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Spaghetti Carbonara

A bowl filled with spaghetti carbonara, topped with freshly grated Parmesan.
Spaghetti carbonara, a pasta and sauce rich with Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese and pancetta or bacon, is a quick and easy dinner that takes just 25 minutes from stove to table. Click to read about the questionable origins of spaghetti carbonara.
David Leite

Prep 10 mins
Cook 15 mins
Total 25 mins
Entrees
Italian
4 servings
744 kcal

Ingredients 

  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 6 ounces thickly sliced guanciale or pancetta cut into 1/4-inch (6-mm) pieces
  • 2 tablespoons kosher salt
  • 1 pound spaghetti
  • 3 large eggs plus 1 large egg yolk well beaten
  • 3/4 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano combined with 1/4 cup grated pecorino Romano
  • Freshly ground black pepper

Directions 

  • Grab your largest skillet and place it over medium heat. Pour the olive oil into the skillet and wait until the oil ripples. 
  • Toss in the guanciale (or pancetta or bacon, if using) and cook, stirring often, until crisp. Slide the skillet off the heat.
  • Meanwhile, bring 6 quarts of water to a boil in a large pot. Toss in the salt and the spaghetti and boil, stirring to keep the strands from sticking to one another, until al dente. 
  • Carefully scoop out 3/4 cup of the cooking pasta water and reserve it. Then drain the spaghetti in a colander, shaking it to release any excess liquid.
  • Working quickly, dump the hot drained spaghetti into the skillet with the pancetta. Dribble a bit of the reserved cooking water into the beaten eggs and whisk quickly. This prevents the eggs from cooking.
  • Immediately add the eggs and half the cheese to the skillet of spaghetti and toss well. Add just enough of the reserved pasta water to make the mixture lusciously creamy. 

    TESTER TIP: Add the pasta water incrementally, tossing all the while you're dribbling in the water, as everything magically coalesces into a velvety sauce that cloaks each strand.

  • Sprinkle generously with pepper and serve at once. Pass the remaining cheese at the table.