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Spaghetti Carbonara (the REAL Italian Way!)

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Discard your pack of cream and learn how to make REAL Italian spaghetti carbonara in 20 MINUTES! This recipe is loaded with pecorino and parmesan and features some super crispy pancetta!

spaghetti carbonara Italian recipe with eggs, parmesan and pancetta

Finally, here it is! My spaghetti carbonara as per INSTRUCTIONS OF A NATIVE ITALIAN aka my husband!

You may or may not be aware of it but quite a lot of non-Italian people use cream as a base for their carbonara sauce. In fact, I used to be part of them… and this is probably why I used to not be a fan of this type of pasta. Until I moved to Australia, met quite a bunch of native Italians including Alex. My Italian friends back at the time were horrified when they heard I used cream to make carbonara!

Since then I have had a great Italian cuisine teacher and totally discarded my previous inauthentic recipe to make space for this new recipe ticking the boxes of a REAL ITALIAN CARBONARA!

Which ingredients do I need to make Spaghetti carbonara?

  • spaghetti – my favorite pasta for carbonara is regular spaghetti but feel free to use any pasta of your choice.
  • pancetta – I normally use pancetta when making carbonara, it is also widely used in Italy. However note that the very traditional recipe uses guanciale, which is similar to pancetta but has much more fat. Alternatively, if you cannot find neither pancetta nor guanciale in stores or butchers around you, you can use bacon strips. But don’t tell Italians! As I understood, for making carbonara, bacon is considered a low-end option.
  • eggs – I normally use a combination of full eggs and yolks only. Be sure to buy FRESH eggs!
  • pecorino – the authentic Italian carbonara uses pecorino. If you prefer you could use pecorino only.
  • parmesan – parmesan is my favorite cheese of all, so I like to mix parmesan with pecorino when making carbonara. This is also quite common in Italy. If you do not have any pecorino, you could also use parmesan only.
  • pepper

NOTE: traditional carbonara does not contain any cream, garlic or onion!

Is it safe to use raw eggs to make Carbonara?

Yes, having raw eggs is totally safe. However, make sure that you use fresh new eggs. Even when I have leftover eggs that are still perfectly fine to consume and within the consumption date, I still buy a new pack of eggs whenever I make carbonara just to make sure they are 100% fresh.

Can I use different types of pasta?

Yes, you can have any type of pasta with carbonara sauce. Simply adjust the cooking time according to the type of pasta you are using. As per my personal preference, I like to use spaghetti or linguine.

Can I eat spaghetti carbonara leftover the next day?

Spaghetti carbonara is the type of dish you must eat when it’s just been cooked. One hour later, the sauce already changes consistency and becomes thicker and more sticky. Hence, best consumed straight away. However if leftover there is, do not waste them. They are still fine to be reheated and eaten the next day. But you will lose that creamy consistency. After the next day, do not consume them since the eggs have not been cooked.

How to prepare Spaghetti Carbonara?

  1. Boil a pot of water to cook pasta.
  1. In the meantime, chop the pancetta in dice or in short strips as you prefer.
  1. In a pan, add pancetta and cook on medium-high heat until the pancetta slightly gets golden brown. Then set aside.
  1. In a bowl, combine 2 full eggs, 3 egg yolks, pecorino, parmesan and pepper. Mix all ingredients together.
  1. Once the water is boiling, add the spaghetti and cook them as per package instructions – I cook mine for 11 minutes to get them al dente however depending on the type of pasta, refer to your package instructions for the cooking time.
  2. When the pasta is cooking, about halfway through, remove 3 tbsp cooking starchy water and set it aside to cool down a little. Once a little cooler, add the starchy water to the egg/cheese and mix together to liquefy the egg mixture further.
  1. Once the pasta is cooked, drain them.
  2. Add the pancetta together with pasta. Then pour the egg mixture on top.
  3. Mix well.
  4. Sprinkle extra parmesan (or pecorino) and pepper on top to garnish.

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spaghetti carbonara Italian recipe with eggs, parmesan and pancetta

Spaghetti Carbonara

Discard your pack of cream and learn how to make REAL Italian spaghetti carbonara in 20 MINUTES! This recipe is loaded with pecorino and parmesan and features some super crispy pancetta!
5 from 9 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Appetizer, Main Course
Cuisine: Italian
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 11 minutes
Total Time: 21 minutes
Servings: 4
Calories per serving: 701kcal
Author: Emma Choi

Ingredients

  • 320 g spaghetti
  • 250 g pancetta, chopped | or guanciale or bacon (Note 1)
  • 2 full eggs | medium-sized
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 35 g pecorino (Note 2)
  • 35 g parmesan
  • pepper
  • salt

Instructions

  • Boil a pot of water with a pinch of salt to cook pasta.
  • In the meantime, chop the pancetta in dice or in short strips as you prefer.
  • In a pan, add pancetta and cook on medium-high heat until the pancetta slightly gets golden brown. Then set aside.
  • In a bowl, combine 2 full eggs, 3 egg yolks, pecorino, parmesan and pepper. Mix all ingredients together.
  • Once the water is boiling, add the spaghetti and cook them as per package instructions – I cook mine for 11 minutes to get them al dente however depending on the type of pasta, refer to your package instructions for the cooking time.
  • When pasta is cooking, about halfway through, remove 3 tbsp cooking starchy water and set it aside to cool down a little. Once a little cooler, add the starchy water to the egg/cheese and mix together to liquefy the egg mixture further.
  • Once the pasta is cooked, drain them.
  • Add the pancetta together with pasta. Then pour the egg mixture on top.
  • Turn the fire back on for 4-5 seconds while stirring pasta vigorously. This will slightly thicken the egg mixture and make your sauce creamy. Your sauce should be lump-free, you should NOT see any egg turning into omelet bits. If so, either you cooked it a few seconds too much, or you did not stir the pasta vigorously enough.
  • Sprinkle extra parmesan (or pecorino) and pepper on top to garnish.

Notes

1. The traditional carbonara uses guanciale however pancetta is also widely used to make carbonara. It is my favorite as it is a little less fat than guanciale. Alternatively, you can use bacon strips.
2. pecorino/parmesan: I like to use a mix of both but you could also use parmesan only or pecorino only.
3. Quantity: these quantities cater to 4 persons if having as an appetizer and 2 persons if main course.

Video

Nutrition

Serving: 1 servingCalories: 701kcalCarbohydrates: 62gProtein: 29gFat: 36gSaturated Fat: 13gPolyunsaturated Fat: 6gMonounsaturated Fat: 15gTrans Fat: 0.1gCholesterol: 284mgSodium: 701mgPotassium: 363mgFiber: 3gSugar: 2gVitamin A: 441IUCalcium: 246mgIron: 2mg
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