used bacon as that's all I had and fresh pasta. Delicious. This will be a regular in our house.
3rd Sep, 2014
This carbonara is by far the best I've ever tasted let alone cooked. Once I'd made it I couldn't actually believe how good it was! I'm use to making cream sauces and never felt like they were really that nice! No wonder why, carbonara is suppose to be made with eggs not cream! So glad I mastered this sauce and to be honest it took me 15min to make and I had 4 people try it and they all said it was lovely and questioned how I'd made it so quick! My eggs didn't scramble woooohooo! If you follow the recipe its impossible to stuff this up! Will definitely be making this again. I added mushrooms as well and it was brilliant!


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