Swirls of spaghetti carbonara on blush pink plates atop a navy surface with a wedge of pecorino and grater.
Photography & Art Direction: Anthony Contrino – Food Styling: Katie Stilo

This traditional pasta dish is one of my favorites, and like many Roman dishes, only uses a handful of ingredients.  Guanciale (cured pig cheek) is traditionally used, but I use pancetta because it’s easier to get my hands on (and I can usually find it diced).  A really good thick sliced bacon will work in a pinch, too!  Be sure to start tossing the hot pasta as soon as it hits the egg mixture to prevent curdling!  


Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Servings: 4


  • 4 ounces pancetta, diced
  • 1 large egg, room temperature
  • 6 large egg yolks, room temperature
  • ¾ cup grated pecorino, plus more for serving
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly grated black pepper, plus more for serving
  • 1 pound spaghetti


  • Add the pancetta to a small skillet and add enough cold water to barely cover the meat.
  • Place the skillet over high heat and cook until the water evaporates.
  • Reduce the heat to medium-high and continue cooking the pancetta, stirring frequently, until crispy.
  • Using a slotted spoon, transfer the pancetta to a plate; reserve 1 tablespoon of the rendered fat and cool to room temperature.
  • Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.
  • Cook the pasta in the boiling water according to the package directions until al dente; reserve 1 cup of the cooking water, then drain the pasta.
  • Meanwhile, in a large bowl, whisk the whole egg, egg yolks, pecorino, pepper and the pancetta renderings until well combined.
  • Add the pasta and, using tongs, begin tossing the pasta immediately. Add the pancetta and continue tossing, adding the reserved cooking water as needed, until a creamy, velvety sauce forms. Serve immediately with a sprinkling of pecorino and freshly ground black pepper.
Course: Pasta, Sauces
Author: Anthony Michael Contrino