Spaghetti Carbonara

Spaghetti Carbonara

Spaghetti Carbonara

It’s been a while between posts here on Recipe Road! Since we last posted we’ve been travelling, first to South Korea and Italy, and recently to The Philippines. We plan to bring you recipes from each of the countries we visited, starting with today’s Italian post!

In Italy we indulged in our love of Italian food, visiting the world’s #1 restaurant, Osteria Francescana. We also stayed on a farm in Tuscany, where our hosts cooked dinner each night from the produce in their garden. Another highlight was taking a pasta making class in Rome, which is where we learned today’s recipe. Our host taught us how to prepare fresh pasta, and we made linguine and ravioli. The final recipe we prepared was spaghetti carbonara, and our host insisted this recipe must be made with dried pasta, from a packet. He was also quite insistent that this dish must be made with pork cheek, not speck or bacon, and using pecorino cheese, not parmigiano-reggiano. It is a simple peasant dish, and traditionally uses these cheaper ingredients. However, if you have trouble sourcing pork cheek like we did, we won’t be offended if you use speck or bacon! Many people think carbonara sauce uses cream, but traditionally the amazing creaminess of the carbonara comes just from the egg, cheese and cooking water alone. We hope you enjoy this simple and tasty classic Italian dish.


  • 30g pork cheek (guanciale) or speck per person
  • 100g dried spaghetti per person
  • 1 egg per person
  • 50g pecorino cheese per person, grated
  • freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1-2 small continental parsley leaves per person (optional)


  1. Finely dice the pork cheek or speck and place in a small saucepan over medium heat. Cook until the fat has melted and the meat is slightly toasted, then remove from the heat and set aside.
  2. Meanwhile, bring a large pan of water to a boil. Add a pinch of salt and the spaghetti. Take note of the cooking time on the packet, and drain the spaghetti 2 minutes before the cooking time is completed, reserving a cup of the cooking water.
  3. Crack the eggs into a mixing bowl. Add the grated pecorino, reserving a little for garnish. Mix well and add the cooked pork cheek and its fat, then the cooked pasta. Stir and toss the pasta in the egg mixture for a minute or two to cook the egg and melt the cheese. Add some of the reserved cooking water if necessary, continuing to mix until the sauce’s consistency reaches your liking.
  4. To serve, divide the spaghetti between plates, garnish with the reserved grated pecorino, season with freshly ground black pepper and add a final garnish of one or two parsley leaves if you like. Serve immediately!

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