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This Roman classic has certainly conquered the world! However, it is often made with cream and other ingredients which bear no relation to the real recipe. It is said it was first made for the “carbonari” (charcoal workers) with a few nutritious ingredients of pork, eggs and cheese. Another theory is that the Americans made it a popular dish just after the Second World War. However it came about, this is the classic carbonara, which is very simple to prepare. Guanciale can be bought from good Italian delis, but if you can’t find it, you can substitute with pancetta.

4 x servings 


  • 1 x tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 200g piece Guanciale (pork cheek), roughly chopped into small strips
  • 4 x large free-range egg yolks
  • 75g grated pecorino & extra for sprinkling
  • Salt & freshly ground black pepper
  • 400g spaghetti


  1. Bring a large saucepan of salted water to the boil and cook the spaghetti until “al dente.”
  2. Heat the extra virgin olive oil in a large frying pan, add the guanciale and on a medium heat stir fry until crispy.
  3. In a small bowl beat egg yolks with pecorino, some salt & pepper. Set aside.
  4. Drain the spaghetti, reserving some of the pasta water, add the spaghetti to the pan of guanciale, with a little of the pasta water and mix well. Remove pan from the heat, stir in the egg mixture, adding more cooking water if necessary. Serve immediately with some grated pecorino and freshly ground black pepper.


Want to try authentic Roman carbonara in the Eternal City? Click here to browse our city breaks to Rome