How to make carbonara

Find out how to make carbonara properly – it's very easy, we know it's delicious and this recipe takes minutes...

how to make carbonara
(Image credit: Getty)

Want to know how to make carbonara properly? This deceptively simple Italian dish is an all time classic, and wasn't set as a cooking challenge on Masterchef for nothing; despite using only a handful of ingredients, this delicious sauce can go all wrong if not made correctly. Don't worry, because once you've mastered it, you'll never settle for carbonara out of a jar again. 

Authentic Italian pasta carbonara is made with egg, never with cream. Of course, if you like it with cream, keep doing what you're doing. This recipe, though, is for the real thing.

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How to make carbonara


To make this classic Roman pasta dish for two, you will need:

  • Dried spaghetti, 300 grams
  • Two medium eggs
  • Grana Padano or Parmesan cheese, grated, 100 grams
  • Diced pancetta or guanciale, 80 grams
  • One garlic clove, peeled
  • Olive oil, two to three tablespoons
  • Black pepper, to season


1. Cook the pasta in a pan of salted, boiling water.

2. In a saucepan, Warm the oil and add the garlic clove whole, without chopping. Add the pancetta and fry on low heat for three to four minutes, or until it starts going crispy. 

3. Meanwhile, crack the eggs into a mixing bowl and add the grated cheese. Mix thoroughly. 

4. Drain the cooked pasta and remove the garlic clove from the saucepan with the pancetta. Take the saucepan off the heat and and add the drained pasta; toss to coat in the oil and the ham. 

5. Pour in the egg and cheese mixture and gently stir. Make sure the pasta is not too hot at this point, or your egg will scramble. 

6. Serve in pasta bowls with a crackling of black pepper and extra grated parmesan. You can also add fresh chopped parsley to add a bit of freshness.