It's so damn delicious and so damn easy! You'll find yourself coming back to this authentic Spaghetti Carbonara recipe many times.
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If you've never had Spaghetti Carbonara, you're in for a real treat! And if you've had it, love it, but never tried making it, then this is the recipe for you.
I mean, your whole family is going to love this. And the beauty of it is that it's so easy to make. Just five simple ingredients and you're off and running to a delicious meal packed with authentic Italian flavor, the way the dish has always been meant to be prepared.
What makes this Carbonara recipe authentic?
First, there are plenty of recipes out there for creamy spaghetti carbonara. If it's creamy, it's not authentic. The authentic style uses only egg and cheese to coat the pasta, and there isn't supposed to be a sauce. The egg is merely to bind the cheese to the pasta and meat.
Second, the authentic version uses guanciale as the meat. It's a type of Italian bacon that comes in a small slab that you simply chop up and fry to a crisp for carbonara. If you can't find guanciale, cubed pancetta or bacon will work just fine. But, here's a word of caution if you decide to substitute pancetta for guanciale: pancetta has a high salt content, so you'll want to be careful about adding salt to the dish.
Last, many recipes use parmesan cheese (Parmigiano Reggiano) instead of Pecorino Romano, which is the original cheese used in the dish. Pecorino Romano is a stronger tasting cheese, not as dry, and bit saltier than its cousin. You can't go wrong with either cheese, but if you want to go authentic, take the Romano option.
How to make Spaghetti Carbonara authentic
You're going to love how fast this delicious pasta dish comes together, only 30 minutes from start to finish and you've made the Spaghetti Carbonara authentic!
Seriously, just five primary ingredients are needed to make this dish (not counting salt and pepper to taste).
- Spaghetti - it's the traditional pasta used in this dish
- Eggs - this will bind the cheese to the pasta
- Pecorino Romano cheese - the traditional cheese for Carbonara, though parmesan is often used as a substitute
- Guanciale - as mentioned, it's the traditional protein for this dish, but for a guanciale substitute you can also use pancetta or bacon
- Garlic - use plenty!
I also like to garnish the dish with chopped Italian flat-leaf parsley for some color.
- Beat the eggs well and mix in the shredded cheese. Set aside.
2. Cube and brown the guanciale (or bacon or pancetta). Drain most of the grease, leaving about 2 tablespoons in the pan.
3. Scoot the guanciale to the side and bloom the minced garlic in the drippings for about 30 seconds.
4. Add the cooked pasta straight from the pasta water into the pan, letting it drain just a little (you want some of that pasta water in your pan to help blend in the egg and cheese mixture).
5. Mix the meat and the pasta together evenly, then all at once add the egg and cheese mixture and toss until it's distributed throughout. Use a little more pasta water if you need to, but remember, this is not a dish with a sauce as we think of it. Instead, it's slightly moist and the egg and melted cheese have stuck to the pasta and the meat.
6. Serve either individual servings or one large bowl to pass. Garnish with chopped parsley and a little more shredded cheese, and enjoy!
Authentic Spaghetti Carbonara Recipe - delicious!
More Italian recipes to love
Authentic Spaghetti Carbonara - Quick and Easy
- 1 pound spaghetti low-carb works in this recipe just fine, if you prefer
- 4 eggs beaten
- 2 cups grated Pecorino Romano cheese or substitute Parmesano Reggiano, if you prefer
- 2 cups cubed guanciale or swap out for pancetta or bacon
- 4 cloves garlic minced
- salt and pepper to taste
- 2 tablespoons flat leaf Italian parsley chopped
- Put a large pot of water on to boil for the spaghetti. Cook the spaghetti to al dente according to instructions and while you're waiting for the water to boil and the spaghetti to cook, continue with the recipe instructions.
- In a small bowl, beat the eggs to even consistency and mix in the cheese (a fork works well). Set aside.
- In a large, heavy pan over medium heat, brown the guanciale (or pancetta/bacon) until crisp, about 6-8 minutes.
- Lower the heat to low. Carefully remove all but about two tablespoons of the drippings from the pan. Scoot the guanciale to the side and add the garlic to the drippings and let it bloom for about 30 seconds.
- If the pasta isn't ready, remove the guanciale and garlic mix from the heat.
- When the pasta is ready, turn off the heat on the water and use tongs or a spaghetti lifter to remove the spaghetti from the water and into the pan with the guanciale, letting it drain back into the pasta pan just a little. Continue until all the hot pasta is transferred.
- Turn the heat on the guanciale pan to just a bit higher than the lowest setting. Use the tongs or spaghetti lifter to evenly mix the pasta and guanciale.
- Give the egg and cheese mixture a good stir and add it to the pasta mixture all at once. Toss until evenly combined throughout the spaghetti. If your spaghetti looks dry, add some of the pasta water a very small amount at a time. Remember, you're not making a sauce, just using the water to help distribute the egg and cheese and to give the pasta a slight glisten.
- Serve immediately in a large bowl to pass around the table or in individual bowls. Garnish with more grated Pecorino Romano cheese and chopped parsley, and enjoy.