Martha Collison's recipe has a short ingredient list and uses of store-cupboard staples. Guanciale (cured pork cheek or jowl) is the correct cut of meat to use, but this can be difficult to source, so pancetta will do a similar job.
- CourseMain meal
- Prepare10 mins
- Cook15 mins
- Total time25 mins
Bring 2L water to the boil in a large saucepan and add the salt. Add the spaghetti once it’s at a rolling boil and cook for 9-11 minutes until al dente.
Meanwhile, place a deep frying pan over a medium heat. Add the pancetta, and when the fat begins to sizzle, flatten the garlic cloves using the back of a knife and add them to the pan. Cook for 4-5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the pancetta is crisp and cooked through. Turn off the heat and remove the garlic (see tips).
In a small bowl or jug, beat together the eggs, egg yolks, cheese and a generous amount of cracked black pepper until smooth.
Using tongs, transfer the cooked spaghetti into the pancetta pan. Toss in the pancetta, until completely coated in the garlic-infused fat. The pan should have cooled slightly so it won’t scramble the eggs.
Add the sauce on top of the pasta, with a small ladleful (about 75ml) pasta water, then vigorously toss the spaghetti using the tongs. Continue to agitate the pan, adding more cooking water if needed, until the sauce is creamy, heated through and coats every strand of spaghetti. Serve immediately, with a generous amount of cheese.
Try not to use bacon, as the higher fat content in pancetta will create a more flavoursome sauce.
Carbonara’s creaminess is all about eggs, so pick high-quality free-range ones with golden yolks for the best flavour.
Infusing the pancetta with garlic adds a subtle accent to this dish. The cloves aren’t used in the finished dish, so I recommend chopping them finely, ready to use in garlic butter (the perfect partner to carbonara – garlic bread!) or to freeze and use in soups or ragùs.
For a spicy kick to this classic dish, swap the pancetta for a 40g pack Cooks’ Ingredients ’Nduja. Fry in 1 tbsp olive oil until fragrant (omit the garlic), then add the pasta.
Fry off a handful of chopped chestnut mushrooms in 1 tbsp olive oil until crisp. Finely chop the garlic cloves and stir them through until sizzling, then add the spaghetti.