No. 339: Spaghetti Carbonara

Spaghetti Carbonara

This lovely and simple recipe came from The NYT Cooking. I trust them to have wonderful versions of all classics, and the reader comments always seem to have helpful tips as well.

Side note: We made this in JANUARY and I'm only just now posting. Sorry!


2 large eggs, room temperature
1/3 packed cup grated pecorino Romano, plus additional for serving
1/3 packed cup grated Parmesan
Coarsely ground black pepper
1 tablespoon olive oil
3 1/2 ounces pancetta or bacon, sliced into pieces about 1/4 inch thick by 1/3 inch square
12 ounces spaghetti (about 3/4 box)

To make

Place a large pot of lightly salted water (no more than 1 tablespoon salt) over high heat, and bring to a boil.

In a mixing bowl, whisk together the eggs and pecorino and Parmesan. Season with a pinch of salt and generous black pepper.

Set the water to boil. Meanwhile, heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat, add the pork, and sauté until the fat just renders, on the edge of crispness but not hard. Remove from heat and set aside.

Add pasta to the water and boil until a bit firmer than al dente. Just before pasta is ready, reheat meat in skillet, if needed. Reserve 1 cup of pasta water, then drain pasta and add to the skillet over low heat. Stir for a minute or so.

Add the pasta and bacon with fat to a large serving bowl. Temper the egg/cheese mixture with a tablespoon of hot pasta water at a time while stirring until the mixture has become warm. Stir in the cheese/egg mixture to the pasta and bacon, adding some reserved pasta water if needed for creaminess. Serve immediately, dressing it with a bit of additional grated pecorino and pepper.

The results

Oh my goodness. We made this delicious dish in honor of Ms. Marta's birthday and it was heaven.

I was incredibly nervous about scrambling the egg instead of turning it into a creamy sauce, but a bit of tempering and patience ensured it all came together perfectly.

The only thing I would have changed was adding more bacon than the recipe calls for. If you love pork and want this to be a meaty spaghetti, be warned.

But otherwise, it was cheesy, creamy and delightful. I wish I had photos for you but we ate it all right away.

Make this! Your family will say thank you.

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Amelia McCormick

Kansas girl transplanted to Asheville, North Carolina. Smiler, lover of great food and wine, facilitator, runner, storyteller, wife, optimist, and mother of sweet twins:)

Asheville, North Carolina