Spaghetti Carbonara

This in my opinion is the most authentic carbonara recipe using egg yolks and pecorino cheese not cream or milk. It’s simple to make and you only need either pancetta, speck or guanciale. In this recipe, I am using speck. You can get them from most Italian food stores.

Guanciale is pork jowl, the cheek that has been short-cured with salt, sugar and a mixture of spices. It is often used in spaghetti carbonara as the ratio of fat to meat makes it a great base, giving a velvety texture and intense meat flavour.

Pancetta is made from the belly pork like bacon, but usually isn’t smoked. It is commonly used to substituted guanciale.

Speck is made from the hind leg of the pig (or wild boar) like prosciutto, and is cured but lightly smoked. Speck has a higher ratio of meat to fat.


Ingredients (serves 6)

  • 200g Speck cut into small cubes
  • 500g Spaghetti
  • 2 cloves of garlic (crushed)
  • 150g Pecorino cheese (grated)
  • Olive oil
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 1 tsp pepperoncino (hot chilli peppers)
  • 1 tsp dried basil
  • 50-100ml of pasta water
  • Salt
  • Pinch of ground black pepper
  • 2 tsp dried basil
  • Fresh basil

Basic Ingredients for a good Carbonara


Prepare the ingredients. Cut the rinds off the speck, then cut the speck into cubes. Grate the Pecorino cheese. Crush the two cloves of garlic.

Cut the Speck into cubes

Prepare a pan of boiled water with salt added in. Add the spaghetti and cook for 8 minutes (molto al dente). You need approximately 10 minutes for al dente. We will be cooking the spaghetti again, hence keeping it molto al dente.

Boil the spaghetti in a pan of salted water.

In another pan, brown the crushed garlic then add the speck. Fry it until it is crispy, which usually takes around 7-8 minutes. Of course, it depends on how small or big your speck cubes are. You can also use guanciale or pancetta. If you are, they usually only need around 5 minutes.

Now, add the molto al dente spaghetti into the pan with speck. Add a ladle of the pasta water into the pan. Add the dry basil. Turn off the hob and remove the pan from the heat.

Add Spaghetti into the pan with Speck
Add 1 teaspoon of the peperoncino to the egg yolks and grated Pecorino cheese

Add a teaspoon of peperoncino to the egg yolk and add in three quarters of the grated Pecorino cheese. Add the mixture into the spaghetti pan. Mix well.

Dish the spaghetti into pasta bowls. Grate over some fresh black peppercorns. Add some Pecorino cheese. Garnish with fresh basil. Serve whilst hot, and enjoy your Spaghetti Carbonara. Buon Appetito!

My Spaghetti Carbonara
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