Spaghetti Carbonara is a classic Italian recipe that comes together easily any night of the week. Al dente pasta is tossed with a creamy parmesan-egg sauce and crispy pancetta. A super simple and delicious way to make dinner!

spaghetti carbonara on a plate

Spaghetti carbonara is an Italian pasta dish made with eggs, hard cheese (Parmigiano-Reggiano or Pecorino Romano), pancetta, and freshly ground black pepper. It has a creamy sauce with an egg and cheese base. In this traditional version, the eggs are mixed in with the pasta.  

IS IT SAFE TO EAT RAW EGGS IN SPAGHETTI CARBONARA SAUCE?

They’re not exactly completely raw. The eggs are mixed with the hot pasta and some of the pasta water which warms them just enough. The elderly, young children, pregnant women and those with compromised immune systems should never eat raw eggs.

WHAT IS PANCETTA?

Pancetta is made from pork belly. Even though it’s cured, pancetta is considered raw and usually needs to be cooked before eating. Pancetta is cured with salt and it’s sold sliced paper thin or cubed. Since pancetta and bacon both come from pork belly, they’re interchangeable in recipes. If you have some bacon in the fridge, you can use it in place of the pancetta in this carbonara. Guanciale is the most traditional cut of pork to use. It’s cured cheek but can be harder to find so Pancetta is a great substitute.

spinning spaghetti carbonara on a fork

WHAT TYPE OF CHEESE TO USE IN THE SAUCE?

This recipe calls for either Parmigiano Reggiano (Parmesan Cheese) or Pecorino Romano (Romano cheese), a sheep’s milk cheese. Both of these are considered a hard cheese. This dish is traditionally made with Pecorino Romano, although you’ll find that Parmesan is more commonly used in North America (it’s easier to find). Make sure to use freshly grated cheese, not the shaker kind you find on the shelf. 

CAN I USE ANY TYPE OF PASTA FOR MY SPAGHETTI CARBONARA?

Carbonara refers to the sauce, so you can use any type of pasta you want. I prefer spaghetti for this recipe, and it’s traditionally made with this type of pasta. But go ahead and use another pasta shape if that’s what you want. Even gluten free pasta will work.

HOW DOES THE SAUCE GET CREAMY AND SMOOTH?

The egg mixture cooks as it’s mixed with the pasta, giving this dish a silky texture. You want the pasta to be hot, but not so hot that the egg clumps. The best way to achieve a smooth texture is with room temperature eggs. Add a few tablespoons of reserved pasta water if the pasta seems too dry. 

DOES THIS PASTA REHEAT WELL?

Not exactly, but I’ll still eat it the next day. The sauce thickens in the fridge and loses its silky texture. Leftovers still taste fine, but I like to serve this pasta dish immediately after it comes together, while it’s still hot.

large platter of spaghetti carbonara

WHAT WINE GOES WITH SPAGHETTI CARBONARA? 

Spaghetti Carbonara is a rich pasta dish that’s best paired with crisp whites like Pinot Grigio, Chabilis, or Gavi di Gavi.

5 EASY STEPS TO MAKE SPAGHETTI CARBONARA

  • Cook the spaghetti al dente, per instructions on the back of the package. 
  • As the pasta is cooking, heat the olive oil in a pan, adding the garlic and pancetta. Cook until the pancetta is crispy. Set aside.
  • Add the eggs to a bowl and whisk. Season with salt and pepper.
  • Drain the pasta and add it to the pan with the Pancetta and mix thoroughly.
  • Slowly add the beaten eggs while stirring the spaghetti until all of the egg has been added an the pasta is nice and creamy.

 

Creamy Spaghetti Carbonara

Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Italian
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes
Servings: 4 servings
Calories: 460kcal
Author: foodnessgracious
An Italian classic, Creamy Carbonara.
Print Recipe

Ingredients

  • 8 ounces dried spaghetti
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tsp minced garlic minced
  • 6 ounces Pancetta cut into dice
  • 3 eggs, beaten
  • 1 pinch salt and black pepper
  • 1 cup Pecorino or Parmesan cheese grated

Instructions

  • Cook the spaghetti al dente, per instructions on the back of the package.
  • As the pasta is cooking, heat the olive oil in a large pan, adding the garlic and pancetta.
  • Cook until the pancetta is crispy. About 4 minutes.
  • Add the eggs to a bowl and whisk. Season with salt
  • Drain the pasta and add it to the pan with the Pancetta and mix thoroughly. 
  • Slowly add the beaten eggs while stirring the spaghetti until all of the egg has been added and the pasta is nice and creamy.
  • Divide the pasta into four bowls. Grate some extra cheese on top.Serve immediately.

Nutrition

Calories: 460kcal