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How To Make A Carbonara Sauce

Traditional Spaghetti Carbonara

A lot of people think that to make a Carbonara sauce, you need to create a sauce that is thick, white and creamy in consistency. But actually, a traditional carbonara recipe is made with just eggs, pepper and parmesan cheese and is incredibly easy to master. Leave the cream and milk out of your carbonara if you want a more authentic flavour and you will definitely taste the difference once you try the traditional way of making this classic Italian dish. 


The origins of this classic Italian dish

Of course, we all know Spaghetti Carbonara is a recipe that originates from Italy, but did you know it dates as far back as the 1830s. There are many stories relating to the origins of the traditional Carbonara recipe. The Italian term for coalmen or charcoal makers is Carbonari and some say that it was brought by Italian coal men to the Romans when selling their charcoal. Others say that the dish was invented by woodcutters in the Apennine mountains, who would cook the dish over charcoal fires. Another story is that coal workers would regularly eat the meal and that the black pepper within the dish resembled the charcoal flakes. There is also the theory that food shortages in Rome in the 1940s led to rations of just powered egg, bacon and dried pasta, which was combined to create this now popular dish. 


What you need to create a traditional carbonara recipe (serves 4)

  • 400 gram of Spaghetti
  • 50 gram of Pancetta
  • 4 Eggs
  • 100 gram of Parmesan Cheese
  • 1 Tbsp Olive Oil
  • Ground Black Pepper


How to make an authentic carbonara dish 

  1. Start by cooking your spaghetti in a large pan of boiling water. Add salt and cook until al dente. This should take around 7 minutes. 
  2. While the spaghetti is cooking, in a separate bowl, crack and whisk the eggs and mix in the parmesan cheese and some ground black pepper. 
  3. In another pan, fry the pancetta in the olive oil until crispy. 
  4. Once the spaghetti is cooked, drain the water and add to the frying pan and mix with the pancetta and olive oil. 
  5. Take the pan off the heat and pour in the egg mixture and stir until the pasta is coated in the egg. Make sure you have turned the heat off or you have taken the pan off the hob before adding the egg. The heat from the spaghetti is enough to cook the eggs through. If you leave the pan on the hob you will end up with scrambled eggs. 
  6. Serve and enjoy!

It may sound strange to take the pan off the heat while adding the eggs, but trust us on this. The heat from the spaghetti will cook the egg mixture. Your spaghetti should have a shiny/silky appearance, as opposed to a thick and creamy white sauce drowning the spaghetti. The end result is an authentic, more flavoursome meal. The salty taste from the bacon is a lot more noticeable and the lack of cream means the parmesan cheese makes more of an impact and packs a lot more flavour in this simplistic dish. 

For even better results, use fresh spaghetti rather than dried. You could also use pork cheek in place of pancetta and pecorino cheese instead of parmesan. 

Utensils Needed

In need of some cookware? We have exactly what you need to create this authentic carbonara recipe. 

Casserole Dish


Stainless Steel Colander


Stainless Steel Whisk


Frying Pan