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Real Spaghetti Carbonara

Real Spaghetti Carbonara

by Creative Culinary on August 14, 2013

This is a post I’ve reclaimed from the archives; something I want to do regularly on Wednesdays. Archives meaning something I did so long ago that few ever saw it but me! I made this spaghetti carbonara for dinner this past week and am always amazed at how much I love this dish with such simple ingredients; it has long been a favorite of mine. I remember making it for my family when I was barely in my teens and nothing has really changed, well not much has changed at least.

I don’t think I ever had anything but Parmesan from a green can growing up; didn’t even know it existed as a real block of cheese (but then also didn’t know about butter; we had margarine, nothing else!) so that update over the years has been all that is necessary. The addition of good Parmigiano Reggiano does take it to a whole new and delicious level. Don’t be fooled by recipes that add cream; that’s someone’s version of a spaghetti dish but this my friends, this is Spaghetti Carbonara!

It’s easy and it’s SO good. Enjoy!

P.S. After sending out this post, I heard from a reader who left a sweet comment and her recipe for Carbonara. I hope you will take a look; it’s not just about the recipe but it’s a story of the Allied liberation of Rome and if you are a proud American like I am…well, it made me get a bit teary; that photo of the elderly woman kissing a GI? See if you don’t feel the same. My Dad was a fighter pilot in WWII and is still alive at 92; this so touched my heart. Thank you Adri…you have given this post so much more meaning and I thank you for that!

Spaghetti Carbonara
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Simple and delicious; this blend of spaghetti eggs and bacon works for any meal of the day! Although I'm a pill about the ingredients that make the sauce, it's pretty open to interpretation what ingredients to add. I will sometimes include either garlic or white wine even thought that is not considered 'traditional.' What is absolute? Spaghetti, eggs, pork, pasta, Parmesan and pepper!
Serves: 4-6 Servings
  • 1 pound spaghetti; angel hair, thin or regular spaghetti
  • ¼ to ½ pound pancetta or thick sliced good quality bacon
  • 4 cloves garlic, chopped (optional)
  • ¼ to ½ cup white wine (optional)
  • 2 large eggs
  • Reserved pasta water (if needed)
  • ½ cup Parmesan cheese, grated
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • Fresh parsley for garnish (optional)
  1. Cook spaghetti according to package directions. Since I used angel hair I had taken some steps prior to cooking my pasta since it cooks in 3-4 minutes. Regular spaghetti will take more like 9-10 minutes; plenty of time for you to start preparing the dish after you start your water to boil.
  2. Cut the bacon into pieces about ½ inch wide. Cook in a skillet until the bacon is just beginning to get crisp; add the chopped garlic and wine and cook for a minute or two longer. Remove from heat.
  3. Meanwhile, break the eggs into a serving bowl, season with black pepper and beat them with a whisk
  4. When your pasta has finished cooking, add the pasta and the bacon mixture to the eggs in the serving bowl and mix thoroughly; the heat from the pasta will cook the eggs; add ¼ to ½ cup of pasta water, just enough to create a sauce.
  5. Add the Parmesan cheese, mix lightly and serve. Sprinkle additional cheese on each serving, grate fresh black pepper on top.

Wine Recommendation

Barbera, Italy’s third most planted grape, is a great match for Spaghetti Carbonara. The low-tannin, high acid level of this lighter-bodied red wine can cut through the richness that the dish has and stand up to the smoky bacon flavor, without overpowering it. The 2007 Fontanafredda Barbera d’Alba Briccotondo from Italy’s Piedmont region has been raved about and can be found in many wine shops across the US.


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{ 35 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Feast on the Cheap October 10, 2013 at 1:59 pm

Such a classic and so worth pulling out from the archives!
Feast on the Cheap Most Recent Post: Vegetarian Lasagna with Spinach, Sweet Potatoes, and Fontina Cheese


2 Creative Culinary October 11, 2013 at 11:38 am

My thoughts exactly! Thanks for stopping by…Barb


3 Jen @ Savory Simple August 20, 2013 at 8:40 pm

I could eat this every day and never grow tired of it. I love carbonara.
Jen @ Savory Simple Most Recent Post: Blood Orange Mojito Sparkling Slush + a Zoku #Giveaway


4 Kiran @ August 18, 2013 at 11:57 am

So comforting!! Love carbonara!!
Kiran @ Most Recent Post: Peach Upside-Down Brown Butter Cake


5 Maureen | Orgasmic Chef August 17, 2013 at 6:15 am

My daughter loves this dish and it’s never been a favorite of mine. Maybe I’ve never made it right. I’ll give it another try. I haven’t eaten it in years. It looks wonderful.
Maureen | Orgasmic Chef Most Recent Post: Irish Brick Cake


6 Paula August 15, 2013 at 5:37 pm

This is one of Ron’s favourite dishes, he loves it with an appetizer of fresh mussels! Yours looks lovely Barb. Off to check out Adri’s recipe and story.
Paula Most Recent Post: Chocolate Button Sandwich Cookies with Amaretto Buttercream


7 Jayne August 15, 2013 at 12:05 pm

I love Carbonara! Yet I never think to make it, great recipe. Thanks for the reminder!


8 Creative Culinary August 16, 2013 at 11:44 am

It’s so easy Jayne…you must make it!


9 Melanie @ Just Some Salt and Pepper August 15, 2013 at 9:31 am

This looks so simple and delicious!
Melanie @ Just Some Salt and Pepper Most Recent Post: Chicken Breasts with Dried Cherries


10 Creative Culinary August 16, 2013 at 11:43 am

Thanks Melanie…it is both and why I love it. Nothing for dinner? Think again! :)


11 Abbe@This is How I Cook August 14, 2013 at 10:22 pm

I love carbonara. I love pasta. I love bacon and eggs. When I make this I eat a lot. This is so good!
Abbe@This is How I Cook Most Recent Post: OMG BLT


12 Creative Culinary August 15, 2013 at 9:14 am

I’m so with you Abbe…craving some more right now; think it’s great for breakfast too!


13 Kate | Food Babbles August 14, 2013 at 6:14 pm

I’m a total pasta fiend and this sounds just fantastic! I adore carbonara and I’m definitely going to give yours a try. This recipe comes at the perfect time because this evening I was just starting to plan my menu for the week ahead.
Kate | Food Babbles Most Recent Post: Toffee Brownies A La Mode Ice Cream Cake #IceCreamWeek


14 Adri August 14, 2013 at 5:47 pm

I love Carbonara – what a simple and lovely dish. It is, as the saying goes, greater than the sum of its parts.


15 john@kitchenriffs August 14, 2013 at 3:09 pm

I think bringing back old posts is a brilliant idea! When I was growing up it was also green can Parmesan, and all margarine all the time. Truly good stuff! ;-) This is pretty much how I make it too. And you’re right that if you add cream, it isn’t Spaghetti Carbonara.
john@kitchenriffs Most Recent Post: The Scorpion Cocktail


16 Creative Culinary August 15, 2013 at 9:15 am

Amazing how much we share! St. Louis, Parm, margarine and booze!


17 Aly ~ Cooking In Stilettos August 14, 2013 at 3:07 pm

I have some pancetta that needs to be used up soon – will be making this lovely for dinner :)
Aly ~ Cooking In Stilettos Most Recent Post: Spreading The Love With Biscoff Panna Cotta #BiscoffSpreadsLove


18 Creative Culinary August 15, 2013 at 9:16 am

Perfect Aby…I love it most with pancetta but that day only had bacon. Boo hoo.


19 Lizzy (Good Things) August 14, 2013 at 2:52 pm

True, true…. your recipe is just how i make mine too!
Lizzy (Good Things) Most Recent Post: Postcards and Morsels – a Winter’s walk


20 Creative Culinary August 15, 2013 at 9:16 am

It’s so simple I wonder why people muck it up with other ingredients…this is pretty basic but also pretty doggone good!


21 Simply Sweet Justice August 14, 2013 at 2:01 pm

This was one of my favorite comfort foods that my mom made, and both of you make it the same way. :) After cooking 15 pounds of bacon for the bacon takedown, I’m still not quite ready for regular bacon, so I’ll be making this soon with pancetta. I like the wine recommendation, too! :)


22 Creative Culinary August 15, 2013 at 9:17 am

I bet you do need some more time to recuperate from bacon which sounds hard to believe but I trust you! :)


23 Kitchen Butterfly August 14, 2013 at 12:49 pm

Bacon…. in carbonara is superb! And a good idea to revisit the treasures of old and share them with us. I love the simplicity of a cabonara and its a great one to ‘teach’ kids about creamy versus scrambled eggs.
Kitchen Butterfly Most Recent Post: On Pie: Baked and Dreamt of


24 Creative Culinary August 15, 2013 at 9:18 am

I have SO many of my favorites I did first…all of them just languishing in the forgotten land of early 2000’s. Guess that needs to change huh?


25 Teresa August 14, 2013 at 10:52 am

Fabulous and simple. My gramma never used the wine… not sure why. I remember her adding some stock.. and she’d add some chopped hard boiled eggs…. something my grandfather enjoyed with it.
Teresa Most Recent Post: Standing in Place, Past and Present


26 Creative Culinary August 15, 2013 at 9:18 am

I might have started with stock…but boy I sure do love it with the wine!


27 Douglas April 4, 2010 at 5:49 pm

Graci!!! I love all authentic recipes for SC with eggs and pancetta!!! More chesse!!! Thank you!!!


28 Creative Culinary April 5, 2010 at 11:56 am

You’re welcome! More cheese? Would you include more in recipe than I’ve indicated or is it just a blanket assumption that you always want more cheese? :)


29 megan February 11, 2010 at 9:25 am

Can you believe I have never had this. But I sure want some right now for breakfast. So easy, I gotta try it!


30 Creative Culinary February 12, 2010 at 3:00 pm

I must say, I’ve probably had it for breakfast! Leftovers are the best if you ask me.


31 Michelle February 10, 2010 at 7:17 pm

Another very simple favorite of mine is Spaghetti Aglio e Olio. So simple, minutes to make and it’s always so good!


32 Jamie February 3, 2010 at 4:43 pm

Gosh, this looks so tasty! I love me some bacon!


33 patsy January 28, 2010 at 6:40 am

That looks amazing! I’ve never made that dish before, but it’s on my lengthy list of dishes to make sometime this year. Can’t go wrong with any dish that includes bacon… yummmmm!


34 @nectarwine January 27, 2010 at 11:39 am

OMG – that looks sooo yummy! Where is my bookmark button…oh, there it is. On the list to try. Will let you know how it turns out. I like the simplicity but it includes my favorite things, pasta and bacon!

Josh @nectarwine


35 Creative Culinary January 31, 2010 at 5:46 pm

I know it’s a late reply BUT it is so yummy and even better? So easy. I call it bacon and eggs pasta…it’s what’s for dinner!


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