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Anthony Contrino's Pasta Carbonara

This salty, flavorful pasta dish is typical of Rome, Italy and requires just a few ingredients.
This salty, flavorful pasta dish is typical of Rome, Italy and requires just a few ingredients.TODAY
Cook Time:
30 mins
Prep Time:
5 mins

Chef notes

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, but a really high-quality, thick-cut 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. 


  • 1/2 cup pancetta, diced
  • 1 large egg, room temperature
  • 6 large egg yolks, room temperature
  • 3/4 cup grated pecorino, plus more for serving
  • 1/4 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 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 into the egg-cheese mixture immediately. Add the pancetta and continue tossing, adding a little reserved cooking water as needed, until a creamy, velvety sauce forms.


Serve immediately with a sprinkling of pecorino and freshly ground black pepper.