Matt's Recipe Book

Spaghetti Carbonara

Prep time5 minutes
Cooking time10 minutes

It doesn't get much simpler than this. A go-to meal for me if I don't have much time. It's made most traditionally with pancetta, but regular bacon, ham, or even chorizo are pretty good too.

You can skip the meat for a veggie option, and a couple of pinches of smoked paprika still captures the flavour of cooked bacon.


  • 100g pancetta
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 50g parmesan
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 200g spaghetti
  • black pepper


  1. Start cooking the pasta, according to the instructions, until al dente. This takes around 10 minutes. Don't drain it when done – we want to keep the cooking water.
  2. Dice the pancetta if required and add to a largish cold frying pan or cast iron. Turn the heat on to medium low and allow the fat to render out.
  3. Peel and lightly crush the clove of garlic with your hand, then drop it whole into the pan with the pancetta.
  4. Finely grate the parmesan and combine with the egg yolks in a small bowl. Beat until combined, and season with a little pepper.
  5. When the pasta is ready, remove the garlic from the pancetta and discard. Use a pair of tongs to grab the spaghetti and drop it into the pan with the pancetta – you should end up with a good amount of pasta water in there too.Mix it around to coat it with the fat.
  6. Remove the pan from the heat and pour in the eggs and cheese. Stir gently until a smooth, glossy sauce develops, adding a couple of spoonfuls of pasta water as you go.
  7. Serve with some extra black pepper and parmesan.