Traditional Pasta alla Carbonara | Roman Comfort Food


As we start this seemingly slow transition into Spring with its blooming flowers, fresh flavors and warm weather I am still craving the comfort food that we all typically crave during our usually long winter seasons. I had made a more American version of carbonara at some point a few years ago which had a creamy white sauce, peas etc. . . But this isn’t what true, Roman Carbonara is all about and I wanted to make it again to really dig into the roots of Carbonara and experience it for myself. We had some delicious versions of Carbonara in Padova, Italy when we went last year and ever since I had been craving this comforting dish.

Carbonora originates in Rome ( one of my favorite cities) and is made up of simple, yet tasty ingredients. There is some back and forth about the history of this dish that originated in the mid 20th century. Some say that because the name derives from the word “carbonero” which means “charcoal worker” that this dish was created as a filling meal for Italian Charcoal Workers ( reference to peasant food) others say that it could have been derived from “Carbonada” which meant bacon in the early Italian dialect. Whatever the actual origins are, it is a delicious, filling pasta that is extremely comforting- perfect for those nights you want a cozy meal that doesn’t take too long to make. 🙂

Traditionally “Giuncale” is used in Carbonara but I didn’t have access to that. If you do, substitute it out! It will be just as if not more delicious!

Hope you all enjoy this recipe, let me know in the comments below what your thoughts are!

Pasta alla Carbonara

A rich, filling dish that gives you a taste of Italy from the comfort of your home

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes


  • 2 Cups Fresh Parmesan
  • 6 oz Pancetta
  • 1 lb Spaghetti
  • 1/2 Tsp Salt
  • Pepper to taste
  • Reserved Pasta Water


  1. Start by cooking the pancetta in a small frying pan, until a little crispy. Put in a deep bowl along with the fat from cooking. In a separate bowl beat the 4 eggs, add the parmesan and beat mixture together.  Set aside

    Cook pasta according to instructions-al dente in lightly salted water. Do not drain. Start taking the dripping pasta out into the bowl with the pancetta until you have taken it all out. It will be dripping still, this is okay. This will create part of the sauce and will prevent it from drying up.

    Once all the pasta is in the bowl, pour egg and cheese mixture and start tossing it with a pair of tongs making sure it is continuously coated. The idea is that the heat from the pasta will cook the eggs, this works really well but you have to make sure to keep tossing it.  If needed you can add a bit of the pasta water if you want it to be creamier, although I found it was just fine without.

    Finish it off with a generous helping of pepper and add salt to taste as needed.

Fried Pancetta w/reserved fat


Egg & Cheese Mixture

Tossing the pasta with Egg/Cheese Mixture


 Happy Eating,

Life as a Maven


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