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LivingFood and DrinkAlison Roman’s Spaghetti Carbonara

Alison Roman’s Spaghetti Carbonara

by Susan Hanna

I love spaghetti carbonara and this recipe from Alison Roman yields great results. Thick guanciale or pancetta works best for this version, although you can use bacon. Brown the meat and set aside. Whisk together egg, egg yolk, garlic, cheese, salt and pepper. Cook the pasta and while still underdone, transfer to skillet with some of the pasta water. Cook for about a minute, add egg and cheese mixture and toss until the sauce emulsifies. Serve topped with black pepper, cheese and the crispy meat.

Serves 1.

Avoiding Additives and Preservatives

Look for pork without additives, preserved with celery salt – I used President’s Choice pancetta. Genuine Parmesan cheese contains no colour additives or preservatives – look for the name of the cheese stamped on the rind. For more recipes using all-natural ingredients, visit Eye For a Recipe.


  • 1 tablespoon (15 ml) olive oil
  • A slice of guanciale or pancetta or bacon, about ¼ inch (0.6 cm) thick, cut into ¼-inch (0.6-cm) pieces (about 2 oz/55g)
  • A handful of spaghetti (about 3 ounces/85 g)
  • Kosher salt
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 1 garlic clove, finely grated (optional)
  • About ½ cup (125 ml) finely grated parmesan and/or pecorino cheese, plus more for grating on top
  • Freshly ground black pepper


  1. Heat olive oil and guanciale or pancetta in a medium skillet over medium heat until most of the fat has started rendering out and the meat starts to brown, 4–6 minutes. Remove from heat and using a spoon, transfer the meat to a small bowl, leaving the fat behind.
  2. Meanwhile, whisk egg, egg yolk, garlic, and ½ cup (125 ml) cheese in a medium bowl. Season with a little salt and lots of black pepper.
  3. Cook pasta in a medium pot of salted boiling water about halfway through (it should be malleable but still just before al dente).
  4. Return the skillet with the fat to medium heat and using tongs, place the pasta in the skillet (this means you don’t have to drain the pasta and worry about reserving the pasta water, it just stays in the pot), and add in about ½ cup (125 ml) pasta water, swirling to scrape up all the sticky, porky bits. Cook here for a minute or so.
  5. Whisk in ¾ cup (187 ml) pasta water to the egg/cheese mixture and then add pasta to that bowl, using your tongs to toss, toss, toss.
  6. Return the pasta and all the sauce to the skillet over medium heat (it will look watery and soupy). Cook the pasta and continue to toss, moving the skillet and the pasta, letting the sauce come together and become totally emulsified and creamy. If you notice any bits of scrambled eggs, your heat is too high — remove it from the heat and let it cool before continuing.
  7. Just before it looks thick enough, remove it from the heat, and yeah, keep tossing. Toss it! Add more pasta water if it’s looking a bit dry (this pasta goes from saucy to sticky very quickly, pasta water will keep you saucy).
  8. Transfer it to a bowl or eating vessel of your choice. Top with more black pepper, parmesan cheese, and a sprinkle of the crisp pancetta.

From Alison Roman





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