Creamy Spaghetti Carbonara Recipe

If you want to serve something both easy and hearty, make spaghetti alla carbonara. Think of it as a pasta coated in a dressing made of eggs and cheese, with delectable bits of pork throughout. It’s a classic Italian meal that relies on pastas with a high surface-to-volume ratio so the eggs cook well on the noodles. This creamy carbonara recipe is ideal with spaghetti, fettuccine or linguine as a base—you can't go wrong.

The dish is associated with Rome and thought to have become popular starting in the mid-20th Century, after Roman cooks made the most of American’s World War II supplies of bacon and powdered eggs.

Another theory of origin comes directly from the dish’s name: “Alla carbonara,” which means “in the style of the charcoal-burners” and refers to Italy’s forest-based skilled laborers who built large piles of wood to create charcoal. The ample addition of black pepper to the dish was believed to evoke these workers.

Regardless of where it started, today most cream-based carbonara recipes, like this one, come from outside of Italy. And the addition of garlic is thought to be an American one. Buon appetito!
 

25min
Cook time
4
Servings
Creamy Spaghetti Carbonara Recipe

If you want to serve something both easy and hearty, make spaghetti alla carbonara. Think of it as a pasta coated in a dressing made of eggs and cheese, with delectable bits of pork throughout. It’s a classic Italian meal that relies on pastas with a high surface-to-volume ratio so the eggs cook well on the noodles. This creamy carbonara recipe is ideal with spaghetti, fettuccine or linguine as a base—you can't go wrong.

The dish is associated with Rome and thought to have become popular starting in the mid-20th Century, after Roman cooks made the most of American’s World War II supplies of bacon and powdered eggs.

Another theory of origin comes directly from the dish’s name: “Alla carbonara,” which means “in the style of the charcoal-burners” and refers to Italy’s forest-based skilled laborers who built large piles of wood to create charcoal. The ample addition of black pepper to the dish was believed to evoke these workers.

Regardless of where it started, today most cream-based carbonara recipes, like this one, come from outside of Italy. And the addition of garlic is thought to be an American one. Buon appetito!
 

If you want to serve something both easy and hearty, make spaghetti alla carbonara. Think of it as a pasta coated in a dressing made of eggs and cheese, with delectable bits of pork throughout. It’s a classic Italian meal that relies on pastas with a high surface-to-volume ratio so the eggs cook well on the noodles. This creamy carbonara recipe is ideal with spaghetti, fettuccine or linguine as a base—you can't go wrong.

The dish is associated with Rome and thought to have become popular starting in the mid-20th Century, after Roman cooks made the most of American’s World War II supplies of bacon and powdered eggs.

Another theory of origin comes directly from the dish’s name: “Alla carbonara,” which means “in the style of the charcoal-burners” and refers to Italy’s forest-based skilled laborers who built large piles of wood to create charcoal. The ample addition of black pepper to the dish was believed to evoke these workers.

Regardless of where it started, today most cream-based carbonara recipes, like this one, come from outside of Italy. And the addition of garlic is thought to be an American one. Buon appetito!
 

25min
Cook time
4
Servings

Ingredients:

Carbonara served in a bowl

Directions:

  1. Prepare spaghetti or similar noodles al dente. While the pasta cooks, add the pancetta to a large skillet over medium-low heat and sauté until crisp, about 8 minutes. Transfer the pancetta to a paper-towel-lined plate using a slotted spoon and set aside. 
  2. Add the garlic to the pancetta drippings in the pan and sauté over medium heat for 1 minute. 
  3. Reduce heat to low. Add half and half to the skillet and bring to a simmer. 
  4. Ladle about 2 tablespoons of the warm sauce into the egg yolks and stir briskly to temper* them, then whisk the egg yolks into the sauce. Whisk in 1 1/2 cups of the Parmesan cheese. Stir in the black pepper and red pepper flakes.
  5. Add the cooked spaghetti, pancetta and parsley to the skillet and toss well to combine. 
  6. Garnish with remaining Parmesan cheese and serve immediately.

*Tempering means slowly warming the eggs with a small amount of hot liquid before introducing them to the sauce ensuring that they mix smoothly, without scrambling.
 

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Carbonara served in a bowl