11.124 Spaghetti alla Carbonara


8 (Fri) May 2020

Spaghetti alla Carbonara


by me

at home

-Dasmariñas Village, Makati, Metro Manila, Philippines-

with the Family

Project Cook Every Silver Spoon Spaghetti (CESSS).  To level up my skills in La Cucina Italiana, I will try the 11 recipes for spaghetti as featured in the seminal Italian cookbook The Silver Spoon (see The Silver Spoon).  Spaghetti alla Carbonara (spaghetti carbonara) is the 6th in the series.

Carbonara is an Italian sauce.  Essentially egg + cheese (typically Parmesan and/or Romano) + cured/smoked pork (typically guanciale or pancetta), mixed with pasta (typically spaghetti or fettucine).  While the etymology of the name is subject to debate, the thoery that would seem to make the most sense is that it relates to “carbonata,” which refers to cured pork that’s been smoked by charcoal (carboni).  Incidentally, “alla carbonara” in Sicilian cuisine is applied to a dish made with squid ink, apparently in reference to the color.  The origin of the dish is also unknown, though it only began to appear in cookbooks by that name starting in the 1950s.

I was surprised to find that traditional carbonara does not involve cream.


As with the other recipes in The Silver Spoon, the minimal number of ingredients is remarkable – here, only 6: Parmesan + Romano + pancetta + eggs + garlic (only sautéed for a couple minutes to release the aroma, then discarded) + butter, along with olive oil, salt, and pepper.

So counterintuitive to cook bacon in butter.

Unable to acquire pancetta, as called for in the recipe – oh, the sacrifices we must make while under Enhanced Community Quarantine – I substituted picnic bacon.

Parmesan (left) was perhaps a bit nuttier than the Romano (right), which was perhaps a bit tangier.

In a side-by-side comparison of freshly grated Parmesan and freshly grated Romano, I couldn’t tell a significance difference.


Generally not a fan myself of creamy white sauce, I was very happy with this one, as were W and the boys.

I am especially glad that I can make it with ingredients that I always have on hand, no need for cream.


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