Guide To Prepare Pasta Carbonara Recipe New York Times Quick

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There’s a reason why Pasta Carbonara is a beloved classic. The combination of rich, creamy sauce clinging to perfectly al dente spaghetti, punctuated by salty pancetta and the sharp bite of Pecorino Romano cheese is pure culinary bliss. However, the recipe published by The New York Times, while not bad by any means, leaves a little room for improvement. This guide will not only walk you through a more nuanced approach to Carbonara, but also explore its history and variations to create the perfect version for your tastebuds.

A Dive into Carbonara’s History

Spaghetti Carbonara
Spaghetti Carbonara

The exact origin story of Carbonara is a little murky, but it’s widely believed to have emerged in central Italy sometime in the mid-20th century. There are a few competing theories about its creation:

  • Post-WWII Theory: This theory suggests that Carbonara emerged from the resourceful use of pantry staples available to American soldiers stationed in Italy after WWII. Eggs and hard cheeses were readily available, and bacon (or pancetta) could be easily procured.
  • Coal Miner’s Dish: Another theory suggests Carbonara originated as a hearty meal for coal miners in central Italy. The combination of eggs, cheese, and cured pork provided a quick and filling meal.
  • Regardless of its exact origin, Carbonara quickly gained popularity due to its simplicity and deliciousness.


    1 pound dried spaghetti (high-quality durum wheat is recommended)

  • 4 large egg yolks
  • 1 whole egg, lightly beaten
  • ½ cup freshly grated Pecorino Romano cheese, plus extra for serving
  • ¼ cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese (optional)
  • 4 ounces pancetta, diced
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • ¼ cup dry white wine (optional)
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • Kosher salt

  • Step-by-Step Directions:

    1. Prepare the Pasta Water: Bring a large pot of salted water to a rolling boil. Aim for 4-5 quarts of water for every pound of pasta.

    2. Cook the Pancetta: While the water heats, heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the pancetta and cook until it starts to render its fat and crisp up slightly, about 5-7 minutes. Remove the pancetta with a slotted spoon and set aside on a paper towel-lined plate.

    3. Whisk the Eggs: In a large bowl, whisk together the egg yolks, whole egg, Pecorino Romano cheese, and Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese (if using). Season generously with black pepper.

    4. Cook the Pasta: Add the spaghetti to the boiling water and cook according to package instructions, typically 8-12 minutes, until al dente. Reserve about 1 cup of the pasta water before draining.

    5. Emulsify the Sauce: While the pasta is cooking, return the pancetta skillet over low heat. Add the white wine (if using) and simmer for a minute or two, scraping up any browned bits from the bottom of the pan. Deglaze the pan with a splash of reserved pasta water if needed.

    6. Combine Everything: Once the pasta is cooked, immediately transfer it to the pan with the pancetta and wine mixture. Remove the pan from the heat. Working quickly, pour the egg mixture into the pan and toss with the pasta and pancetta using tongs. The heat from the pasta and pan will gently cook the eggs, creating a creamy sauce.

    7. Adjust Consistency: If the sauce seems too thick, gradually add reserved pasta water, a tablespoon at a time, until it reaches a desired creamy consistency that can coat the pasta without being runny.

    8. Serve Immediately: Plate the Carbonara and garnish with additional grated Pecorino Romano cheese, fresh cracked black pepper, and a sprinkle of the reserved pancetta for an extra textural element.


    Don’t Overcook the Eggs: The key to a successful Carbonara is preventing the eggs from scrambling. The residual heat from the pasta and pan should be enough to gently cook the eggs, resulting in a creamy and luxurious sauce.

  • Use High-Quality Ingredients: Fresh, high-quality ingredients will make a world of difference in your Carbonara. Opt for good quality Pecorino Romano cheese and, if using, Parmigiano-Reggiano.
  • Reserve Pasta Water: Starchy pasta water is your friend when it comes to achieving a smooth and creamy sauce. The starch helps the sauce cling to the pasta for a more satisfying bite.