Carbonara – the Italian one

Real Carbonara

Real Carbonara

I am a bit ashamed of writing on this blog again. Such a long time has gone from the last post and so many things have happened. The main news is that I changed my job, twice, I had been driving over two hours every day to go to work and back, but now, I have a job I like, closer to home and hopefully I will have more time to spend on my blog.

So, here I am with a new recipe, la carbonara, ma quella vera. So many times I have seen “strange dishes” called carbonara here in the UK and often the recipe doesn’t even contain the two main ingredients: eggs and pancetta. Instead the main ingredient in the English carbonara is cream, a loooot of cream, ah, and mushrooms! Generally you have spaghetti floating in a white sauce, squisito!

For the original carbonara you would need guanciale which is a sort of bacon prepared with  pig’s jowl or cheek. In fact, its name derives from guancia, Italian for cheek. The other main ingredients are fresh eggs and a good pecorino romano. Since we are in the UK (or somewhere else in the world), some ingredients can be quite difficult to find, therefore you can substitute guanciale with a good quality unsmoked bacon and the pecorino romano with a simpler pecorino. If you do not find the pecorino you can use some good Parmigiano, but it is not going to be a real carbonara!

The secret for a good carbonara is to be careful not to cook the eggs. The creamy sauce is simply due to the raw eggs and molten cheese and nothing else.


For 4:

400 g spaghetti
90 g guanciale
4 eggs
80 g pecorino romano, grated
salt and pepper

In a large pot bring to the boil enough water for cooking the pasta. Cut the guanciale into small cubes or strips and fry it in a small pan. Cook until it turns slightly gold and the fat is transparent, then set aside to cool down. In a large bowl whisk the eggs with half of the grated percorino, some of the fat released by the guanciale during cooking and a pinch of salt.

Once the water is boiling add a small handful of coarse sea salt followed by the pasta and cook for the required time (usually ~10 minutes for spaghetti). Drain the pasta and add it very quickly to the bowl with the egg mixture. Mix and add the guanciale and the remaining grated pecorino. Mix with a wooden spoon until the sauce is creamy and homogeneous. Serve with some grated back pepper.

This entry was posted in Pasta, Primi and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Carbonara – the Italian one

  1. Annina says:


  2. Rebekah says:

    Going to try this tonight!

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