Turn simple every day ingredients into a luscious pasta meal!

Photo by Maurijn Pach on

Carbonara is a pasta dish that includes eggs, cured pork, cheese, and black pepper. It originates from Rome, Italy and came to be in its most modern form during the mid 20th century. Carbonara is typically made with spaghetti pasta, but bucatini, fettuccine, and linguine are also used. The cured pork is usually pancetta or guanciale, but outside of Italy bacon is a common substitute. There are many theories about the name carbonara. The word carbonara is related to the word carbonaro which means “charcoal burner” in Italian. Many believe that this pasta dish was created to be a hearty meal for Italian charcoal workers.

Carbonara is near and dear to my heart. I have been making it since was 14 years old. I ask for either carbonara or steak for my birthday dinner every year. I eat it almost every time I see it on a restaurant menu. I have had carbonara with tempered eggs and poached eggs. I have eaten it with pancetta, guanciale, and bacon. I have eaten the dishes whose recipes include cream and the ones without cream. I have eaten it for dinner and I have eaten it for brunch. I cannot get enough. I hope you enjoy my recipe for carbonara and fall in love with it as I have!

Carbonara Recipe

Yields 2 main dish servings

Prep Time 5 minutes

Cook Time 15-17 minutes

Wine Pairing Suggestion: Pinot Grigio

Beer Pairing Suggestion: Lager


8 ounces spaghetti pasta

4 ounces pancetta*, diced

2 eggs, at room temperature

1/2 cup reserved pasta water

3/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese or Pecorino Romano

2 tablespoons parsley

Salt and Pepper to taste


Heat oil in a saute pan to medium heat. Add the pancetta and saute until browned, about 5 minutes.

Boil pasta according to al dente pasta directions. Reserve 1/2 cup of starchy pasta water. Drain pasta, but do not rinse. The pasta needs to retain it’s starch so sauce will adhere to it.

Crack the eggs into a small bowl and slowly dribble in the starchy water. Stir together until smooth. This will temper the eggs.

Heat up the saute pan again with the pancetta.

While the pasta is still hot quickly toss in the saute pan with the pancetta. Then stir in the egg mixture to make a sauce. Work quickly so the egg mixture will cook, but not curdle.

Toss in the Parmesan and parsley. Season with salt and pepper.

Serve hot with focaccia bread or garlic knots.

*Pancetta is not always easy to find, thus bacon can be a good substitute.

Need some green? I like to add peas to add a vegetable element to this dish.

Want more protein? Chicken slices taste good in carbonara as well.


Tag @culinary_cupcake when you upload your photo on Instagram and hashtag #culinary_cupcake


3 thoughts on “Carbonara

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