spaghetti alla carbonara

4    |   
Prep Time:
10 minutes    |   
Cook Time:
15 minutes

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spaghetti alla carbonara

Aaaah, carbonara. Is there any better comfort food? It is, after all, bacon and eggs with spaghetti. In Italy, they use guanciale, but I actually prefer American bacon (they don’t believe in onion, though, and I do). I’ve been fiddling around with this recipe for years; lately I’ve found that extra egg yolks mixed in makes a huge difference. Use real Parmigiano-Reggiano, not grocery store parmesan; even better, use half pecorino Romano and half Parmigiano. And throw in a handful of peas, if you are so inclined. Makes it healthy, right? But no cream – that is inauthentic.


kosher salt
1 pound spaghetti or linguine
1 cup fresh shelled or frozen (not thawed) green peas, optional
3 slices thick (butcher) bacon
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/4 red onion, finely chopped
2 large eggs
2 egg yolks
freshly ground black pepper
1 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, plus additional for table


Bring a big pot of water to a boil. Drop in a fistful of salt then add the pasta and stir to untangle it. Boil until al dente, per package directions. If using peas, throw them in the pot for the final minute of cooking.

Meanwhile, stack the bacon and cut it in half crosswise, then in half lengthwise, then across into dice. In a wide frying pan or saute pan (you’re going to put the pasta in it later), warm the olive oil over medium-high heat and add the bacon; stir until bacon is brown but not crisp, then add the onion. Turn heat down and cook until onion is soft and golden; keep pan on low heat while pasta cooks.

In a bowl, beat the eggs and egg yolks with several grindings of pepper (the more, the better); beat in the cheese.

When pasta is done, ladle out about 1/4 cup of the cooking water and set aside. Drain pasta, pour it in the pan with the bacon and toss to coat with fat; turn off heat under pan and pour in the egg mixture. Toss quickly with tongs until the eggs coat noodles, then pour in half the reserved cooking water and toss and stir until sauce is creamy (if it’s dry or scrambled looking, add more of the reserved water and toss). Serve immediately in warmed pasta bowls with more cheese grated over each portion.