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Spaghetti alla Carbonara

Scott Phillips

Servings: 2

If you’d like to make this pasta for four people, double the recipe, but transfer the pasta back into the pot used for cooking it and then toss it with the eggs and cheese.


  • Kosher salt
  • 1 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 4 oz. fatty pancetta or guanciale, sliced 1/4 inch thick and cut into 1-1/2 x 1/2-inch rectangles
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup diced red onion
  • 2 large eggs, chilled
  • 1/2 lb. imported dried spaghetti (I like Setaro brand; avaiable online)
  • 1/2 cup lightly packed, freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano

Nutritional Information

  • Calories (kcal) : 810
  • Fat Calories (kcal): 310
  • Fat (g): 34
  • Saturated Fat (g): 10
  • Polyunsaturated Fat (g): 4.5
  • Monounsaturated Fat (g): 15
  • Cholesterol (mg): 255
  • Sodium (mg): 1530
  • Carbohydrates (g): 89
  • Fiber (g): 6
  • Protein (g): 34


  • Bring a large pot of well-salted water to a boil over high heat.

    In a 10-inch skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the pancetta or guanciale and 1/2 tsp. pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, until golden and beginning to crisp, about 5 minutes. (If the meat is browning too quickly, reduce the heat to medium low.) Add the onion and continue to cook until it’s soft and golden and the meat is crisp, about 5 minutes more.

    Remove the pan from the heat and carefully spoon off all but about 2 Tbs. of the fat. Add 1 Tbs. water to the pan and scrape any brown bits from the bottom.

    Beat the eggs in a small bowl until smooth and set aside.

  • Cook the spaghetti in the boiling water according to package directions until it’s just shy of al dente. Reserve 1/4 cup of the cooking water and drain the spaghetti. Transfer the spaghetti to the skillet, set it over medium heat, and toss with tongs to coat the spaghetti with the fat and finish cooking to al dente, about 1 minute. If the pasta is too dry or starts to stick to the bottom of the pan, add 1 or 2 tsp. of the pasta water. You want the bottom of the pan to be just barely wet. If the pan is too dry, the eggs will scramble when you add them.

  • Remove the skillet from the heat and pour the eggs over the pasta, tossing quickly and continuously until the eggs thicken and turn to the consistency of a thin custard, 30 seconds to 1 minute. (Tossing constantly is important, as it prevents the eggs from scrambling.)
  • The sauce should be smooth and creamy, and it should cling to the pasta. Add a little more pasta water if necessary to loosen the sauce. Stir in the Parmigiano and season to taste with salt and pepper (you may not need additional salt, as both guanciale and pancetta can be very salty). Serve immediately.


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Reviews (15 reviews)

  • skc921 | 03/27/2016

    Someone told me the secret to Spaghetti Carbonara is to just use the egg yolks, not the white- the egg solids that can form if you don't do it right are the whites, and they don't help the overall texture.So I used only egg yolks, and used bacon. In addition, I added a lot of black pepper.The instructions in the recipe are quite helpful. I doubled the recipe, and tossed everything in the large pot instead of a skillet, as recommended.The other secret is using the reserved pasta water. I think it's good to do with almost any pasta dish to kind of pull everything together, but here it's a necessity.

  • maraarte | 01/16/2013

    Sorry to disagree with all the other good reviews of this recipe, but I did not like it at all. It was lacking in flavor and I did not like the consistency of the sauce, even though I used fine quality ingredients, and followed the instructions as written. It was only slightly better after cooking the pasta with the sauce a little more so that the egg was cooked more. Have had great results with many other recipes from Fine Cooking, but not with this one.

  • marcella_from_italy | 09/18/2012

    very good explanation of how to toss pasta! But onions in carbonara is just NOT authentic, I'm afraid. And Pecorino cheese should be used instead of Parmigiano.Also, that's quite a lot of pasta for just two eggs, however large. For me it's 1 egg/person/80 grams pasta (1/2 lb as stated here amounts roughly to 225 grams). This ratio of pasta to eggs gives you a perfectly creamy sauce and you can also cut on the oil (pancetta/guanciale gives off enough fat already on its own).Just my two humble, but very Italian, cents :)

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