Pasta Carbonara

I love this pasta dish! It’s one of my favorites. Probably not the most healthy with all the butter and eggs in it. But you know what I say? As long as you don’t eat it every day, it aint gonna kill you. Something else will. So why cut out or substitute something that is not as tasty? People modify dishes and substitute ingredients because they are “more healthy”.  Anything in moderation is not harmful. Do you know if you drink too much water you can die? What could be healthier than water? We go through this life only once, according to most people. Enjoy a dish the way it was meant to be eaten. Then you can go back to your “healthy lifestyle”.

My grandfather and grandmother lived well into their 90’s, and they ate everything. You might even say my grandmother was obese by today’s standards. But grandma wouldn’t have been grandma without here little 5 foot frame and her rotund arms.

So if you are going to make this dish, stick to the ingredients and enjoy it!

I have seen a lot of versions of pasta carbonara.  This is a simple dish, a peasant dish, and whenever I order it out they always ruin it by adding mushrooms, ham, cream, peas and all sorts of things that don’t belong in this dish. So I don’t order it out much.

My mother made this all the time. She always used onions in her recipe. I enjoy it with onions because it adds a sweetness to the carbonara. But essentially it’s an egg and bacon pasta. The bacon being pancetta, Italian bacon. It’s very easy and quick to make. About as much time to boil the water and cook the pasta.

This was one of the dishes I learned to make myself very early on. When money was tight, pasta carbonara was a very inexpensive dish to make and filled you up. It was also a dish you made late at night when unexpected friends were over and you got hungry but did not want to leave the house. In about 15 minutes you had enough food to satisfy everyone.

Pasta Carbonara

  • 1 pound linguine, or bow tie pasta
  • 1 large onion sliced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 stick salted butter
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 oz pancetta diced
  • 3 large eggs beaten
  • 1/2 cup grated Pecorino Romano cheese
  • Salt and black pepper to taste
  • Pinch of red pepper flakes




 Cook pasta according to directions.

In the meantime in  a large skillet melt butter and add olive oil over medium heat.

Add onions and pancetta and cook till onions are soft and translucent. Add garlic and cook 2 minutes. Turn off flame.

Just before the pasta is done and you drain the pasta, take 1/2 cup of pasta water and slowly pour it over the beaten eggs while stirring quickly. This will temper the eggs so they don’t turn into scrambled eggs when you add to the pasta.

Drain the pasta.  Place pasta in the skillet with flame on low with the onions, and panchetta, mix well.

 While pasta is still hot, turn off the heat and pour beaten egg slowly onto the pasta while stirring quickly, you do not want scrambled eggs.  The heat from the pasta will cook the egg.

Add grated cheese, salt, freshly grated black pepper and red pepper flakes. Toss to mix well.


About Peter Bocchieri

Peter was born and raised in Brooklyn, NY and is a second generation Italian-American. He has a degree in Journalism from Long Island University and is an avid photographer, gardener and pet owner. Now that Peter is retired, he is relaxing at his home in North East Pennsylvania and cooking for his sons, Michael and Joseph, family and friends. Peter's passion for food was inspired by his Mother's and Grandmother's cooking, but at the age of 10 Peter felt he could do it better himself, so he did.
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1 Response to Pasta Carbonara

  1. Liz says:

    Hi Peter,

    I agree with your take on the peasant aspect. I find so much Italian food isn’t the real Italian way in many restaurants. One thing I always forget when making a recipe like this is to reserve some of the pasta water to add to the pasta at serving time if it is too dry. I don’t eat bacon much so I don’t make this dish, but my husband did and you are right – tempering the eggs is important!


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