Cookbook:Carbonara Pasta Sauce

Cookbook | Ingredients | Recipes

See also: Cookbook:Spaghetti alla Carbonara

This is a wonderful dish that is very easy to do. It does call for the use of raw eggs, which is not to everyone's taste, but to the best of my knowledge, no one has died from Carbonara sauce poisoning. However, pregnant women should not eat raw eggs as salmonella can cause spontaneous miscarriage.


For 4 people:

  • 4 free-range eggs with large yolks (double yolkers are particularly suitable)
  • 3 ounces (85 g) fresh Italian pancetta, cubed into 0.25–0.375-inch (0.64–0.95 cm) pieces
  • 1 sprig of fresh thyme, finely chopped
  • ¼ small onion, chopped finely
  • The chopped zest of ½ a lemon
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • parmigiano and/or pecorino romano cheese, grated
  • 12 ounces (340 g) uncooked pasta (spaghetti or penne)


  1. Put on the desired quantity of pasta to cook. This complete dish is often referred to as "Spaghetti Carbonara" but using small Penne Rigate is, in my humble opinion, better.
  2. Split the eggs carefully and separate the yolks from the whites (a good - and rather sensuous - way of doing this is to run the egg through the almost closed fingers of your upturned palm, so as the white runs away through the fingers, and the yolk remains in your hand!) Keep the yolks in a large bowl (and use the whites for something useful, like meringues, if you must!) remembering to pick out that pesky little white bit which always remains behind when you split an egg.
  3. Fry the pancetta on a lowish heat in a dry frying pan until it is crispy. Always make sure you have more than enough for your sauce, as the temptation to snaffle a few bits of the pancetta whilst it is cooking is irresistible !
  4. When the pancetta is cooked,drain and allow it to cool for a few minutes, before adding it to the yolks (allowing it to cool precludes you scrambling the eggs in the process of adding the piping hot fried pancetta)
  5. Add a pinch of rock-salt and a very generous amount indeed of ground pepper to the bowl.
  6. Add the lemon zest and the chopped thyme. Also add a small amount of the Parmigiano cheese to the bowl.
  7. Once the pasta is cooked, the MOST important thing is to get your guests to sit down at the table ...!! This dish waits for NO man, woman or child !! It HAS to be served as soon as it is ready. No ifs or buts here !
  8. Drain the pasta through a colander, count to 10, which seems to allow the pasta to cool just a tad, so again it does not scramble the sauce, and add it to the carbonara mixture.
  9. Mix it through with a wooden spoon and serve immediately, sprinkling the remaining Parmigiano cheese over the top!!

If you want to add a little chopped flat leaf parsley (not the curly stuff) to add colour go ahead.

Served with a simple green salad, it's delicious.

Buon Appetito, Wikibookies

--Peterkirchem 11:13, 3 July 2007 (UTC)


  • For the pancetta don't buy the ready cubed stuff, but the fresh, Italian version, with a little cracked pepper on the rind. If you really can't find it, smoked bacon will do.
  • The use of "cheap" eggs will have a marked effect on the sauce. Yolks as fresh and as yellow as possible please!