Pasta carbonara

Filed under: — Aprille @ 9:31 pm

What I was really looking for was buccatini, which are the thick spaghetti tubes, but I couldn’t find any at Prairie Table, so I got linguine instead. It was still very good. Here’s the recipe I used (it’s actually a halved version of the original, hence some slightly weird measurements). Serves two. If you’re doubling, use 2 whole eggs plus one egg yolk.

Pasta (in this case, linguine, although spaghetti would be more authentic) Carbonara


2 tsp olive oil
4 oz thickly sliced pancetta or guanciale, cut into 1/4 inch x 1 inch strips (or whatever) (SEE NOTE)
1 tablespoon salt
1/2 pound pasta
2 eggs, one of them separated
1/2 cup aged asiago or parmigiano, finely grated
1/2 cup peccorino romano (I think I actually got toscano, but it was good too), finely grated
freshly-ground black pepper and salt, to taste


1. Heat the olive oil in a pan over medium heat. When barely starting to smoke, add the pancetta or guanciale. Cook until crisp, stirring frequently. Do not drain. Set pan aside.
2. Heat 6 quarts of water in a large pot until boiling. Add salt, then add pasta. Cook according to package instructions.
3. While pasta is cooking, combine 1 egg, 1 egg yolk, and about half of an egg white (don’t get too uptight about this.  Just make your best guess). Beat well.  In a separate container, mix the two cheeses.
4. When pasta is done, reserve 1/2 cup cooking water. Reduce heat to low. Drain pasta, then return to pot.
5. Add pancetta or guanciale (including rendered fat), egg, most of the cheese, salt, and pepper. Drizzle in the reserved cooking water until it is a nice consistency. This is up to you. I prefer it drier, so I don’t add much. If you like it creamier, add more.
6. Serve immediately, sprinkled with reserved cheese.

You can make a vegetarian version, which is more or less Pasta Cacio e Pepe (though I believe to be truly authentic it would have a particular sheep’s milk cheese). It is also delicious.

NOTE:  My local source for thickly-cut pancetta recently dried up, so I’ve been using the thinly-sliced stuff I can find at the supermarket.  With the additional surface area, I’ve found it’s better to use less–closer to 2 ounces for the whole recipe, not 4 ounces.

One response to “Pasta carbonara”

  1. […] Wednesday night I am very, very tentatively planning a post-election celebration dinner of linguine carbonara.  That is about a million miles away from my whole foods diet, but you’ve gotta live 80/20, […]

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