Authentic pasta carbonara is easy to make and full of flavor! Featuring plenty of savory bacon, a cheesy egg sauce, and tender spaghetti, it’s a hearty weeknight meal that is sure to satisfy all pasta lovers.
What is pasta carbonara, you may ask? It’s spaghetti prepared with a special sauce and pan-fried meat. Pasta carbonara was first seen in the Rome region of Italy. No one knows the exact story behind the origination of the dish, but we do know the location of where the dish comes from. The word carbonara in Italian has links to charcoal, and many people believe that the dish was first made by coal miners. However it came to be, the popularity of the dish increased across Italy and spread throughout the world after World War II. It’s traditionally made with spaghetti, pancetta, eggs, and cheese.
Any kind of pasta can be used in this dish, as carbonara refers to the sauce itself. Many times you will see spaghetti-type pasta used to make this dish, but other pasta shapes can be used as well! Here are some ideas:
- Angel hair
- Egg noodles
No matter what type of pasta you choose, be sure to cook it al dente!
If you can’t find any pecorino romano cheese, you can replace it with:
- Parmigiano Reggiano
- Grana Padano
Can I Make This Dish If I’m Allergic To Eggs?
There are a lot of eggs in authentic pasta carbonara. Check out our recipe for eggless spaghetti carbonara if you’re allergic to eggs or simply don’t want to use them!
Does Authentic Carbonara Have Cream?
One of the defining features of this dish is the creamy sauce. Don’t be fooled: authentic carbonara pasta does not include any added cream or milk! The thick and velvety texture of the sauce comes from the eggs.
What Meat Is Traditionally Used In Authentic Pasta Carbonara?
The most authentic pasta carbonara is made with guanciale, which is an Italian cured meat. If you can’t find it in the supermarket, you can also use pancetta or pancetta affumicata. You can also simply use bacon!
Troubleshooting: Why Is My Carbonara Goopy?
If you end up with a goopy carbonara, you probably added too many many egg whites. You can fix this by adding more cheese. Make sure to add it one tablespoon at a time, as you don’t want to overdo it on the cheese either! If you do, simply add a bit of pasta water (water drained from cooked pasta) to fix it.
Storage and Reheating Instructions:
You can store any leftover authentic carbonara pasta in an airtight container in the fridge. It will keep for up to 4 days. It’s best to reheat pasta carbonara over the stove rather than in the microwave. Toss your pasta in a skillet over medium-high heat for about 5 minutes until heated through. If the pasta appears dry, add olive oil 1 teaspoon at a time until you get the consistency and texture you’re after.
If you like this recipe, you may be interested in these other delicious pasta recipes:
Watch the video below where Rachel will walk you through every step of this recipe. Sometimes it helps to have a visual, and we’ve always got you covered with our cooking show. You can find the complete collection of recipes on YouTube, Facebook Watch, or our Facebook Page, or right here on our website with their corresponding recipes.
Authentic Pasta Carbonara
- 1 pound spaghetti pasta
- 1 tablespoon salt
- 1 pound diced pancetta or diced thick cut bacon
- 4 egg yolks
- 2 whole eggs
- 1 1/2 cups grated pecorino romano cheese divided
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil and season with salt. Cook pasta according to package directions. Reserve 1 1/2 cups of the pasta water before draining.
- In a large saucepan, cook pancetta (or bacon) over medium heat until crisp, about 7 to 10 minutes. Drain excess fat, reserving just 2 tablespoons of the grease.
- In a mixing bowl, whisk together egg yolks, eggs, and 1 cup pecorino romano cheese.
- Toss drained pasta with cooked pancetta (or bacon) and reserved grease. Pour egg mixture in, along with ½ cup reserved pasta water and toss together with pasta 2 minutes. Add more of the reserved water to thin out your sauces, as necessary.
- Serve hot topped with remaining cheese, and freshly ground pepper.