Pasta alla Carbonara


Preparation info

  • Difficulty


  • Feeds


Appears in

Old Food

Old Food

By Jill Dupleix

Published 1998

  • About

This has become almost as much of a cliché as spag bol, and for the same damn fine reason: It’s a great dish. Named for the coal-burners (i carbonari) of Rome, the amount of black pepper is said to be reminiscent of a typical charcoal-carrier’s meal - the little black bits presumably having fallen into the dish. I add a little cream to the original, but you probably shouldn’t.


  • 4 egg yolks
  • 2 tbsp thickened (whipping) cream
  • 2 tbsp grated Parmigiano
  • sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 500 g (1 lb) spaghetti or tagliatelle
  • 4 thin slices of bacon, diced


Beat egg yolks in a bowl. Beat in the cream, cheese, salt, and lots of black pepper, and set aside.

Cook pasta in plenty of boiling, salted water until al dente. Fry bacon in a non-stick pan until crisp. Drain off a little of the bacon fat if you like. Drain pasta and toss immediately with the bacon, then combine with the egg mixture while it is still very hot. Toss quickly, to allow the heat of the spaghetti to cook the egg into a creamy cheese sauce. Serve on warm plates and rush to the table.