Friday, November 21, 2014

Spaghetti Carbonara

Carbonara is my husband's favorite - he loves it and he's the one who introduced me to it. Now it's one of my favorites too. There's loads of different ways to make it, but this is my favorite. It's fairly quick & easy, not to mention delicious. Because most pancetta doesn't expire too quickly, it's easy to have most of what you need to make this on hand for dinners when convenience is important, but something delicious is essential.

The below recipe feeds two hungry people, but can be easily multiplied for the whole family.

250g (1/2 package) spaghetti
150g pancetta cubes (the packets I buy are 154g - make sure it's not smoked)
2 tablespoons olive oil plus more for pasta water
2 tablespoons vermouth
2 eggs
30g freshly grated Parmesan cheese
45ml double cream (whipping cream if in the US)
1/2 teaspoon Maldon Salt (or other sea salt flakes) plus more for pasta water
Freshly grated nutmeg


  1. Fill a large, tall pot with a lid about halfway with water. Add about 3 tablespoons of sea salt flakes and a drop or two of olive oil and put on to boil with the lid on.
  2. In a large non-stick frying pan, or even better, a wok, heat up the 2 tablespoons of olive oil. When it's hot, put in the pancetta and cook it until it's bronze and a little bit crispy, giving it a stir or a toss every few minutes.
  3. While the pancetta is cooking put the pasta into the boiling water to cook until slightly al dente. Then put the eggs, Parmesan cheese, double cream and a few grinds of fresh pepper into a bowl and beat together with a fork and set aside. 
  4. When the pancetta reaches the desired crispiness, add the vermouth and stand back as it will sizzle up a little. Continue to cook until very reduced and a bit thickened, like a syrup. Once reduced, remove from heat while you wait for the pasta to finish cooking.
  5. Before draining the pasta, take a cup of the pasta water out of the pot and set aside. Drain the pasta when it's ready.
  6. Return the pancetta pan to the heat and add the pasta, tossing it until it's well coated in the thick syrup. Add some of the pasta water if necessary to coat all of the pasta, but just a little at a time. When all of the pasta is coated, remove the pan from the heat.
  7. Add the cream, eggs & cheese mixture to the pasta quickly and all at once, then immediately stir and toss to coat the pasta. It's important to be quick here to avoid scrambling the eggs in the mixture.
  8. Serve the pasta on hot plates or pasta bowls topped with freshly grated pepper and nutmeg.
What's your favorite pasta dish? I'm always looking for new inspiration when it comes to my favorite starchy carbs!


  1. Carbonara is my boyfriend's favourite too! For a quick cook as well you can make the sauce with philadelphia and milk. You know, for when you're short on time!

    Writer’s block and broken lenses


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