Spaghetti Carbonara

Spaghetti Carbonara

Deliciously decadent! And I don’t need to be reminded I ate another deliciously decadent Amalfi coast spaghetti recipe, buttery Spaghetti with Fried Calamari, last week. But never mind; I crave classic Italian comfort foods when the weather is cruddy.

Guiliano Bugialli, cookbook author and veritable master of Italian cuisine, specifically instructs not to use bacon when preparing this recipe. “Pancetta,” he writes in his carbonara recipe headnote, “of course, is not bacon, because it is not smoked; do not substitute bacon.”

This man is a culinary rock star, albeit an aged rock star — Guiliano Bugialli, to me, is the Mick Jagger of classic Italian cuisine. I’m a groupie and blindly follow his advice, so always use pancetta in carbonaras. But I’ll be the first to admit: a good smoked bacon is simply divine substituted for the pancetta in the following recipe.

Recipe adapted from Guiliano Bugialli’s “Spaghetti alla Carbonara” (The Fine Art of Italian Cooking, 1977)

Recipe: Spaghetti Carbonara


  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 8 ounces pancetta, cut into small pieces
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 2 large eggs, whisked
  • 1 cup grated Parmigianno Reggiano plus additional for grating*
  • 1 pound spaghetti


  1. In a heavy-bottomed sauté pan over low heat, heat the olive oil and sauté the pancetta, garlic and red pepper flakes. Cook slowly, stirring occasionally, until most of the fat is rendered from the pancetta and it is lightly browned, about 15 minutes.
  2. While pancetta is cooking, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook the spaghetti according to package directions, until it is tender but firm.
  3. Warm a large bowl by filling it with hot water; drain water, then whisk the egg and cheese together in heated bowl. After spaghetti has just been drained, immediately toss hot spaghetti with the egg and cheese mixture, pancetta and any fat remaining in the sauté pan.
  4. Season with kosher salt and freshly ground pepper. Pass additional Parmesan and the pepper grinder.

*Pecorino Romano may be used as a substitution, or in addition to, the Parmesan.

Time: 30 minutes

Number of servings (yield): 4

Copyright © Peggy Lampman’s dinnerFeed.

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