Authentic Carbonara

Apparently the carbonara recipe I’ve been using all my life is blasphemous.  Yeah, yeah, my old recipe included cream, among other “wrong” ingredients.  So I decided to follow along with Jamie Oliver and try his more classic version:

I didn’t manage to get quite as authentic as I wanted.  My grocery store did not carry guanciale (cured pig cheek), so I had to go with regular bacon, as fatty as I could find.  I would have substituted pancetta, but what was available was very lean and as rendered fat is a main ingredient, I went with the bacon.  My grocery store also did not carry pecorino romano cheese, so I had to stick with fresh parmesan.  Other than that, I followed his recipe and method fairly closely.  The result was a simple, delicious pasta, slick and creamy without any cream!carbanara03

I’m going to leave rough instructions, basically as a reminder for myself of what I did.


1/2 to 1 pound spaghetti

1/4 pound bacon, pancetta or guanciale, chopped

1 egg + 2 egg yolks

grated parmesan or pecorino romano cheese

fresh ground pepper

one or two garlic cloves, mashed

hot pasta water


1. Boil water and cook spaghetti.

2. In frying pan, cook chopped bacon with garlic.  Add pepper to taste.

2. When bacon is cooked and fat is rendered, remove garlic and add dripping pasta to the frying pan.  Stir to coat.  Add a few more spoonfuls of hot water and stir.

3.  Mix about a tablespoon of grated parmesan with eggs and pour over hot pasta.  Stir to coat.  Add another spoonful or two of hot water if more sauce is needed and toss.

4. Sprinkle with a little more cracked pepper and parmesan.  Done!