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Wind-Down Wednesday: Spaghetti Carbonara

spaghetti-carbonaraI never really enjoyed spaghetti carbonara in Italian restaurants; it always seemed too heavy and stodgy, with the cream drowning out the flavours.  It wasn’t too surprising to find out that the cream is a completely unneccessary and inauthentic addition to the classic Italian carbonara: it’s immeasurably better without it.

This recipe is easy, and best of all, really quick.  It takes about ten minutes to prepare and another ten to cook. It’s great for when you have one egg left in a box and don’t know what else to do with it.

Spaghetti Carbonara

Serves one.  Just double quantities for two, and so on.


  • Spaghetti
  • 2 smoky rashers or 3 strips of pancetta
  • 1 clove garlic
  • Half an onion
  • Grated parmesan cheese, about 2 tablespoons
  • 1 egg yolk, beaten
  • Black pepper


  1. Cut up the bacon into small pieces with a scissors,  chop the onion into fine strips and chop the garlic clove.
  2. Put the spaghetti in a pan with boiling water, a pinch of salt and a splash of olive oil, and cook according to the packet directions (usually less than 10  mins for dried pasta, about 5 mins for fresh).
  3. While the spaghetti is boiling, add the onion, garlic and bacon to a frying pan and fry with some olive oil till the bacon is starting to crisp.
  4. When the spaghetti is boiled, drain it and return it to the pan. Stir in the egg yolk, then the bacon, onion and garlic, followed by the cheese.  Mix it all together – the heat of the pan and the other ingredients will cook the egg.
  5. Grate over lots of black pepper and serve.  Great with red wine, crusty bread and a side salad.


  1. this is one of my favourite pasta user uppers. can’t recommend it highly enough. though often use one of the other italian hard cheeses as think good parmesan is overpriced.
    as an aside… to prevent rashers curling when cooking i put them in the freezer for 5 minutes or so prior. sounds crazy but works.

  2. If you retain a little of the cooking liqour from the pasta, you can use it to thin out the sauce if it gets a little too thick. Make sure that the pasta isn’t hot enough to scramble the egg.

  3. I’ve just tried this recipe, used tagatelli pasta instead of spaghetti. its very quick & easy, and best of all its absolutely delicious.

  4. Tried this last yesterday ………… wow !!

    If you you looked this recipe up, you have to try this. Delicious!

  5. mmmmm I’m convinced. Just stumbled on this website, it’s class!

  6. unreal recipe, we love it.. im the best chef in the world !!!