Active Time
20 Mins
Total Time
20 Mins
Yield
Serves 2 (serving size: 1 1/2 cup)

This simple, classic pasta carbonara recipe is the perfect dish when you need a special night in. And with this foolproof method for nailing the signature creamy sauce, you can go into the kitchen with confidence. Traditionally, you would toss your hot pasta with the eggs and cheese right in the skillet you’ve used to cook the pork (over low heat) to create a smooth, emulsified sauce. However, this method takes practice to get right—and crossing the fine line between gently cooking the eggs and scrambling them is all too easy, even for a pro. With this smart test kitchen technique, you essentially create a double boiler to provide just enough heat to melt your cheese and emulsify the silky sauce, without running the risk of breaking it. Finally, drizzling pancetta drippings over the pasta disperses rich porky flavor throughout the sauce even without ever having the pasta in the skillet. We use pancetta for this recipe as it is easily found in most supermarkets, but guanciale is traditional and worth trying if you can find it. Gemelli pasta is a great noodle shape to pair with this rich and saucy dish, but feel free to use whatever noodle you prefer.

How to Make It

Step 1

Whisk egg yolks, egg, Parmesan, and pecorino Romano together in a small bowl. Reserve at room temperature.

Step 2

Cook pancetta in a skillet over medium, stirring occasionally, until crisp, about 6 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer to a plate lined with paper towels. Reserve drippings.

Step 3

Cook pasta in a pot to al dente according to package instruction. Reserve 1 cup of the cooking water. Place a strainer in a large metal bowl. Pour pasta and remaining cooking water into strainer, letting strainer with pasta stand in water, and allowing the metal bowl to heat, about 1 minute. Remove strainer with pasta, and pour cooking water back into pot. Transfer pasta from strainer to the warm metal bowl.

Step 4

Place metal bowl of pasta on top of pot to keep warm. Stir in egg and cheese mixture, and stir constantly, adding reserved cooking water, as needed, to create a creamy sauce, about 2 minutes. Drizzle in reserved drippings, and stir to combine. Divide pasta between 2 bowls. Top with black pepper and pancetta; garnish with cheese.

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