Spaghetti carbonara

Spaghetti carbonara

Half-Hour Hungries
30 mins
Cooking time
30 mins
Mark Roper

Most people don’t realise that authentic Italian carbonara recipes don’t use cream. Golden, runny egg yolks are what make this dish creamy and luscious.


Quantity Ingredient
1 tablespoon salt, to add to pasta water
200g spaghetti, snapped in half
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 small onion, finely diced
1 large garlic clove, finely grated or crushed
100g short-cut bacon, cut into 2 cm squares
80g parmesan cheese, grated
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
3 pinches finely ground black pepper
2 egg yolks, whisked
flat-leaf parsley, to garnish, optional


  1. With adult help: Add one tablespoon of salt to a large saucepan and fill it three-quarters of the way up with water you have boiled in a kettle. Heat the salted water over high heat until boiling, then, wearing oven mitts, carefully add the spaghetti. Stir regularly with a long-handled wooden spoon to prevent the pasta sticking. Cook for roughly 12 minutes, or until al dente (cooked through but still firm).
  2. With adult help: While the pasta cooks, heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a large, deep frying pan over medium heat. Fry the onion and garlic until lightly golden, about 3 minutes, stirring regularly. Switch off the heat and transfer the onion and garlic to a small bowl.
  3. With adult help: Heat the remaining tablespoon of olive oil in the same frying pan over medium heat. Fry the bacon pieces for 2–3 minutes, or until lightly golden. Turn off the heat and set the frying pan aside.
  4. In a medium mixing bowl, combine the cheese, salt, pepper, bacon, onion and garlic, and set aside.
  5. With adult help: Wearing oven mitts, carefully remove 60 ml of pasta water from the saucepan and set aside, then pour the cooked spaghetti into a colander positioned in the sink and drain. Return the spaghetti to the saucepan.
  6. Pour the cheese mixture and egg yolks over the hot spaghetti, along with the reserved pasta water – this starchy water will help thicken and cook the sauce. Combine well. The heat from the pasta will cook the egg and melt the cheese. Serve immediately, garnished with parsley.

Time-saving tips

  • Have all your equipment and ingredients ready. Find a kitchen hand to help you prepare the ingredients ahead of time.

    Boil and salt your pasta water while you prepare your ingredients.
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