Pasta Carbonara is a classic Italian dish known for its creamy texture and rich flavors, despite not actually using cream. Traditionally made with eggs, Pecorino Romano (or Parmesan), pancetta, and black pepper, this dish is a comforting and satisfying meal that’s surprisingly simple to prepare. Here’s how to make a classic Pasta Carbonara.


  • 12 ounces spaghetti or your preferred pasta
  • 4 ounces pancetta or guanciale, diced
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 cup grated Pecorino Romano or Parmesan cheese, plus more for serving
  • Freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • Salt for pasta water
  • Fresh parsley, chopped (optional, for garnish)


  1. Cook the Pasta: Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the pasta and cook according to package instructions until al dente. Reserve 1 cup of pasta cooking water, then drain the pasta and set aside.
  2. Cook the Pancetta: While the pasta is cooking, heat a large skillet over medium heat. Add the diced pancetta or guanciale and cook until it’s crispy and the fat has rendered, about 5-7 minutes. Remove the pancetta with a slotted spoon and set aside, leaving the fat in the skillet.
  3. Prepare the Sauce: In a mixing bowl, whisk together the eggs, egg yolk, grated cheese, and a generous amount of freshly ground black pepper until well combined.
  4. Combine Pasta and Pancetta: Add the cooked pasta to the skillet with the pancetta fat over low heat. Toss the pasta to coat in the fat, then remove the skillet from heat. This step is crucial to ensure the eggs don’t scramble when added.
  5. Add the Egg and Cheese Mixture: Pour the egg and cheese mixture over the pasta, quickly tossing until the pasta is evenly coated and the sauce is creamy. If the sauce is too thick, add a little of the reserved pasta water until you reach the desired consistency. The residual heat will cook the eggs gently and form a creamy sauce.
  6. Serve: Add the cooked pancetta back to the skillet and toss everything together. Serve immediately, garnished with additional grated cheese, freshly ground black pepper, and chopped parsley, if using.

Nutrition Facts (per serving):

  • Calories: 600
  • Fat: 25g
  • Carbohydrates: 65g
  • Protein: 25g

Prep and Cooking Time:

  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cooking Time: 20 minutes


  • Serves: 4 people

Pasta Carbonara is a beautifully simple dish that relies on the quality of its few ingredients. It’s a testament to Italian culinary philosophy: good ingredients, simply prepared, resulting in something utterly delicious. Enjoy this classic dish for a taste of Italy at home.

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