Monday Pasta Night from La Cucina Italiana Magazine showcases a classic, tonight.  Not a “been around since the beginning of time” classic but a classic nonetheless.

Spaghetti alla Carbonara is a rather recent addition to the Italian culinary landscape.  There is no mention of it prior to WWII and quite possibly came about after the war from foods being supplied by GIs.    The first record of it has it as a Roman dish.

But regardless of its origins, it’s one of the simplest – and tastiest – pasta dishes one can imagine.  Leave it to the Italians to take simplicity to such heights!

Spaghetti alla Carbonara

Though hearty and delicious, this classic pasta comes together with ingredients almost always on hand.


  • Fine sea salt
  • 7 ounces thick-sliced flat pancetta or bacon
  • 3 large egg yolks
  • 1 cup freshly grated Pecorino Romano cheese plus more for sprinkling
  • 3/4 cup freshly grated Grana Padano or Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 pound spaghetti


Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Meanwhile, cut pancetta into ¼-inch batons. In a medium bowl, whisk together egg yolks, grated cheeses, 1/3 cup water, and generous pinch salt and pepper. In a medium nonstick skillet, combine pancetta and oil; cook over medium heat, stirring frequently, until browned, about 15 minutes.

About halfway through pancetta cooking time, cook pasta in the boiling water until al dente (ideally pancetta and pasta will be ready at about the same time). Reserving ¼ cup of the pasta cooking liquid, drain pasta and return to pot. Add pancetta and its rendered fat; toss to combine. Immediately add egg mixture and 2 tablespoons pasta cooking liquid; quickly stir to combine. Moisten with additional pasta cooking liquid, if desired. Serve immediately, passing cheese and pepper at the table.

The cheese and the egg yolks meld with the spaghetti to create a rich and creamy dish that defies description.  The black pepper offsets the salty bite of the cheeses.

It really is perfection on a plate.

Knowing it was Pasta Monday, I picked up a loaf of Italian bread this morning and Victor turned it into a simple garlic toast.  Great crunch and perfect for sopping up the last bits of sauce on the plate.

Another keeper.

15 down. 5 to go.