Spaghetti carbonara comes straight from Lazio, the region around Rome where the dish was first invented.
As one of the most famous Italian dishes, spaghetti carbonara has a reputation for being tricky to make – but it’s actually very easy and takes just 15 minutes to prep and cook. With just six ingredients, this spaghetti carbonara recipe uses salty pancetta, plenty of Parmesan and a clove of garlic to infuse the spaghetti with as much flavour as possible. Even in Italy, alternatives such as bacon lardons are regularly substituted for the pancetta as they’re easier to get hold of and cheaper. Fettuccine, rigatoni, linguine or bucatini are also regularly used instead of spaghetti for something a little different.
Watch how to make Spaghetti carbonara
- 175g spaghetti or linguine
- 65g diced pancetta, or smoked streaky bacon, snipped
- 1 tsp olive oil
- 1 garlic clove, crushed
- 1 egg, plus 2 yolks
- 25g Parmesan, grated
Boil the pasta in a large pan of boiling salted water.
Add oil to a frying pan and fry pancetta for a few minutes until golden and crisp. Add garlic, fry for 1 minute, then turn off the heat.
Lightly whisk egg and yolks with most of the Parmesan and some salt and pepper (reserve a little to garnish).
Drain pasta, reserving a little of the cooking water.
Add eggs and 1 tbsp cooking water to the pasta, then mix until pasta is coated and creamy. Stir in the pancetta and garlic then serve, topped with the remaining Parmesan.
Tips for making spaghetti carbonara:
Don’t be tempted to add other ingredients to your carbonara, such as cream. This won’t prevent the pasta from being dry, as is a common worry. Instead, it will just make the dish heavier and more liquidated. If you find that your pasta is drier than you’d like, add more pasta water while cooking.
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