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Why Basic Ingredients Make the Best Pasta Carbonara

Pasta Carbonara is a classic Italian dish known for its creamy, indulgent sauce. Here's a step-by-step guide on how to make it:


  • 12 ounces (about 340g) spaghetti or fettuccine

  • 2 large eggs

  • 1 cup (about 100g) grated Pecorino Romano or Parmesan cheese

  • 4-6 slices of guanciale or pancetta (or bacon as a substitute), diced

  • 2 cloves garlic, minced (optional)

  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper

  • Fresh parsley, chopped (for garnish, optional)


  • Large pot for boiling pasta

  • Large skillet

  • Mixing bowl

  • Whisk

  • Tongs

  • Grater (for cheese)

Step 1: Cook the Pasta

  1. Fill a large pot with water and bring it to a boil. Add salt to the boiling water.

  2. Add the spaghetti or fettuccine to the boiling water and cook according to the package instructions, usually until it's al dente. Before draining, reserve about 1 cup of pasta cooking water.

Step 2: Prepare the Sauce

  1. In a mixing bowl, whisk together the eggs and most of the grated cheese (leave some for garnish). Season with freshly ground black pepper. Set the bowl aside.

Step 3: Cook the Guanciale or Pancetta

  1. In a large skillet, cook the diced guanciale or pancetta over medium heat until it becomes crispy and the fat has rendered. If using bacon, cook until it's crispy and browned.

  2. If you like, you can add minced garlic to the skillet and sauté for about 1 minute, but it's not traditional.

Step 4: Combine Pasta and Sauce

  1. Once the pasta is cooked, use tongs to transfer it directly from the pot to the skillet with the cooked guanciale or pancetta. It's okay if some pasta water comes with it; this will help create the creamy sauce.

  2. Toss the pasta and guanciale together in the skillet until well mixed.

Step 5: Add the Egg and Cheese Mixture

  1. Remove the skillet from heat.

  2. Quickly pour the egg and cheese mixture over the pasta and toss vigorously to combine. The heat from the pasta will cook the eggs, creating a creamy sauce. If the sauce seems too thick, you can add some of the reserved pasta cooking water to reach your desired consistency.

Step 6: Garnish and Serve

  1. Season the Pasta Carbonara with more freshly ground black pepper.

  2. Garnish with the remaining grated cheese and chopped fresh parsley (if desired).

  3. Serve immediately, while it's still hot, in individual plates or bowls.

Enjoy your homemade Pasta Carbonara, a rich and comforting Italian classic!

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