Recipe: Pasta alla Carbonara

in Rome, Italy

In my previous blog post on how you can make the most of your time when stuck at home, I forgot to add that one of the options would be to cook a nice traditional pasta alla carbonara. Note the presence of the word traditional, as my people - the French - took the liberty of re-interpreting it in a more creative way by adding cream in (and making the Italians scream).

The carbonara is a typical Roman dish, which alongside the cacio e pepe and amatriciana may well be one of my favourite pasta recipes of all times. When in Rome, one restaurant, the trattoria Da Enzo in the Trastevere neighbourhood (Via dei Vascellari 29) if you want to live a great life experience. In the meantime, you can replicate the recipe in your own kitchen :)


Here is what you need (the portions are for two people): 

  • 250 g of spaghetti or rigatoni 
  • 30 g of pecorino romano cheese
  • 2 yolks 
  • 70 g of guanciale meat
  • salt and pepper

Now, I know that the cheese or meat might be difficult to find in your local supermarket if you don’t live in Italy but strive to find these exact ingredients (e.g. pancetta is not the same as guanciale, grana padano is different from the roman pecorino). The secret is to only use the eggs yolks without the whites, and not add any additional ingredient (no cream or onion).



Put some water to boil and pour the pasta in a saucepan. I personally prefer rigatoni to spaghetti for this recipe, but you do you. Keep in mind how long the pasta will cook for, as it should be ready at the same time as the guanciale. (My favourite is Rummo’s rigatoni, which cook 13-14 minutes al dente).


Cut the guanciale in small lardons and start cooking them in a pan on a low heat. No need to add oil or butter to cook it in; it will free its own fat as it gets crunchy (around 7-8 minutes).


In the meantime, mix the yolks with the pecorino cheese in a bowl. Then, add up to 40 g of water (I would recommend taking the water from the saucepan in which your pasta is cooking). It should now have a creamy consistency – add salt and pepper.


Once the pasta is cooked, drain it and toss it back into the warm saucepan (but out of the heat). Add the guanciale in (and its fat, important. Sorry not sorry for your diet) and mix it to the pasta. Then, add in the egg-based preparation into the saucepan so that it mixes up nicely with the rest. 


Serve your pasta onto your plate and add – if you like it – a bit of parmesan cheese and extra pepper. Now close your eyes, imagine a warm summer evening breeze and picture the Colosseum in the background. I think you’re practically in paradise.

Buon appetito :)

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bonjour white