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Perfect pasta carbonara? The secrets (and video) to make it super creamy

pasta carbonara

The original carbonara pasta recipe is a true institution of traditional Italian cuisine. Here are all the secrets to prepare it flawlessly!

It is one of the most loved, discussed, interpreted and cooked first courses by Italians: we are talking about pasta alla carbonara, a classic of Roman cuisine that combines strong flavors with crunchy and creamy textures. This first course knows many variations, and not only as regards the various interpretations, but also for the traditional recipe. However, in reality, it would seem that it doesn't exist… In fact, there are those who use bacon, those with guanciale, those who use onions, those who instead argue that long pasta should be used, those who still use egg whites and those who only use red.

But how is carbonara prepared? Although there are different schools of thought, however, there is no real recipe, and this is because the exact origin of the dish is not known. What if the Americans had really invented it, preparing a pasta with scrambled egg and bacon? Maybe it's best not to think about it! However, over the years the techniques have improved and today we have arrived at what can be considered the perfect carbonara!

pasta carbonara
pasta carbonara

How to make spaghetti carbonara: the original recipe

Do you want to discover all the secrets to making a fantastic, creamy and state-of-the-art spaghetti, follow us in the kitchen: here is the recipe for spaghetti alla carbonara!

Carbonara ingredients

Let's start from the identikit of this first course: first of all, the ingredients of the carbonara must absolutely be of high quality. Get yourself:

ingredients of pasta carbonara
ingredients of pasta carbonara
  • 1 piece of medium-aged pecorino romano and still soft (90 g will be enough for 4 people)
  • piece of quality bacon (you will need to obtain 200 g of cubes)
  • 5 eggs (there will be 4 yolks and one whole egg)
  • about 95 grams of pasta per person (for a total of 380 g)
  • 30 g of grated cheese
  • black pepper and salt to taste

And above all, rule number one: forget the canned bacon… and the cream ! However, if this preparation intrigues you, we refer you to our carbonara with cream .

Preparation of the carbonara

Now that we have the basics down, let's get started with the preparation!

cook spaghetti
cook spaghetti

1. Boil a pot of water, and when it's hot, dip the spaghetti. Already for this phase, we anticipate the first secret for a perfect carbonara: add a little salt to the water! The pecorino and bacon, in fact, will help to give the right flavor to the dish.

prepare the bacon
prepare the bacon

2. While the pasta is cooking, cut the bacon into cubes or strips after removing the rind. A tip: instead of throwing it away, put a piece of it in the cooking water together with the pasta. Heat a non-stick pan and sauté the bacon without adding any other fat. The secret in this phase is the cut of the meat: don't do it too thin, but thick enough to make it crunchy on the outside but not dry on the inside! Turn off once it becomes crunchy.

3. In the meantime, let's make the sauce. One of the rules for the doses is to add one yolk each (only the yolk, please!) and one whole egg. With this dosage, the pasta will be creamy, but if you want to lighten it, you can also reduce the amount of eggs.

Beat the eggs with the cheese
Beat the eggs with the cheese

4. Beat with a fork and add the pecorino and grated cheese, mixing everything well until the consistency is nice and creamy, even a paste. Don't worry, the cooking water will then take care of making it liquid. Finish with plenty of pepper, preferably freshly ground.

Add the spaghetti to the guanciale
Add the spaghetti to the guanciale

5. We have finally reached the last steps. Sauté the pasta in the fat released from the guanciale, adding a little cooking water to facilitate the release of the starches. Remember to keep aside a ladle of cooking water, which if you need it later will help the sauce to be nice and creamy .
6. Add the egg and pecorino cream to the pasta with the guanciale, carrying out this operation off the heat and after waiting for a minute, and once the sauce has been added, add the cooking water and stir by sautéing or stirring quickly with a spoonful of wood: in this way the egg will not cook, and will not create the classic omelette effect . Finish the dish with a sprinkling of cheese and a grind of pepper. The carbonara is finally ready. Bon appetit !

Here is our video recipe of pasta alla carbonara :

What to do with those leftover egg whites ? Don't worry: nothing will go to waste if you take a look at our recipes with egg whites !

What we have just seen is the original carbonara recipe, do you want to see some variations? Those who love fish can try the seafoodcarbonara , those who don't like meat, on the other hand, will be very happy with our vegetarian carbonara ; finally, if you are looking for a variant with vegetables , here is the zucchini carbonara .

Primo Chef's secrets for a creamy and perfect carbonara

Pasta carbonara
Pasta carbonara

The type of pasta : rigatoni, spaghetti, tonnarelli, bucatini alla carbonara… which pasta format to choose? The rule is… that there are no rules! Some people prefer long pasta , others short ones: the important thing is that you like it, that the pasta is al dente and above all of high quality .

Guanciale : as we anticipated, cooking the bacon is crucial . It is preferred to pancetta due to its more complex and fatter flavour, and is usually cut into strips. If you keep a cut thick enough, you can make it sweat well by depriving it of the fat , make it crispy on the outside but keep it moist on the inside: this way it will be a pleasure for the palate!

How to manage pork fat? Here are three schools of thought. Those who want to lighten the recipe throw it away, but for some traditionalists this is a sacrilege! The fat, in fact, is used to create flavor and to sauté the pasta before adding it to the egg and making it tasty already . The third variant? Shade it with a touch of white wine and only then skip the pasta.

Carbonara sauce : here too you will surely have heard that those who use white are in error, but in reality this is not the case. Everyone has their own (for example, there are those who put one yolk per person plus a whole egg and those who, conversely, put one egg per person plus one yolk). In general, remember that the egg shouldn't be cooked, but it shouldn't be raw either, so the best idea is to season the pasta in a pan with the heat off. An alternative is to pasteurize the eggs for a few minutes by placing them in a bowl in contact with the steam of the cooking water, and stirring slowly.
However, there is another possible variant: preparing carbonara with the Thermomix ; before turning up your nose, give it a chance !

And if you liked it, here are all the secrets for cooking a perfectpasta alla gricia and for an impeccable cacio e pepe ; We also leave you all our recipes with eggs for always delicious dishes!

Finally, a bit of history : do you know the origin of carbonara ?


We advise you to consume it immediately but if you really have some left over you can keep it in the fridge in a container for a day. The egg, however, will congeal so we advise you to transform it into a pasta omelette . Freezing is not recommended.

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