Pasta, Recipes

Spaghetti Carbonara

Spaghetti Carbonara

the secret to get it creamy without cream”

When talking about Carbonara first thing you think of is a plate of creamy, shiny spaghetti, with crispy notes of pork cheek (guanciale) and a sprinkling of freshly ground pepper! Even if needs few ingredients and it’s one of the fastest recipes, it hides many pitfalls. Especially about consistence (is it true?), eggs and cheese may become a bad surprise! Temperature is one of the ingredients, that is often replaced with cream…! Yes, the right temperature to sauté the pasta is essential to get a creamy and shiny Spaghetti Carbonara that, of course, is to be served immediately!
As well as for the ingredients, Pecorino Romano cheese and a good quality of pork cheek (guanciale), which are taste-enhancing ingredients to the recipe!

How important are the ingredients?

Pecorino Romano and/or Parmigiano Cheese?

Even if Parmigiano cheese is tasty (made with cow milk) it’s nothing compared to the salty chili taste of Pecorino Romano.
Pecorino Romano it’s the perfect ingredient to exalt taste, giving character to recipes such as Pesto Genovese and Spaghetti Cacio & Pepe or Amatriciana… and an endless of others recipes, without which, they would not be the same. Pecorino Romano is made with sheep milk and it’s produced just in three Italian regions: Lazio, Sardinia and Tuscany.

Tips if it’s hard to find Pecorino Romano, buy seasoned (hard and dry) and very tasty cheese (salty), sheep cheese.

Pancetta, Guanciale (cheek) or Bacon??

All of them are made from the same animal but they are different in preparation and taste: Pancetta is from the belly (pancia means belly), generally is more or less tender, depends on the curing time, and can be rolled or flat, smoked or sweet, seasoned with different flavors or not. It has white and red stripes (fat and lean) in approximately the same proportion. It is seasoned and there is no cooking in its preparation.

Bacon instead, is cooked in the oven after a short seasoning, and then boiled and at last step, smoked. It’s made from belly or leg, is firmer and more intense in taste.

Then Guanciale, which is the king in Rome for the Spaghetti Amatriciana and Carbonara, (but as well used for other recipes, all over Italy). It is made from the cheek; has a triangular shape for the cut; is compact and has a white bright color of fat, (which is the largest composition) and few red lines of meat. Very tasty, more caloric.

 Needless to say, the latter is the perfect one…

Tips we know, is not always easy to find good Italian ingredients out of Europe (sometimes even not easy out of Italy!), so we suggest you to choose something not smoked and with a high good quality of fat content.

Spaghetti, how to choose the right ones?

As you can imagine, in Italy we are crazy for pasta in general. Depending on the sauce, we choose the one which for us is perfect to go with it. But everyone has a different opinion: it depends on the family tradition, the region of origin … for someone long pasta is spaghetti, thin or thicker, but someone prefer linguine or bucatini, then the short one, with or without hole, with wrinkle or smooth? And what about brand? There are so many…

Tips to be practical let’s say that a good quality of pasta looks rough, dark yellow and has a long cooking time (between two types of spaghetti, buy the one which needs longer cooking time: e.g. we can consider as a good quality a pasta when a cooking point is between 12/14 min).

Spaghetti Carbonara

When talking about Carbonara first thing youthink of is a plate of creamy, shiny spaghetti, with crispy notes of pork cheek(guanciale) and a sprinkling of freshly ground pepper!
Prep Time 10 mins
Total Time 25 mins
Course Main Course
Cuisine Italian
Servings 4


  • 400 gr spaghetti
  • 4 fresh organic yolks
  • 6 tbsp grated Pecorino Romano
  • 2 tbsp grated Parmigiano Cheese
  • 250 gr guanciale
  • black pepper


  • Bringa large pot of water, when it is about to boil add a fistful of salt: the watermust be as salty as the sea. Don’t worry, the pasta will not absorb the entirequantity of salt and will be correctly salted. Then add spaghetti.
  • While the pasta is cooking, in a skillet put to goldenthe guanciale, previously cut in thin slices and then pieces, until is crispand the fat is melted. Drain the guanciale and keep aside. Keep the pan withthe fat, you will need it later!
  • Pourthe yolks in a bowl, add the two type of cheese and generous ground blackpepper, mix well to get a thick mixture. Keep aside.
  • When thepasta is half way of the cooking time, put the skillet with the cheek’s fat overmedium heat and when it is hot add a half ladle of the pasta cooking water (ifyou are preparing pasta for two people, a few tablespoons will be enough).Leave to simmer for few moments. then transfer the pasta directly in the pan, (rollup the spaghetti with the appropriate tool or with a large fork). Add morepasta cooking water and stir, like when you make risotto, to get the starchfrom the pasta, in few minutes water will become cloudy and will begin to coatthe pasta also thanks to the fat of the cheek. Don't leave completely evaporatethe water, doesn't have to be dry!
  • Whenpasta is al dente, take off the pan from the fire and wait more or less 10seconds (temperature must to be cooler before adding the yolk and cheesesmixture) add the yolk and cheeses, some water if needed, and stirenergetically to reach a creamy sauce. Add the crispy cheek, stir and serveimmediately.
Keyword guanciale, pecorino
Other suggestions to some people, Carbonara tastes too much of egg! After two forkfuls of spaghetti, they are already fed up with the flavor. You can try adding a little acidity to the sauce by blending the fat of the cheek with a little red wine, let’s say a little less than half a glass (after you have removed the crispy pieces, of course!). Let the alcohol evaporate and then proceed as written in the recipe, with step 3.

Did you try this recipe?

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