Home Food and Drink Classic Spaghetti Carbonara

Classic Spaghetti Carbonara

by Penny Sadler

If you’re a regular reader, or even an occasional one, you know I love Italy, and though I don’t think I’ve ever said it, I do love Italian food.

I was recently in Venice visiting with friends, and they made the most incredible meal for us to share.

I try to eat healthy and minimize wheat, dairy, and sugar, but when a friend says, “I’m going to make a spaghetti carbonara today, are you interested?” I said, “Hell yes!”

Spaghetti Carbonara is actually a traditional Roman recipe, and can also be made with fettucini, rigatoni, or bucatini. It’s pretty quick to make and the ingredients are simple, but as I observed, there’s a bit of timing to the recipe that is important. My venetian friend, Alberto, makes it with milk.  Maybe that’s his local adaptation? Anyway, gather up the ingredients and start cooking!



4 egg yolks (small to medium eggs)
1 c. milk
a pinch of salt
olive oil
1 medium size onion, minced
2 c. bacon or pancetta, about 1/2 cup per serving, diced
1 c. grated parmesan
pasta, enough for 4 servings
pepper to taste

spaghetti Carbonara ingredients @PennySadler 2013

Place a large pot of salted water on the heat to boil for the pasta.
Mix the egg yolks, milk, and salt together.

spaghetti Carbonara @PennySadler 2013

In a large skillet over medium-low heat, saute the minced onion in olive oil until the onions are translucent. Add the bacon to the onions and cook until it is lightly browned.

bacon and onion mixure for spaghetti carbonara @PennySadler 2013

Meanwhile the water for the pasta should be boiling. Cook the pasta according to the directions on the box – or slightly less time, as it’s going to be cooked a bit more later.

spaghetti carbonara @PennySadler 2013

Add a cup of grated parmesan cheese to the egg and milk mixture and whip it well.

spaghetti carbonara &#64PennySadler 2013

Now here’s where the timing all comes together! When the bacon and onion mixture is ready, hopefully the pasta will be ready, too. Your bacon/onion mixture should still be keeping warm on medium/low heat.

To the bacon/onion mixture, add the pasta. Stir it around. Then add the egg, milk and cheese mixture to the bacon and onion.

Stir it well to mix and cook the egg mixture into the pasta, about 5 minutes.

spaghetti carbonara @PennySadler 2013

spaghetti carbonara @PennySadler 2013

That’s it. Plate the pasta and enjoy with a nice red wine, like the Sangiovese I brought from Emilia Romagna.
Buon appetito!

spaghetti carbonara @PennySadler 2013

Many thanks to Alberto and Bianca for hosting me and for the food inspiration.

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Marco December 25, 2013 at 4:45 am

Honestly it looks awful.
I don’t understand the no peas in the title, since carbonara has no peas on the first place…..or milk…or bacon…

Penny Sadler December 26, 2013 at 1:48 pm

Well fair enuf. Can’t please everyone. It’s not my recipe. I can tell you it tasted DELICIOUS.

Mary @ Green Global Travel November 7, 2013 at 4:41 pm

Looks delicious! I wonder if gluten-free rice noodles would work.

Penny Sadler November 7, 2013 at 11:20 pm

LOL that sounds awful!

The Barefoot Nomad November 6, 2013 at 3:45 pm

Oh yum! I should really try making this for my kids. We call my little five year old “The Baconator”, so she would adore this recipe.

Penny Sadler November 6, 2013 at 4:46 pm

haha that’s funny. you really can’t go wrong with bacon, pasta and parmesan. 🙂

Terry at Overnight New York November 6, 2013 at 2:09 pm

Wow — you can almost taste it onscreen. Gorgeous!

Gabi (The Nomadic Family) November 2, 2013 at 3:04 am

Seems so nice.Really going to try this myself.

Marina K. Villatoro November 1, 2013 at 12:29 am

Yummmm. I miss good ole fashion pasta with carbonara sauce.

Cat of Sunshine and Siestas October 30, 2013 at 4:17 am

One of my favorites! I make mine a bit different since I don’t like eggs, using cream instead. We usually make ours with green peppers and onions, too.

Nicole | The Wondernuts October 28, 2013 at 1:56 pm

I’m going to try this!

Penny Sadler October 28, 2013 at 5:39 pm

Someone said it was a heart attack on plate.

Cathy Sweeney October 23, 2013 at 9:16 pm

Hell yes, I’ll have some! That really does look awesome. What nice friends you have to cook up such a feast. I know exactly what Sangiovese you’re talking about. Perfect pairing.

Penny Sadler October 23, 2013 at 9:19 pm

They are nice! And good cooks too. It was worth dragging that bottle to Venice.

Jacqui October 22, 2013 at 3:33 am

Hi Penny,
Looks Yum! 🙂 Yes timing is important. When I first made this, the sauce came out more like scrambled egg! Have pinned your post 🙂

Penny Sadler October 23, 2013 at 9:18 pm

But delicious scrambled eggs – yes? 🙂


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