Carbonara: history and recipe

Carbonara is a dish loved by everyone. Always considered one of the traditional dishes of Roman cuisine, its origins, however, are Neapolitan.

Its birth is recently, about 1944 when an American soldier came in Italy. In fact, the American troops liked very much our stalls where you can found original “street food” like pizzas fold to wallet, supplì and specially spaghetti. They were served with cacio and pepe (cheese and pepper) sauce because tomato was prohibited (it stained white aprons).

So, in the famous image of Pulcinella who eats spaghetti with the hands we can notice how the pasta is white!

Carbonara – A bit of history

Back at the history, in the 1944 an American soldier sorted spaghetti but it was so poor that he added at the pasta his ration K, the preparation for all soldiers. It was composed by powdered eggs, bacon and liquid cream. The result was perfect… It was born Carbonara!

The news ran in all the district and everyone wanted to taste this new plate. After this, the recipe got better and all ingredients was balanced.

On 1946 the dish had already spread to Rome, after its release. The first tavern which served Carbonara in Rome was been in the Vicolo della Scrofa. The dish later has also spread in the rest of Italy and in the rest of the world.

From the other version, Carbonara was invented by carbonai (charcoal burner) that in Rome they was called carbonari. They prepared this dish from ingredients easy to find and store: it can be an evolution from a dish of ancient Lazio origins called “cacio e ova” (cheese and egss). According to this theory, the name of Carbonara is linked to the presence of ground black pepper which in the traditional recipe should blacken the dough to the point of making it appear covered with coal dust.

Whatever its origin, one thing is certain: Carbonara has become a great classic of Italian traditional cuisine! A dish loved by everyone, copied all over the world, but only Italians know how to cook really well! There are many variants in which someone use bacon rather than guanciale (cheek) or who use zucchini rather than bacon (on vegetarian style).

The sauce for the Carbonara is ready in a couple of minutes. All what we need is guanciale (spiced, cut into Strips), cream on a base of egg yolks (in our version) and a lot of grated Parmesan (Pecorino) cheese.

In its simplicity and wealth of raw materials, the recipe of Spaghetti alla carbonara is a close relative of the other two authentic Italian recipes: the Amatriciana and Gricia!


Carbonara – The recipe


500 g of spaghetti

150 g of bacon

200 g of parmesan cheese (or half of parmesan and half of pecorino cheese if you find it)

4 yolks

Salt and pepper to taste


Preparing time 15 min

Cooking time 10 min

Serves 4




Put a large saucepan of water on to boil, once it is boiling, add salt, put spaghetti and cook as long

as it says on the package.

Meanwhile water boiling chop the 150g bacon in 1 cm thick cubes, having first removed any rind

add some pepper and fry bacon in the pan about 5 minutes, but be careful not to get it burned.

Grate parmesan (parmesan + pecorino) cheese.

Take yolks and mix them with parmesan (parmesan + pecorino) cheese and quite a lot of pepper in

a bowl.

Mix spaghetti with bacon, take them off from the fire, add the mixture of yolks and cheese and add

Two cup of cooking water, and keep going to mix so fast.

Serve immediately with grated cheese on.

Enjoy your Carbonara!



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