Recipe: Spaghetti Carbonara

Cooking an Italian classic

By Robb Walsh October 31, 2013 Published in the November 2013 issue of Houstonia Magazine

Image: Tam Vo

You probably already have all the ingredients you need to make an easy version of this dish in your refrigerator. Of course, you can buy the very best cured meat, cheese, and pasta and make the dish even better.  But don’t obsess over it—this is one of the easiest spaghetti dishes you will ever prepare.

  • 2 tbsp salt
  • 3 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 cup guanciale, pancetta, or top-quality thick-cut bacon
  • 1 lb spaghetti
  • 1 cup freshly grated Pecorino Romano, Parmigiano-Reggiano, or a blend of both
  • 4 large eggs, beaten
  • Freshly ground black pepper

Bring 6 quarts of water to boil in a large pot, and add 2 tablespoons salt.

In a large sauté pan over medium heat, warm the olive oil, then add the cured meat. Cook until the fat is rendered and the meat is crisp. Turn off the heat but do not drain the grease.

Cook the spaghetti in the boiling water until just al dente. Remove half a cup of the pasta cooking water and set aside. Drain the pasta.

Put the reserved pasta water back into the spaghetti boiling pot and place over low heat. Put the hot pasta into the pan holding the guanciale and oil and toss together over medium heat for 1 minute. Pour the spaghetti, meat, and oil into the boiling pot with the pasta water. Add the eggs, cheese, and pepper to taste and toss vigorously. Turn off the heat and continue stirring until the eggs thicken and a creamy sauce forms. 

Serve immediately.

Note: Guanciale and pancetta are available at Central Market, Revival Market, Hubble & Hudson, and other fine food stores.

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