Spaghetti with bacon and eggs

My good friend Greg Burke, FoxNews’s guy in Rome, has a great piece on the Roman classic  spaghetti alla carbonara.

Check it out!   Let’s have all you WDTPRSers spike his stats!   Leave comments!

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. Larry says:

    Sounds like a great dish thanks for the directons Fr. Z Got to try this at home.

  2. Larry: It is a little tricky. Also, the whole “bacon” thing is also a problem. You need the right stuff. Not just any bacon will do. If you don’t have access to pancetta (or guanciale) at least avoid anything “sweet”, such as that bacon you can get in the USA with has maple.

  3. Liam says:

    1. No cream. Repeat: no cream. (The video was correct in not mentioning cream, but there are so many American ersatz recipes that do that this needs to be emphasized) Despite any recipe bearing the carbonara name, if it’s got cream in it, it’s a heterodox alfredo. Cream ruins carbonara beyond recognition.

    2. You can use a bit of the pasta cooking water to temper the egg-cheese mixture so it doesn’t curdle.

    3. Serve on warmed dishes – if you serve it on a tepid or cool/cold dish, it may coagulate in an unsightly way. Generally, pasta should be served on warmed dishes. Warming dishes is the oft-neglected step in many recipes because it’s assumed you know to do that on your own. (When I am boiling pasta water, I use a lot and ladle a cup in each serving bowl to warm the bowl while the pasta cooks – when the pasta is just about done, I dump out the water and dry the bowls; if you just have one bowl for one person, you can invert it over a splatter screen over the boiling pasta to steam it warm…)

    4. Fr Z’s comment about the meat is correct – heavily salted or hickory-smoked American bacon is not the right thing (despite the lore about American GI’s bringing our style of bacon to Rome after WW2). Pancetta is salt-cured, but not smoked and is a better fit than most American bacon. Guanciale (hard to get in the US) has the most dulcet fat.

  4. Mila says:

    Great piece! Father, did you watch the one on gelato? I’m happy to be on Greg’s contacts list with you!

  5. Mila: I didn’t see that one!

  6. Syriacus says:

    After having had dinner with the 100% Genoese recipe of ‘trofie with pesto’ (, suppose Fr. tried it at least once:) , I am now looking forward to prepare a (“orthodox”) carbonara soon : with no white of eggs and no cream at all . Most Italians, I think, use a common diced pancetta bacon, even smoked… Purism here often reaches a compromise with practicality or fantasy. In Italy, all must be orthodox, in principle, but in fact every Italian is a founder of a private gastronomical cult, where he/she is the best cook in the country, and so can variate ad libitum/arbitrium a given recipe (I mean ‘public domain’ recipes, and not ‘family tradition’ ones…;) : at the core of this is that, I think, most Italians can cook so well, that they forget about strict recipes, focusing rather on method and technique in some food preparation ‘fundamentals’. That is: pasta must be al dente, soffritto must have onions ‘dorate’, parmigiano and pecorino must be of first quality, but…details of a sauce are not really considered dogma, in Italian everyday kitchen life.. :)

    P.S.: 1) pepper in the carbonara is a must, but it must not be too much.
    2) no cream, but: just one little 10% fat coffee cream might have some good effect, I suggest..
    2) I personally like when not all the egg is cooked and so you have as a result a (bit) fluid sauce, so that carbonara should not seem like a kind of ‘scrambled eggs & pasta’… :)

  7. Mmm, just had some the other day right off the Piazza Sancti Apostoli. Although they didn’t use spaghetti, which really surprised me. There’s also a really good carbonara at a restaurant at the very end of the Borgo Pio (closer to the Castel Sant’Angelo end of the street).

    I don’t think it’s the healthiest dish, but I think that is probably what makes it sooooooooo good.

  8. Syriacus says:

    I report (de relato) the opinion of my local (Genoa, northern Italy, not Rome) butcher : he suggests ‘guanciale’ for the amatriciana, and pancetta affumicata (smoked Italian bacon) for carbonara…

    Guanciale is obtained from the pig’s cheek and neck (‘guancia’ means ‘cheek’ in Italian) , while ‘pancetta’, from the abdomen (‘pancia’ means ‘belly’, in Italian) .

    (I have still to try to ‘scientifically’ ‘taste the difference’ in a proper ‘test’… :P )

    Here is an interesting page in Italian :

    and another in English: .

    [Btw: today as Sunday’s mamma’s guest I had pasta (penne) al forno, with ragù di carne e besciamella! – Fr. should try and/or explain a day this popular alternative to the slight trickier ‘lasagne alla bolognese’ :]

  9. Mila says:

    Father, here’s the link for the gelato piece:

    I also forwarded Greg’s e-mail to you. Enjoy!

  10. Johnny Domer says:

    Fr. Z,

    Everybody seems to give you a hard time about posting on food, but I always find it fun. I just made and ate some spaghetti carbonara thanks to this post; it was delish! God bless!

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