Carbona Romana

Carbonara Romana

Hands up all those who have made spaghetti carbonara with cream and bacon? Me too – it was how I was taught to make it. I won’t be making that way anymore. After watching ‘Stanley Tucci: Searching for Italy’, I went in search of guanciale and pecorino. The recipe is so simple: guanciale, pecorino and eggs. Nearly all recipes that are out there call for the use of whole eggs; I knew that I only wanted to use egg yolks in order to achieve a rich (deep yellow) mayonnaise-like consistency for the sauce which I knew could never be reached with whole eggs. Along with the yolk, the other important ingredient required for a creamy sauce is the judicious addition of pasta cooking water to create an unctuous emulsion. 

Serves 2

Carbonara Romana

200g good quality dried pasta – I use Rummo Bucatini Nº6
100g guanciale; cut into lardons
60g pecorino; finely grated + more to finish
4 free-range egg yolks
sea salt flakes
Freshly ground black peppercorns


  1. Put a large pan of water on to boil. Add the pasta to the boiling water.
  2. In a wide-bottomed, deep pan, add the guanciale lardons and render the fat over a low heat.
  3. Crack the eggs and separate the yolks into a large bowl. Whisk in the grated pecorino and 5 good grinds of black peppercorns.
  4. Continue to cook the lardons until they begin to colour then turn off the heat.
  5. Take 1 ladle of pasta cooking water and carefully whisk it into the egg yolk mix.
  6. Once the pasta is cooked, use a pasta ladle to transfer it to the pan with the lardons. Stir to combine.
  7. Pour the egg yolk mix to the pasta and whisk in.
  8. Add more pasta cooking water to reach your desired consistency.
  9. Plate up using the pasta ladle and a fork. Swirl the spaghetti and carefully place the spaghetti cylinder on a plate. Spoon over the remaining sauce and lardons. Finish with a grating of pecorino.


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