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spaghetti carbonara on a speckled plate garnished with black pepper

Spaghetti alla Carbonara

Spaghetti alla Carbonara made with guanciale, Pecorino Romano and eggs. You can use bacon or pancetta in place of the guanciale but the guanciale is authentic and traditional. This recipe is made with traditional creamy sauce, yet uses no cream!
Course Main Course
Cuisine Italian
Keyword carbonara, pasta
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes
Servings 6 people
Calories 629kcal


  • 1 Tbsp. salt
  • 1 lb. spaghetti
  • 2 large eggs
  • 3 large egg yolks (no whites)
  • 3 oz. Pecorino Romano
  • 8 oz. guanciale*
  • 1/2 cup pasta water
  • freshly ground black pepper


  • Add the salt to a large pot of water and bring to a boil for the spaghetti.
  • In a medium sized bowl, beat the eggs and egg yolks together and then beat in 3 oz. of freshly grated Pecorino Romano. Set aside.
  • Cut the guanciale into lardons, or small cubes, and add to a non-stick frying pan. Turn the frying pan on medium heat and cook until guanciale becomes dark and crisp, about 7-10 minutes. This process renders the fat out of the guanciale. Don’t strain the guanciale or bacon fat – it adds flavor!
  • Once the guanciale is finished cooking, turn the heat off. Cook the spaghetti until al-dente, ~ 7 minutes. Using a measuring cup, reserve ~ 1/2 cup - 1 cup of the starchy pasta water.
  • Using a pair of tongs, drag/remove the pasta from the large pot and place directly into the guanciale in the frying pan. Make sure you don’t drain the pasta, the water and the fat emulsifies and helps create the creamy sauce we want.
  • Toss the spaghetti with the guanciale and quickly stir/pour the egg and cheese mixture into the hot pasta until thickened. Add some of the reserved pasta water in small increments to create a creamy sauce, if needed.
  • Season with pepper (and salt if desired). Serve immediately. Garnish with more freshly grated Pecorino Romano or Parmigiana-Reggiano.



You can find guanciale at your local specialty Italian markets.
If you can't find guanciale or prefer not to use it, use 1/2 lb. of bacon or pancetta instead. 


Serving: 1serving | Calories: 629kcal | Carbohydrates: 57g | Protein: 21g | Fat: 35g | Saturated Fat: 14g | Cholesterol: 117mg | Sodium: 1478mg | Potassium: 204mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin A: 149IU | Calcium: 176mg | Iron: 1mg