Real Spaghetti Carbonara

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.


  1. says

    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

    • Creative Culinary says

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

  2. says

    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! :)

    • Creative Culinary says

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

    • Creative Culinary says

      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?

  3. says

    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!

  4. says

    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


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