International Day of Italian Cuisines

Spaghetti alla carbonara: an authentic recipe


Ingredients to serve one portion

60 to 80gm spaghetti freshly cooked al dente
1 tablespoon Extra virgin olive oil
30gm flat pancetta or guanciale
1 or 2 beaten eggs
25 gm freshly grated Pecorino Romano and/or aged Italian Grana Cheese (Grana Padano or Parmigiano Reggiano)
freshly grounded black pepper


  • Combine the beaten egg with grated cheese and grounded black pepper
  • Slice the pancetta 7 to 10 mm thick and cut in 2 cm rectangular bites
  • Slowly fry the pancetta in the extra virgin olive oil in a non stick pan until crispy. If the pancetta has enough fat you will not need to add oil
  • Add the spaghetti with some of the cooking water, do not fry the spaghetti but rather just let it absorb the flavour of the pancetta
  • Simmer lightly until the water is almost gone
  • Remove the pan from the stove
  • Add the egg, cheese and pepper mixture to the pasta and stir quickly making sure the egg does not overcook but remains creamy. It shouldn’t pass the 70-72 C˚ (158-162 F˚) temperature, the point at which coagulation starts
  • Place in a hot pasta bowl
  • Season with grounded black pepper
  • Serve immediately
  • Offer more black pepper and more grated cheese at the table

1. You cannot make a Carbonara with pre-cooked pasta
2. Do not add cream
3. If you like, you can mix the two cheeses
4. Timing is important when you serve this dish
5. Make sure the plate or bowl is hot
6. Do not overcook the egg

To know more about Carbonara ingredients.
To know about the history of the dish.