Spaghetti Carbonara Recipe

Spaghetti Carbonara Recipe

Pasta Carbonara is, without doubt, a firm favorite among many lovers of Italian cuisine. It is the kind of dish that works well as a meal for one, created quickly as a fantastic pick me up or comfort meal, or can easily transcend in to a feast for a large, hungry family gathered around the dining table.

Whilst essentially a simple dish, created from ingredients many will have in their fridge, this is also a pasta that manages to offer a complex combination of tastes, with a luxurious feel. Honestly, no matter what you’re looking for, carbonara seems to have the ability to tick all the right boxes.


As with many things which have taken on a legendary status, the exact origins of the carbonara recipe are unknown. The name “carbonara” did not appear until the 1950s, where it appears American GIs used the term to refer to the specific pasta and egg-sauce dish.

It is logical to assume the name derives from the Italian word carbonaro, meaning “charcoal burner”, with many suggesting this was originally a dish that was prepared for Italian charcoal workers. Equally, it has been supposed the name is in reference and tribute to the Carbonari, a secret society of charcoal-men, which was prominent in the early 19th Century.

Of course, it could easily refer to the black flecks of pepper which give this dish the appearance of being sprinkled with coal dust.

Whatever the origins of the name, this dish has existed, in one form of another since the 1830s and simply increased in popularity post World War II, with the increased availability of bacon and powdered eggs.

There are a number of variations offered for this recipe, for example, substituting spaghetti for fettucine, rigatoni or bucatini or using guanciale, pancetta or even lardons of smoke bacon. Whatever your preferences, you can make the necessary adaptions; however, here is our preferred recipe.

The Classic Recipe


Serves 4

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cooking Time: 10 minutes

Calories per serving: 973 kcal

500g Tonnarello Pasta

For the Carbonara Sauce:

- 4 Egg Yolks

- 175ml Single Cream

- ⅔ cup (85g) of Parmigiano Reggiano

- Black Pepper

- 75g Pancetta


1. Crack the egg yolks into a bowl, add the cream, finely grate in the Parmigiano Reggiano and season with black pepper, then mix well.

2. Add the pancetta to a large frying pan and sauté over medium-low heat until browned and crisp. This should take approximately 5 minutes.

3. Cook the pasta in a large pan of generously salted boiling water for 3-4 minutes, or until it has reached your desire level of firmness.

4. Once cooked, save approximately ½ a cup of the pasta cooking water, then drain the pasta. Transfer the drained pasta to the frying pan along with the pancetta. Toss well and then immediately remove the pan from heat.

5. Add the egg, cream and cheese mixture, tossing vigorously. You do not want to allow the sauce to settle on the bottom of the pan; instead make sure it clings to the pasta itself.

6. Once mixed, start slowly adding the reserved pasta water, adjusting as necessary to obtain a silky-smooth sauce that completely coats your pasta.

7. Serve with freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano and a good grind of black pepper for that authentic taste and look.

Our Chef’s Top Tips

If you can, use chilled eggs when preparing the carbonara sauce. Cold yolks are easier to separate from the whites, making your life much simpler! Remember, do not overcook the eggs. The last thing you want is to be serving pasta alla scrambled eggs!

You do not need to use any oil in the preparation of this dish. The fat rendered from the pancetta is more than enough; adding more will make your dish greasy.

Once you have added your sauce to your pasta, use tongs to continue tossing the mixture together. Tongs are ideal when working with longer strands of pasta (and will make you feel like an authentic Italian cook).

Make it even easier …

Here at EKOOK we are passionate about Italian food, and want to bring a taste of the authentic kitchen to your home. We only use the freshest ingredients to create gourmet pasta dishes that are perfect for those looking for that homecooked taste, without the shopping, cooking or extensive washing up. Ready in five minutes, our meals contain everything you need to give yourself a little taste of Italy, whenever you need it.