Bowl of spaghetti carbonara with grated parmesan

Learn to make spaghetti carbonara

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(39 ratings)

Prep: 5 mins Cook: 20 mins

Easy

Serves 4

Master this hearty pasta dish and you’ll never be stuck for a quick supper

Nutrition and extra info

Nutrition: per serving

  • kcal734
  • fat36g
  • saturates15g
  • carbs75g
  • sugars4g
  • fibre3g
  • protein33g
  • salt2.95g
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Ingredients

  • 400g spaghetti
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
    olive oil

    Olive oil

    ol-iv oyl

    Probably the most widely-used oil in cooking, olive oil is pressed from fresh olives. It's…

  • 200g smoked pancetta cubes or streaky bacon, chopped
    Pancetta

    Pancetta

    pan-chet-ah

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

  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
    Garlic

    Garlic

    gar-lik

    Part of the lily, or alium, family, of which onions are also a member, garlic is one of the most…

  • 3 eggs
    Eggs

    Egg

    egg

    The ultimate convenience food, eggs are powerhouses of nutrition, packed with protein and a…

  • 75ml double cream
  • 50g Grana padano or parmesan, finely grated, plus extra to serve
    Parmesan

    Parmesan

    parm-ee-zan

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

Method

  1. Cook the spaghetti. Bring a large, deep pan of salted water to the boil. Plunge 400g spaghetti into the water, stir well and cook, following pack instructions. Aim for 'al dente': cooked, but retaining some bite in the middle. Take a few strands out of the water with a spaghetti spoon or tongs 1-2 mins before the end of the cooking time and bite into it. Repeat until you think it is properly cooked.

  2. Fry the pancetta. Meanwhile, heat 1 tbsp olive oil in a frying pan. When hot, tip in 200g smoked pancetta cubes or chopped streaky bacon. Fry over a medium heat until the fat in the meat has melted down into the pan and the meat has turned lightly golden. Be careful not to crisp the pancetta too much; it will be cooked a little bit more later on in the recipe. Remove from the heat and set aside.

  3. Prepare the sauce. Crack 2 of the eggs into a mixing bowl. Separate the yolk from the third egg: gently crack the side of the shell and, using both hands, slowly open it into two halves over a separate bowl - you want to keep the yolk in one of the halves. Tip the yolk from one shell half to the other and repeat until all the egg white has fallen into the bowl below, taking care not to crack the yolk on any rough shell edges. Tip the yolk in with the other eggs and beat together, along with 75ml double cream, 50g finely grated Grana Padano or parmesan cheese and some seasoning.  

  4. Combine the dish. Add 2 crushed garlic cloves to the pancetta and return frying pan to hob. Fry over high heat for 1 min or until garlic is cooked and pancetta warmed through. Meanwhile, drain spaghetti. Tip back into the hot saucepan off the heat. Pour egg mixture over pasta, followed by hot pancetta, garlic, any fat and oils. Toss quickly and thoroughly with spaghetti spoon or tongs. Mix until it has thickened to a smooth, creamy sauce. Serve with extra cheese and freshly ground pepper. 

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Comments, questions and tips

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Crispycake32
20th Sep, 2018
5.05
Very easy to make and delicious. Didn't have an issue with "scrambling" - I ensured the pan was cool when pouring the egg mix over the pasta. Used 2.5 eggs as recommended.
Garry Braithwaite's picture
Garry Braithwaite
30th Jul, 2018
1.05
You don't need the whole egg just the egg yolk otherwise it will scramble. Add the bacon till it's as crispy as you like and add what ever other ingredients you like (mushrooms, chicken ECT.) Cook the ingredients off then add the garlic with butter. Add cream on a gentle heat till warm, then add 1 egg yolk at a time till desired thickness, take off heat and add cheese. Alternately replace the cream with creme fraiche and don't add any egg at all.. that's an easier and healthier option if you desire but still as tasty.
Ashton05
28th Oct, 2017
1.05
Rubbish recipe. As a beginner I needed more information. I followed it exactly and the cream split. Had to throw it all away. A waste of food and time.
David C's picture
David C
30th Dec, 2017
The cream should not split, however the eggs may slightly scramble if the heat is not right which is what I expect is what happened here.
Amarts
20th Oct, 2017
1.05
Appalling - nothing like a carbonara, Italians do not use garlic or cream in this dish - you should be ashamed of yourselves - are you Americans in disguise?
Srhm
24th Feb, 2018
Umm - not sure what you are thinking here? Are you saying we Americans can't make good Carbonara? Have you been to the States?
David C's picture
David C
30th Dec, 2017
It is easier to call it carbonara because it is very similar, just made for British tastes.
gigiblues
6th Apr, 2017
As italian i have to say absolutely NO garlic and NO cream at all !!! Just: - spaghetti - cheek lard - eggs - pepper - pecorino
jadedermody's picture
jadedermody
9th Dec, 2016
4.05
A simple recipe that was easy to adapt. I added mushroom and peas
JasonChloe28
29th Jul, 2016
This was an excellent recipe, cooked for 2 days now, second for family so I doubled the recipe, went down well with everybody, will make this a regular dish! Will experiment with the recipe a bit for a cheaper and healthier version.

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