Ultimate spaghetti carbonara

Ultimate spaghetti carbonara

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

Prep: 15 mins - 20 mins Cook: 15 mins


Serves 4
Discover how to make the perfect Spaghetti carbonara - with a little help from Gennaro Contaldo

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.


  • 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 egg
  • 350g spaghetti (De Cecco is very good)
  • 2 plump garlic clove, 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.

Ads by Google

Comments, questions and tips

Sign in or create your My Good Food account to join the discussion.
30th Jun, 2014
I've made this a few times and it is so, so good - much better than any restaurant I've been to and it's lovely and creamy tasting even though no cream is used. For all of those that have commented that they are left with scrambled eggs, this is most likely because you are not taking the pasta off the heat before adding the egg. The egg should just be cooked from the warmth of the pasta, if you have it still on the hob it's obvious that they will scramble! I done this one in error and it was inedible haha althought I knew the mistake was mine and not the recipes. I highly recommend this recipe, one of my favourites on this site :)
23rd Jun, 2014
Well I am feeling a bit silly right now. 25 yrs ago (late teans/early 20's) my Aunt told me a great "After the nightclub" recipe called Bacon and Egg Spaghetti which I cooked everytime friends came back to the house. Used to whip this up so quickly and all were happy. Mom used to cook Carbonara heavily ladled with cream and was told this was the true Carbonara so I followed her instructions for years. Been looking for a "lighter" version of Mum's recipe and little did I realise that I had been using the true one all along. I stopped cooking Bacon and Egg Spaghetti years ago but will defiantly be going back and showing my daughter how to cook it tonight (with smoked pancetta). Thank you Aunt Gill and BBC good food...... Now have to teach Mom the right way :)
15th May, 2014
Absolutely delicious. As good as the fabulous Carbonara had in Puglia last year. I added a few wild mushrooms with the pancetta for added depth. Super!
2nd May, 2014
I'm a very novice cook, have never tried this before but found this recipe really easy and was very pleased with the result!! :)
23rd Apr, 2014
sounded like very easy recipe, but ended up way too salty and the eggs scrambled, making it pretty disgusting. won't be using this recipe again, very disappointed.
14th May, 2014
Sounds like you had the heat too high jenny when you stirred the eggs in. If you found it too salty use more parmesan than pecorino or just use parmesan.
18th Apr, 2014
I'm never ordering carbonara in a restaurant again! This was much better - I added a bit of cream in with the cheese/egg mixture to make it a richer sauce, which was very nice indeed.
11th Apr, 2014
Was looking for a recipe to use up the rest of a smoked ham joint I had and this worked a treat. Chopped my ham into tiny cubes and only used parmesan as this is all I had, I also crushed my garlic as I wanted to keep it in and also added some mushrooms. As a family we tend to like quite a lot of sauce with our pasta meals so I was worried this might be a bit dry for us but I needn't have worried as the spaghetti was coated in a beautiful rich and creamy tasting sauce. Whole family loved it.
10th Mar, 2014
loved this, near enough what I expect when ordering in a restaurant and so easy! Definitely a new mid-week regular :)
5th Mar, 2014
Highly recommended, simple and delicious. Just for personal taste though, we leave the garlic in.


Be the first to ask a question about this recipe...Unsure about the cooking time or want to swap an ingredient? Ask us your questions and we’ll try and help you as soon as possible. Or if you want to offer a solution to another user’s question, feel free to get involved...
Be the first to suggest a tip for this recipe...Got your own twist on this recipe? Or do you have suggestions for possible swaps and additions? We’d love to hear your ideas.