An Italian Masterpice: Spaghetti alla Carbonara

Ladies and Gentlemen, hold on tight as this is one of the most iconic, celebrated, tasty and world known Italian recipe: the Carbonara.

While approaching this very traditional national recipe, you always have to say a little prayer as every Italian (and I really mean every one of them), has its own personal interpretation of it. Therefore you may find dozens of recipes for it on the internet, most of which are reliable and based on local products one could find across the Country. I am aware you may find my recipe a bit different from others you read and probably that’s the way it is, thus try my personal version also and choose which is the one you like best. Regardless of what recipe will match your personal taste, it will always be a savoury experience for your palate.

Spaghetti alla Carbonara

Ingredients for 2 people:

  • 160 Grams of spaghetti
  • 1 Egg
  • 2 Tablespoons of grated Parmigiano Reggiano Dop
  • 80 grams of Guanciale (this is the good cheek of the pork)
  • Olive oil
  • Salt and black pepper to taste.
Ingredients for Spaghetti alla Carbonara – Photo by Matteo Gazzarata

How to choose the right ingredients:

As the recipe is rooted in central Italy, you may use Pecorino Romano Cheese or Pecorino Sardo cheese or Grana Padano cheese instead of Parmigiano Reggiano. The essential here is that you avoid using any “parmesan” cheese which is not from Italy and undergoes a completely different making process. If you want your Carbonara to be the good, you shall use only made in Italy cheese.

As for the Guanciale: it might be pretty difficult for you to find it outside Italy. Therefore you may use a similar product called Pancetta or, for lack of anything else, Bacon (to my Italian mates: please don’t hate me for this).

Spaghetti alla Carbonara – Photo by Matteo Gazzarata


Cut the Guanciale into small dices and mildly fry it in a pan with 1 tablespoon of olive oil (very few oil otherwise the final result will be too greasy). When the guanciale will turn into a brown colour, turn off the fire.

Break a full egg into a small bowl and beat it together with a pinch of salt, black pepper and two abundant tablespoons of Parmiagiano Reggiano chesse, until they will we pretty well amalgamated.

Boil the spaghetti in a tall pot with salted water for approximately 6/7 minutes until the consistency will be “al dente” (avoid averboiling your spaghetti or they will stick together in a bad way).

Turn on the fire under the pan with the fried guanciale. When your spaghetti are ready, take them out of the pot with a carving fork and put them in the pan and stir fry them for a minute, then, turn off the fire (it is very important that you turn off the fire at this moment to avoid making a spaghetti omelette instead of a carbonara).

Pour the beaten egg with Parmigiano Reggiano cheese in the pan and mix the spaghetti for few seconds. Add 2/3 tablespoons of the cooking water and mix again. The heat of the spaghetti and the cooking water will turn it into a deliciously savoury creamy sauce.

Serve as hot as possible accompanied by a glass of Red Wine. My recommendation for you is a glass of Chianti Classico. If you prefer white wine, you may go for a glass of Roero Arneis.

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