Simple Carbonara Recipe That Won’t Make Italians Flip Out

written by Katy Fentress 15th July 2019

Carbonara Italians Won’t Flip Out About

For anyone following the regularly occurring controversy that rages around this classic Roman dish, it’s not hard to reach the conclusion that there must be something esoteric or extremely complicated involved in the making of it. Unfortunately, a glance through the Italian history annals does little to dispel this confusion. If, for example, we decide to consult the “Talismano della Felicità”, which is basically the holy bible of traditional Italian cooking, we find that the two recipes for Penne Alla Carbonara contained within it have little resemblance to the recipe that modern Romans broadly agree on.

The crux of the controversy usually boils down to a question of cream. For decades chefs and aspiring cooks from around the world have put cream in the list of ingredients alongside other ingredients like onions and peas. All of this makes Italians, but especially Romans, go completely spare. Just the mention of putting cream into a Carbonara can cause arguments, discord and the occasional family rift.

Here then is a super simple Carbonara recipe that even the most judgemental Italian will not be able to fault. Remember Italian food isn’t about perfect quantities and timings, so much of it is intuitive, so once you get the hang of this best you don’t rely on a recipe anymore. The only really important thing to remember is: DON’T SCRAMBLE THE EGGS!


Italian Carbonara Recipe

Serves: 4 Prep Time:


500gr Penna/Rigatoni Pasta

Two whole eggs

Two egg yolks

250gr Chopped Italian Guanciale (this is cured Italian pig’s jowl bacon and can be substituted with any Italian pancetta or regular streaky bacon at a push)

1/2 cup of grated Parmesan cheese

Pepper to taste

Salt, one small handful


  1. Put a generous amount of water on to boil.
  2. Start frying up your bacon, your aim is to render the fat as much as possible and make the bacon crispy.
  3. In a bowl whisk your eggs and add about two thirds of the Parmesan and some pepper.
  4. When the bacon is ready set the pan aside and leave to cool.
  5. When the water is boiling throw in salt, wait for it to boil again and throw in pasta.
  6. After pasta has been boiling for about five minutes, scoop out a ladle of water and add it to the egg mix, stirring well.
  7. Two minutes before your pasta is ready (you figure this out by biting into it, it should be soft but have a good crunch to it), pour your egg mixture into a large frying pan and place on top of the pot of boiling water.
  8. Stir vigorously… the worst thing that can happen is if the eggs start to scramble. If you see a white layer forming at the bottom of the pan, remove immediately from the heat.
  9. Add another quarter ladle of water
  10. Drain pasta (reserve one half ladle of water just in case)
  11. Add to pasta and mix well, pouring in the reserved water if it looks too thick.
  12. Grind fresh pepper on and sprinkle remaining Parmesan individually onto the plates.


And voila! It literally couldn’t be any easier than that.


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