Spaghetti Carbonara

In his recent entertaining TV series, Searching for Italy, actor Stanley Tucci goes in search of four iconic pasta dishes which he describes as  staggering in their simplicity: rigatoni amatriciana, spaghetti cacio e pepe, spaghetti carbonara and pasta alla gricia. Luciano Monosilio (Luciano Cucina Italiana) is known as the King of Carbonara in Rome and here’s how he makes this iconic dish.


About this Recipe

By Sheridan Rogers

As with Cacio e Pepe, there are a few important steps when making this simple dish. I was helped by Margarita’s video where you can see how Luciano prepares the guanciale and his innovative use of a double boiler or bain-marie in which he creams together the spaghetti with the  eggs and cheese and then adds the guanciale.
Look for pasture-raised eggs with bright yellow yolks. I couldn’t  find good-quality guanciale so I used Paddock to Plate Free Range Streaky Bacon which I cut into 1cm pieces.




Serves 4 as a Starter, 2 as a Main Course

  • bronze-extruded spaghetti, 280g
  • organic egg yolks, 4
  • Grana Padana, 30g, finely grated
  • Pecorino Romano, 20g, finely grated
  • ground black pepper, 1/2 – 1 teaspoon
  • guanciale (cured pigs’ cheek), 200g, cut into 1cm cubess
Cook the pasta in plenty of lightly salted boiling water until almost al denteyou don’t want it fully cooked as it will finish cooking in the creamy egg and cheese sauce.
Fry the guanciale (or streaky bacon) in a non-stick frying pan until it releases its fat and begins to brown on the outside but is still soft (or creamy) in the centre. This will take a few minutes. Strain the fat into a  small steel bowl and set aside.
In a medium steel bowl, whisk together the egg yolks with the Grana Padana and Pecorino Romano.  Drain the pasta, reserving some of the cooking water. Add the cooked pasta to the egg mixture and begin to cream it together, using a large fork, with the reserved guanciale fat and a ladleful of the hot pasta cooking water (this helps the egg to coagulate). At this stage, Luciano places the bowl over a bain-marie or pan of steaming water and continues to stir vigorously until creamy. You can see him doing this here.
Add the cubes of room-temperature guanciale and ground pepper and continue stirring until it is thick and creamy. The is called mantecare  so that the sauce thickens and develops the desired creaminess.
Serve immediately on warm plates or bowls with some extra grated cheese and freshly ground pepper sprinkled over the top.