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The Real Carbonara: A Classic of Italian Cuisine

Carbonara is one of the most beloved and debated dishes in Italian cuisine. This recipe, originating from Rome, is often subject to interpretations and variations that alter its essence. However, the real carbonara is a simple yet flavorful dish that requires few high-quality ingredients and precise preparation techniques.

The Ingredients

  • 12 oz spaghetti
  • 4 oz guanciale or pancetta
  • 3 oz eggs
  • 1 oz Pecorino Romano cheese
  • Salt and pepper to taste

The Preparation

  1. Cook the Spaghetti: Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and cook the spaghetti al dente. Reserve 1 cup of cooking water and then drain the spaghetti.
  2. Prepare the Guanciale: Cut the guanciale into small pieces and sauté it in a pan over low heat until crispy. Remove the pan from the heat and let the guanciale cool.
  3. Prepare the Eggs: Beat the eggs in a bowl and add the grated Pecorino Romano cheese. Mix well and add a pinch of salt and pepper.
  4. Assemble the Carbonara: Add the cooked spaghetti to the bowl with the eggs and mix well. Add the cooled guanciale and mix again.
  5. Add the Cooking Water: Gradually add the reserved cooking water to the bowl, mixing well, until the carbonara reaches the desired consistency.
  6. Serve: Serve the carbonara immediately, adding additional sprinkles of Pecorino Romano cheese if desired.

The Secrets of the Real Carbonara

  • No Cream: The real carbonara does not contain cream or milk. The creaminess comes from the eggs and the cooking water of the spaghetti.
  • Guanciale, not Pancetta: Guanciale is the traditional ingredient in carbonara. Pancetta can be used as a substitute, but the flavor will be different.
  • Pecorino Romano, not Parmesan: Pecorino Romano is the only cheese suitable for carbonara. Parmesan can be used as a substitute, but the flavor will be different.
  • Fresh Eggs: The eggs must be fresh and of high quality to ensure the creaminess of the carbonara.


The real carbonara is a simple dish that requires attention and care in its preparation. With few high-quality ingredients and precise preparation techniques, it is possible to create a unique and delicious dish. Remember, no cream, guanciale, Pecorino Romano, and fresh eggs are the secrets of the real carbonara.