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Spaghetti alla carbonara

The proper way to make this Italian classic.

By Gourmet Food Team
  • 15 mins preparation
  • 15 mins cooking
  • Serves 4
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Spaghetti alla carbonara
Spaghetti, eggs, cheese and guanciale – this is how to make carbonara, the Italian way. It's important to serve this pasta dish as soon as you toss the eggs through – leave it any longer, and they'll keep cooking with the heat of the spaghetti and become scrambled.
In fact, you should probably eat this carbonara straight from the pan.


  • 400 gm dried spaghetti
  • 60 ml mild-flavoured extra-virgin olive oil (¼ cup)
  • 200 gm piece guanciale or coppa, cut into lardons (see note)
  • 4 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 20 gm finely grated pecorino, plus extra to serve (¼ cup)
  • To serve: coarsely chopped flat-leaf parsley (optional)


  • 1
    Cook pasta in a large saucepan of boiling salted water until al dente (8-10 minutes).
  • 2
    Meanwhile, heat oil in a frying pan over medium-high heat, add guanciale and sauté until starting to crisp (2-4 minutes). Set aside and keep warm.
  • 3
    Drain pasta, reserving 2 tbsp cooking water. Add to guanciale with eggs, pecorino, reserved cooking water and freshly ground black pepper to taste. Toss until pasta is coated and sauce begins to thicken (20-30 seconds), then serve immediately, scattered with parsley and extra pecorino to the side.


Guanciale is cured meat from the side of the pig's face and coppa is cured pork shoulder or neck; both are available from select delicatessens and Italian butchers.