Pasta alla Carbonara

By Chef Paul Moran

Chef Paul shares one of his favourite one-pot classic recipes…

40 min cook time

Serves 2

Why we like it

According to legend, the classic dish known as Pasta alla Carbonara earned its name, which translates to 'in the style of charcoal burners,' due to its reputation as a hearty and satisfying meal enjoyed by hardworking coal miners while on the job.

However, some believe the dish may have originated in a small restaurant in Rome called 'La Carbonaro.'

While its true origin may never be known, the combination of tempered egg yolks, grated cheese, ground black pepper, and cured pork create an unmistakably rich, velvety, and enjoyable meal.


2 servings

Preparation Notes

Although many traditional carbonara recipes call for guanciale, the cured meat from a pig’s jowl, this ingredient may prove difficult to find for some.

Pancetta, cured pork coppa, or bacon are suitable substitutes that can provide a comparable flavour.

Speaking of tradition, carbonara is not often made with onions, but when finely minced, they can melt into the dish and add an enjoyable and subtle sweetness.

When cooking pasta, we highly recommend salting your water to achieve a ratio of approximately 3%, similar to the salinity of the ocean.

Making the recipe

  1. Step 1


    • In a large pot, bring 4 litres of water to a rolling boil.
    • While waiting, separate the egg yolks. Finely mince the onion (if using), and thinly slice the pork into 1/16 of an inch, then into julienne/matchsticks.
    • Grate parmesan into a separate bowl and set aside.
    Next step
  2. Step 2


    • Once water reaches a boil, add a generous amount of salt, followed by the pasta. Stir the pasta within the first 2-3 minutes to keep the noodles from sticking together.
    • Cook until al dente according to the package’s instructions, about 10 minutes.
    Next step
  3. Step 3


    • While the pasta is cooking, combine the egg yolks with about ¼ cup of pasta water in the bowl with the grated parmesan.
    • Use a spatula to temper the yolks by gently stirring until fully incorporated.
    • Season to taste with freshly ground black pepper and salt.
    Next step
  4. Step 4

    Sauce & Serve

    • When the pasta is cooked to al dente, reserve about a cup of the pasta water, then remove from heat, drain well, and return pot back to the stove.
    • Add the cured pork to the same pot used to cook the pasta and allow it to 'wilt' for around one minute.
    • If using, add the finely minced onions, along with a pinch of salt, and stir to allow them to soften.
    • Deglaze with a splash of pasta water, then reintroduce the cooked pasta back to the pot.
    • If the mixture is dry, feel free to add more pasta water to further loosen it.
    • Off heat, add the butter, egg yolks, and parmesan sauce, then slowly stir to emulsify.
    • Separate into 2 large portions or serve family-style, garnished with a generous amount of sauce and additional grated parmesan.