Friday 23 July 2010

Tagliatelle alla Carbonara

Dieters look away! With its full-fat, calorie-laden combination of white carbs tossed with bacon fried in butter swirled with a creamy cheesy sauce, carbonara is the dish to expand waistlines if ever there was one.

For the rest of us who choose not to care however, it is a devilishly easy-to-make, uncomplicated plate of luscious goodness that epitomises the gorgeous simplicity and flavour of Italian cuisine. Did you know that truly authentic carbonara made the proper way actually contains no cream, but achieves its richness from beaten eggs and melted parmesan? No complex sauce made separately either- the raw eggs and cheese are simply tossed with freshly cooked hot pasta to cook in its residual heat.

Traditionally only egg yolks are used, but my dislike for wastage means that the recipe below includes the whites as well. Thick long varieties such as tagliatelle, fettucine, linguine or spaghetti are particularly well-suited for this sinfully luscious dish, but feel free to use whatever pasta you desire.

For convenience' sake, the quantities listed are for one relatively hungry person- increase and multiply as needed.

Tagliatelle alla Carbonara
Serves 1

In a small bowl, whisk together 1 egg with about ½ cup grated Parmigiano Reggiano/ Pecorino Romano (parmesan). Set aside.

Boil 100g tagliatelle/fettucine/spaghetti (I used dried- if using fresh cook for a shorter time) in salted water for 10-15 mins or until al dente.

Meanwhile, fry 50g chopped pancetta/bacon in 1 tsp butter and some extra virgin olive oil until browned.

Drain the pasta. Chuck it in a large pot/bowl and toss immediately whilst hot with the egg cheese mix and cooked bacon (along with some of its buttery oily juices!). Season well with a touch of salt (not too much as the bacon is already salty) and freshly ground black pepper. Cover and leave to sit for 5-10 mins to cook in its own residual heat.

Garnish with chopped parsley or a sprinkle of grated Parmesan if desired and serve.


  1. Tried this today and was super skeptical looking at the mash of raw egg + strong smelling parmesan cheese. But it turned out great! Thanks lol. :D

  2. Haha you're welcome Nicholas, yes people sometimes feel apprehensive about the mix but it's the traditional way of making it! :)