Spaghetti Carbonara: the Italian traditional recipe

Total time: 30 Min
Difficulty: Low
Serves: 4 people
By Cookist
320 gr
2, whole
120 gr
Extra-virgin olive oil
as much as it is needed
as much as it is needed
Black pepper
as much as it is needed
120 gr

Spaghetti carbonara is a popular pasta dish of Italian cuisine made of eggs, bacon, and grated Pecorino cheese (not Parmesan). It was easy to cook, and the ingredients were easy to find and to preserve. Beware of those who put garlic to prepare the carbonara sauce!

The origin of this dish is uncertain and Carbonara is probably born with the Apennines charcoal burners (who are called "carbonari" in Romanesco dialect). It had also the advantage of being very nourishing and therefore it delivered all the energy needed to carry out the hard work of a charcoal burner.

Two other hypotheses attribute the origin of spaghetti carbonara to Ippolito Cavalcanti, a Neapolitan nobleman who published the recipe in a book, and to the appearance of Anglo-American troops bacon in the roman markets after World War II liberation of Rome.

How to make spaghetti carbonara

Cut the bacon 1 into small cubes 2 and let them brown in a frying pan with a bit of oil 3 until they becomes transparent.

Grate the Pecorino Roman cheese 4 and put it into a bowl with two beaten eggs and a handful of pepper 5. Amalgamate well to get a creamy condiment for your spaghetti Carbonara 6.

Cook the spaghetti in abundant salted water and drain them “al dente”, and keep a ladle of pasta cooking water. Pour spaghetti in the frying pan and let them stir-fry with the cheek lard for a minute 7. Add the condiment 8, blend quickly with the wooden spoon, turn off the flame and serve.


  • To cook a creamy carbonara, if it is too dry, add little by little a bit of cooking water when you let spaghetti stir-fry and blend until it is creamy.
  • For the spaghetti carbonara you must use whole eggs and beat them well so that the egg whites will not dissolve the mixture.
  • Spaghetti Carbonara do not need the onion, beyond what French people and the famous chef Cracco say.


Spaghetti carbonara presents several successful variants to taste, if you are not purists.

Zucchini and tuna fish spaghetti carbonara
The spaghetti carbonara with zucchini and tuna fish is the light variant, an excellent alternative to classic spaghetti carbonara, also perfect for people who suffer of celiac disease. Just cut 300 grams of zucchini, let them fry them in a pan with a bit of garlic and two tablespoons of olive oil. Spaghetti must be “al dente” and the eggs must be beaten with salt, pepper and grated Pecorino Roman cheese.

Spaghetti fish carbonara with tuna fish, swordfish and salmon
Spaghetti fish carbonara is a course that differs just in the beginning of the process: in fact, you must prepare the fish and cut into small cubes salmon, swordfish and tuna. Then, you have to pour just a pinch of oil into a frying pan and begin to brown a whole clove of garlic that you will remove later. Then, put in the small cubes of fish and the minced thyme. Then, salt and season as you wish and brown it all in medium heat for only a few minutes while carefully mixing it in order to make the fish brighter. Spaghetti is prepared as for traditional carbonara.

Spaghetti carbonara without eggs
This is a light variant, especially suitable for vegans. It is very digestible, and you can also use the soy cheese and replace bacon or cheek lard with artichokes and zucchini. As spaghetti carbonara is not recommended during pregnancy, we suggest this variant to all the women who are expecting.

Baked spaghetti carbonara
The preparation of Baked Spaghetti Carbonara is the same as the traditional Carbonara, but in the final part it is baked in the oven at 270 C for about five minutes. Then take the baking tray out of the oven and serve it hot and steaming.

Possible sides for Carbonara?

Since Carbonara is a quite nourishing course, we suggest you not to prepare any second dish and to dedicate yourself instead to some salad with croutons.

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