Antonis Achilleos; Food Styling: Margaret Dickey; Prop Styling: Kay Clarke
Total Time
30 Mins
Makes 4 to 6 servings

Our best spaghetti carbona recipe is silky with egg and melted cheese, freshened with parsley, and spiked with black pepper. We also love this dish for its short cooking time. The ingredients are things we tend to have always on hand, making it the ultimate weeknight-dinner solution. Just add a green salad or seasonal vegetable and the meal is complete. Also, we left out the cream that's often used in spaghetti carbonara in the United States, so it's both lighter and truer to the Italian original. And we've included some variations to keep the recipe interesting in case you find yourself making it over and over again.

How to Make It

Step 1

Put a large pot of water on to boil. Meanwhile, crack eggs into a large bowl and beat lightly. Finely shred or grate cheese, add 1/2 cup to eggs, and set the rest aside. Finely chop parsley and add to eggs. Add pepper and whisk to combine well. Set aside.

Step 2

Cut pancetta or bacon into 1/4-in.-thick slices, peel and chop garlic, and set both aside. Heat olive oil in a small frying pan over medium-high heat. Add pancetta and cook, stirring occasionally, until it starts to brown. Add garlic and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add wine and cook until liquid is reduced by about half. Remove from heat and set aside.

Step 3

When water boils, add salt and spaghetti. Boil pasta until it is tender to the bite. Drain well and immediately pour pasta into bowl with egg mixture. Toss to thoroughly coat pasta with egg mixture (the heat from the pasta will partly cook the egg and melt the cheese). Pour pancetta mixture on top of pasta and toss to combine thoroughly. Sprinkle with remaining cheese and pepper to taste. Serve immediately.

Step 4


Step 5

Peas, please: Add 3/4 cup frozen peas to the egg mixture.

Step 6

Add radicchio: Finely shred 1 small head radicchio and cook with the pancetta.

Step 7

Pick basil: Substitute 1/4 cup chopped fresh basil leaves for the parsley.

Step 8

Spice it up: Add 1/2 tsp. red chile flakes with the garlic.

Step 9

Change the cheese: Substitute other hard, aged cheese (such as asiago, pecorino, or aged gouda) for the parmesan.

Step 10

Go for whole grain: Try using whole-wheat spaghetti (the assertive, rich flavors of this dish will hold up to a heartier pasta beautifully).

Step 11

Note: Nutritional analysis is per serving.

Chef's Notes

The heat from the hot pasta partly cooks the eggs. If you are concerned about eating raw or undercooked eggs, use 1/2 cup pasteurized eggs in lieu of fresh.

Ratings & Reviews

gotbidnezz's Review

November 14, 2012
This was a quick, easy recipe for carbonara. I omitted the bacon, because I used flavored pasta, and it was wonderful. I've made this recipe with bacon before and loved it that way too. It's a perfect base for whatever you have in the fridge.

mikcincy's Review

February 24, 2012
this was very good, but next time i will save some of my Pasta WATER to add to the dish - I like my pasta carbonara a little liquidy.

Malinita's Review

March 09, 2014
this was really good! I would definitely make it again.... I thought that it was going to be a little more creamy...mine came out to be a little thicker maybe it was the cheese...not sure..I used left over chicken instead of bacon and it still turned out great!

Lori in NC's review

April 05, 2015
This was an almost perfect carbonara recipe, with one major exception - I used 1/2 lb pasta, and the whole measurements of the rest of the ingredients.  I think it would have been terribly, terribly dry otherwise.  I also cut back on the olive oil, and could probably drain some of the fat rendered from the pancetta.  The sauce was beautifully silky, the pancetta has an excellent flavor, and the wine added a depth to the ingredient.  I'm going to start keeping pancetta in the freezer, so I can make this an emergency "Oh, no, what are we having tonight" dinner.

easy and delicious

October 16, 2017
Very easy to make! I took someone's suggestion and reduced the pasta - probably used 1/2-3/4 lb. Definitely glad I did. I think with more pasta it would've been dry. I also drained some of the fat after cooking the pancetta.  I pretty much followed the recipe otherwise. Will make this again!! My 11 year old loved it. Served with a caesar salad.

thompsonkrienke's Review

February 08, 2010
Loved it - will make again. I used whole wheat spaghetti, bacon, extra clove of garlic, a few sprinkles of red pepper flakes, and mixed basil and parsley. Right at the end I added a few dashes of nutritional yeast instead of the extra parm (I had run out). Excellent! The recipe definitely makes enough for four good sized servings or six moderate servings.

deannelc's Review

March 25, 2011
This was a great weeknight recipe! It came together quickly and easily and the whole family enjoyed it. The leftovers were good, too...

Criggs's Review

September 19, 2012
This is an amazing recipe! I set a bowl aside to cool for my two year old and when I turned back around he was stuffing it into his mouth with his bare hands, lol. We never have leftovers and my hubby requests it at least once a week.

Yvanchik's Review

June 22, 2013
Seriously good. Had no parsley so added frozen peas, which was brilliant. 13 year old fussy son loved it too.

tomandalma's Review

December 25, 2013