Spaghetti Carbonara reminds me of my Nonno (grandpa). He was born in Italy, and that was his favorite pasta dish. Like most Italians, he didn’t like his pasta drowned in sauce, so this creamy smooth pasta with bacon (he used to make it with Pancetta) was right up his alley.
His best pasta Carbonara recipe had a bit of heat to it. He added red chili flakes which made it so much better.
I remember as a kid, I wanted to cut my pasta, and he taught me how to twist it perfectly in my fork so as not to make each forkful too big for my mouth.
What Is Carbonara?
Carbonara is a pasta dish from Rome, Italy, made with bacon, guanciale or pancetta (cured pork), grated cheese such as Pecorino Romano, Parmigiano Reggiano, Grana Padano, or any hard Italian cheese.
Beaten uncooked eggs are mixed with the grated cheese and added to the still boiling pasta. They cook and form a creamy sauce as you combine the eggs and cheese with the hot pasta. The dish is finished with freshly chopped parsley.
How To Make Spaghetti Carbonara?
- In a large skillet over medium-high heat, cook the bacon until crispy and brown. Set aside on a plate lined with a paper towel to absorb excess fat and chop. Do not discard the fat left in the skillet.
- In a small bowl, mix the beaten eggs with the Parmesan cheese and the cayenne pepper.
- Cook the pasta in a large pot with boiling water and 2 tablespoons of sea salt, according to package instructions, or until al dente (with a bit of a bite still to it). Reserve one cup of the cooking water before draining the pasta.
- Sautee the minced garlic in the reserved bacon fat for about a minute. Add the drained hot pasta to the skillet and toss to combine.
- Remove the skillet from the heat, mix in the egg/cheese mixture, and enough pasta cooking water to form a very light “sauce” (1/2 cup approximately). Serve while hot.
- Do not forget to save some of the pasta water. Add a tablespoon to the pasta after adding the egg/cheese mixture until it forms a creamy sauce.
- Do not overcook the bacon. It needs to be crispy but not burnt. Keep an eye on it because it can burn quickly.
- Remember to take the skillet off the heat before adding the egg/cheese mixture. You need the eggs to stick to the pasta and cook, but not curdle.
- 1 lb (16 oz) spaghetti
- 2 tablespoons of coarse sea salt
- 3 whole eggs
- 1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
- 10 slices of bacon
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- ½ teaspoon red chili flakes or ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
- Freshly ground pepper
- 3 tablespoons chopped fresh garlic
- In a large skillet, cook bacon strips in batches until crispy. Place them on a plate lined with a paper towel to absorb the excess fat and chop it. Do not discard the oil in the skillet.
- In a small bowl, whisk together the eggs and the Parmesan cheese and cayenne pepper until smooth.
- Cook spaghetti according to package instructions in a pot with boiling water and the salt, until al dente. Reserve one cup of the pasta cooking water and drain. Heat the fat left in the skillet and cook the minced garlic for about a minute.
- Add the drained pasta to the skillet with the sauteed garlic and toss to cover.
- Remove from heat and add the egg/Parmesan mixture. Mix thoroughly and quickly.
- Add a bit of the pasta water until the “sauce” reaches the desired consistency, the chopped bacon and parsley, mix thoroughly, and serve while hot.