{old school} Classic Spaghetti Carbonara Recipe

This is one of the recipes I use most often for a quick, last-minute dinner. It’s so simple to put together, takes very few ingredients, and is always absolutely delicious. A few years back I did some serious research and experimenting on Spaghetti Carbonara, which you can read about here if you’re interested. The upshot: the recipe below is the “real deal” when it comes to this classic recipe!

Recipe: Classic Spaghetti Carbonara
makes 2 servings.


  • 1/2 pound spaghetti
  • 4 oz. guanciale (use pancetta if you MUST)
  • 2 whole eggs
  • salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1/2 cup grated parmigiano-reggiano


  • Put pasta water on to boil. Meanwhile, chop guanciale into small pieces and cook in a large saucepan over medium high heat until brown and crisp. Turn off heat and leave on stovetop as is.
  • Separate one egg and reserve yolk. Thoroughly whisk 1 whole egg and 1 egg white with a liberal amount of salt and pepper in a bowl. Add the parmigiano and whisk together.
  • Add pasta to boiling water and cook until done. When the pasta has about a minute left on the timer, turn the guanciale pan back on high heat just until it starts sizzling again (which, conveniently, should take about a minute.)
  • Using tongs, carefully transfer the spaghetti into the guanciale pan along with about 1/4 cup of the pasta water. (You could also drain the pasta and reserve some of the pasta water, but that would dirty out more dishes, so… I go with the tongs.) Turn off the heat and use the tongs to toss the pasta and guanciale.
  • Slowly poor the egg/cheese mix in, tossing furiously with the tongs so the eggs don’t cook too much. When fully combined, add the yolk and mix thoroughly one more time.
  • Remove to 2 (preferably warm) serving bowls, garnish with extra parmigiano, and consume immediately.

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