This is our take on a classic Spaghetti alla Carbonara, done the authentic way.

While there are countless variations out there, nothing beats the original. Using just five simple ingredients - pasta, guanciale, eggs, Pecorino, and black pepper - this dish embodies Italian simplicity at its finest, without a hint of cream in sight.

Serve immediately or grab a fork and eat directly from the pan (no judgment here!). Buon appetito!


Prep time 10 minutes
Cook 10 minutes


  • 200g piece of guanciale, skin removed and discarded, cut into 1cm x 3cm lardons (see note)
  • 400g dried spaghetti
  • 4 eggs, lightly whisked
  • 40g finely grated pecorino cheese, plus extra to serve
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Mild-flavoured extra virgin olive oil, optional

1. Cook the spaghetti in a large saucepan of well-salted boiling water for 8–10 minutes until al dente.

2. Meanwhile, render the fat from the guanciale in a large frying pan over medium–high heat, adding a splash of oil if necessary to the pan. Stir occasionally for 3–4 minutes until starting to crisp. Use a slotted spoon to transfer the guanciale from the pan to a plate, then remove the pan from the heat.

3. Whisk the eggs and pecorino together in a bowl and season with salt and pepper.

4. Drain the pasta, reserving 2 tablespoons of the cooking water, and put the pasta into the frying pan with the fat from the guanciale.

5. Whisk the reserved pasta water into the egg mixture, to help temper it and bring it to a similar temperature to the pasta. Add to the pasta and toss immediately for 20–30 seconds until the pasta is coated and sauce begins to thicken. Toss the guanciale through and season with plenty of freshly ground black pepper to taste. Check the seasoning (you may need to add a little extra salt, depending on the saltiness of the guanciale and pecorino). Serve immediately, scattered with extra pecorino.

NOTES: Guanciale is an Italian cured pork cheek or jowl, aged for several months. It is available from specialist butchers and selected delicatessens. Alternatively, use pancetta or bacon.

For a richer sauce, add an extra egg yolk to the egg mixture.


This recipe has been taken straight from the pages of MEAT: The Ultimate Companion by Anthony Puharich & Libby Travers. Hungry for more? Grab yourself a signed copy of the book here.