Authentic Spaghetti Carbonara Recipe from Rome

Author: Veruska Anconitano, Award-Winning Food Travel Journalist, Sommelier & Outdoor LoverAuthor information
About the author
Veruska Anconitano
Veruska is a a food travel journalist with awards to her credit, such as World Best Food Travel Journalist. She holds a certification as a sommelier and she is also an ardent lover of the outdoors. Aside from this, Veruska is a Multilingual SEO and Localization Consultant and co-owns multiple websites that cater to a global audience.
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If there’s a dish we love, this is spaghetti carbonara: it’s one of our most loved Italian recipes, it’s one of the recipes we’ve grown up with, and we love it so much that it is one of the traditional Italian recipes we defend the most.

In fact, carbonara pasta is one of the most disrespected dishes all over the World, and something that makes every Italian person, especially if from Rome, mad.

Carbonara pasta dates back to not too many years ago though its origins are still unclear today. It is now copied everywhere, bastardized in every possible way, and ruined if not made in the proper way and with the proper ingredients.

There’s only one way to make carbonara, and it’s our goal to give you the authentic spaghetti carbonara recipe from Rome, a staple in our family.

How do you make carbonara pasta from scratch? Let’s start from the basic, the recipe, and then we will answer all the most frequent questions about this truly Italian dish.

Be ready because the authentic carbonara pasta doesn’t require cream, chicken, mushrooms, parsley. Shocked?

Ingredients for 2 people

  • 1 egg for each person
  • 200 grams of pasta
  • 100 grams of pork cheek or bacon
  • 50 grams of Roman pecorino cheese
  • salt
  • pepper


  1. Take the guanciale and cut it into squares, then brown it in a frying pan and turn it off when it is hardened and well roasted outside.
  2. While the pasta boils in salt water, season the eggs with salt (not much because the pillow is already tasty), a handful of pecorino cheese and a bit of black pepper mixing well. Drain the pasta al dente, pour it into the frying pan where the pillow was browned and make it absorb the seasoning by mixing it with a wooden spoon.
  3. Pour the dough into the cooking pot, add the beaten eggs and mix so that the egg does not become a kind of omelette (this operation must be done out of the stove). Add another pinch of pepper and possibly more pecorino cheese and serve.


Preparation time: 10 minutes

Cooking time: 15 minutes

Total time: 25 minutes

Spaghetti alla carbonara

Spaghetti Carbonara: Frequently Asked Questions

What pasta is used in Carbonara?

Traditionally, pasta carbonara is made with spaghetti because they hold up during cooking and blend well with the ingredients. Fettuccine, rigatoni, linguine, or bucatini are also used.

What is carbonara sauce made of?

Carbonara sauce is made with pancetta or pork cheek, egg yolks, ground black pepper, and pecorino romano cheese.

Although many people make their spaghetti carbonara with cream, the recipe does not include either this ingredient nor onion, garlic, or parsley, and of course no chicken and meat apart from the guanciale.

Do you know that for pasta amatriciana you should only use pork cheek and never bacon? For the carbonara you can use both, being careful to brown the bacon in a little oil if you choose to use this ingredient instead of the pork cheek that does not require oil at all. The final result is a nice pasta carbonara, soft, tasty, and delicious!

How do I make a creamy carbonara?

Mix the eggs with the guanciale then pour the pasta into the cooking pan of the guanciale, add the mixture of eggs and pork cheek and stir out of the stove; in this way, you will get a creamy carbonara without having to add any ingredients that it’s not in the authentic recipe, cream for first.

spaghetti carbonara recipe

How do you avoid scrambled eggs in Carbonara?

You need to use a bit of technique to avoid scrambled eggs. First of all, make sure the bottom of the pan is a little wet before you pour in the eggs then toss the spaghetti constantly when you add the eggs so to create some air. The process of adding eggs to your spaghetti should be quick, so to prevent your eggs from turning scrambled or similar to an omelette.

What can you add to Carbonara?

Nothing. You only need those 4 ingredients for your spaghetti carbonara. Every other ingredient you add will define a different recipe, not a carbonara.

Should carbonara have cream?

No, as explained above cream is not an ingredient of this Italian dish. You can use it, but it means you’re not making spaghetti carbonara.

Can you reheat pasta carbonara?

No spaghetti carbonara is one of those dishes that doesn’t reheat well. You don’t have to throw it away, but it won’t taste as it should. So we really recommend you make your spaghetti carbonara and eat them.

Where does spaghetti carbonara come from?

Let’s start with the basics: Ada Boni, one of the top experts in Roman cooking, does not talk about carbonara in his famous book dated 1930, leaving open several paths to understanding what this dish really is.

According to some, the spaghetti carbonara came to Rome and Lazio after the liberation of Rome in 1944 when the Americans introduced bacon and lyophilized eggs to Italy; an explanation that is not very convincing since the primary element of this recipe is the pork cheek and not the bacon.

But, if we want to analyze the question in depth, we must consider that the American origin of this dish would also explain the presence of cream and butter in some versions of carbonara. The soldiers, according to some reconstructions, brought condensed milk with them to make their spaghetti more creamy.

Another theory attributes the dish to the Neapolitan area, considering also the presence of a quite similar dish in the book Cucina teorico-pratica by Ippolito Cavalcanti, and the presence in the Neapolitan kitchen of dishes that are seasoned using the same identical ingredients.

Another very acclaimed theory claims instead that carbonara is derived directly from the cacio and ova from Lazio and Abruzzo regions, and that it was born thanks to the lumberjacks who carried their eggs, their pecorino cheese and pork cheek in bags to make the pasta during their migrations. The pepper was not added posthumously but was used to keep the “guanciale” and then ended up in the cooking pan, resulting in dark color. In support of this thesis also, the word “carbonara” closely resembles “carbonada”, the term to name the guanciale in Abruzzo.

The origin of the carbonara is, therefore, quite unknown and it is for this reason that its fame probably has also grown over time.

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