Pasta Carbonara

March 17, 2016
5 Ratings
Photo by James Ransom
  • Serves 4 as main course or 6 as pasta course
Author Notes

When we moved to Rome when I was 8 years old, pasta carbonara is what my brother and I ate. It was also the first thing I taught myself to cook in college, when I’d make it with bacon and Cheddar cheese. Today it remains one of my most comforting, memory-filled dishes. The cooking and ingredients are easy, but getting the eggs the right creamy consistency can be difficult. Do not cheat and add cream. Also, I recommend using local pastured eggs from your farmers market for this dish. —Sara Jenkins

What You'll Need
  • 6 ounces flat pancetta, cut into 1/4-inch dice
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 5 large eggs
  • 1 cup freshly grated Pecorino Romano
  • 1 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
  • 2 tablespoons freshly cracked black pepper
  • 1 pound bucatini
  1. In a medium skillet, cook the pancetta and oil over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, until the pancetta is browned and the fat has rendered, about 10 minutes. Remove from heat.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, Pecorino, Parmesan, and pepper. Bring a pot of salted water to boil; cook pasta until al dente, drain, and immediately toss with the egg mixture. Add the pancetta along with its rendered fat, toss well, and serve immediately with extra pepper, if desired.
  3. If the heat of the cooked pasta does not quite set the eggs, you can gently toss it again over very low heat in the pan you cooked the pancetta in. But stir continuously and make sure the heat is as low as it can go so that you don’t wind up with scrambled eggs.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

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9 Reviews

SharonM. April 4, 2023
This is my go-to recipe. Great weeknight dinner.
BellaRasa October 7, 2018
I'm making this tonight. Is it really 2 tablespoons of black pepper?
daisy February 21, 2022
Amanda did not use that much, I’d suggest at least 1/2 teaspoon to start, you can always add more.
Only use fresh ground😊
SharonM. April 18, 2017
Made.this!! Wow! My best pasta dish yet.
Susanna April 16, 2017
I know this is heresy, but I grew up eating my mother's carbonara and my favorite way to eat it was the next morning, heated up for breakfast, when the eggs in the leftovers did indeed scramble. No matter, it was delicious.
Lindsay-Jean H. April 11, 2016
Thank you all for catching this, Sara double-checked her notes and it should be 1 cup of each type of cheese—the recipe has been updated!
Barbara G. April 10, 2016
According to the USDA, 1 cup of Paresano-Reggiano is 4 oz by weight, and according to a recipe I found from Martha Stewart and according to, 1 cup of shredded Pecorino Romano weighs 2.8 oz, so this recipe calls for about 7 oz of cheese rather than a pound. This is still quite excessive compared to other pasta carbonara recipes; I read several and most called for 2 ounces of cheese, with one requiring 3 ounces and another 4 ounces, but this is still much more reasonable than if you assume that 8 ounces of cheese by volume equals 8 ounces of cheese in weight. Perhaps Sara Jenkins is a die-hard cheese lover, with which I could certainly commiserate.
Kathy L. April 4, 2016
I had the same concern about the amount of cheese. Maybe the recipe meant to read "2 cups Pecorino Reggiano -OR- 2 cups Parmigiano-Reggiano"?
Valentino B. April 4, 2016
I think the cheese amount is quite off (4 cups cheese = 1 pound to a pound of spaghetti).