Spaghetti alla Carbonara

November 13, 2011 § 2 Comments

Recently, I found myself craving carbonara. Not the peas, bacon, and cream-kind, the legit egg-yolk infused Parmesan-deliciousness.  At first, I wanted to try two different recipes and see which one I liked better. But after making the first one, there was no need to try another recipe because it was so fantastic. I made some variations on Tyler Florence’s original recipe below.


1. Use pasta water to thin out the sauce a little bit.  I used about 1/2 cup.

2. Make sure you take the pan off the flame when adding the egg/cheese mixture so the eggs don’t get scrambled.

Spaghetti alla Carbonara Recipe


  • 1 pound dry spaghetti
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 4 ounces pancetta or slab bacon, cubed or sliced into small strips
  • 4 ounces of prosciutto, sliced thinly into ribbons
  • 6 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, plus more for serving
  • Freshly ground black pepper


Prepare the sauce while the pasta is cooking to ensure that the spaghetti will be hot and ready when the sauce is finished; it is very important that the pasta is hot when adding the egg mixture, so that the heat of the pasta cooks the raw eggs in the sauce.

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil, add the pasta and cook for 8 to 10 minutes or until tender yet firm (as they say in Italian “al dente.”) Drain the pasta well, reserving 1/2 cup of the starchy cooking water to use in the sauce if you wish.

Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a deep skillet over medium flame. Add the pancetta and saute for about 3 minutes, until the bacon is crisp and the fat is rendered. Add the ribbons of prosciutto and saute for 1 minutes. Toss the garlic into the fat and saute for less than 1 minute to soften.

Add the hot, drained spaghetti to the pan and toss for 2 minutes to coat the strands in the bacon fat. Beat the eggs and Parmesan together in a mixing bowl, stirring well to prevent lumps. Remove the pan from the heat and pour the egg/cheese mixture into the pasta, whisking quickly until the eggs thicken, but do not scramble (this is done off the heat to ensure this does not happen.) Thin out the sauce with a bit of the reserved pasta water, until it reaches desired consistency. Season the carbonara with several turns of freshly ground black pepper and taste for salt. Mound the spaghetti carbonara into warm serving bowls and garnish with chopped parsley. Pass more cheese around the table.

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§ 2 Responses to Spaghetti alla Carbonara

  • amyzhou says:

    yummy. i am sad looking at this because i cannot eat it

  • sean yoon says:

    steph – i once had a carbonara that was also rich parmesany goodness, but this once place added something very interesting. on top of the pasta was a small bed of arugula crowned with a perfectly poached egg. the sauce was not runny and milky (like bad cream sauces) at all, but the fatty yolk drizzle with the richness of the parmesan and the fresh peppery bitterness of the arugula – it was a revelation. the pasta was tagliatelle so its thickness was able to seize all the stuff going on. so if you wanna ever try something new and crazy with this carbonara – try adding a little arugula and maybe even the egg if you are undaunted.

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