Spaghetti Alla Carbonara

Each year, around the time of my birthday, I wander up the road to the gates of Greenwich Park. From that vantage point I can watch thousands of not so lonely long distance runners set off on the London Marathon. It is fun, for a while. Then I can stroll back home and watch the rest on the television, or sit down with the newspaper. What has this to do with food? Well, the night before a marathon pasta meals are usually the thing. It is so called ‘carb-loading’. This is fine, but a long distance runner (over 90 minutes) also needs to add the protein in order to feed the muscles. Far more important, however, is that the other people eating with you need to enjoy the meal too.  So here it is, a classic carbonara – balancing carbohydrates and protein. There are two ways of cooking this, the one that follows is the ‘in the pan method’. I will put the other one on here (Zabaione method) for those who like a bit more of a challenge.

This serves two – so you may want to add more if there is a house full.


  • 1 tablespoon Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1 garlic clove (sliced)
  • 75gm pancetta, cubed
  • 250gm dried spaghetti
  • 2 eggs and 1 egg yoke
  • 25gm pecorino Romano, (finely grated)
  • 25gms parmesan, (finely grated)
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • (Optional Nutmeg)


  1. Cook the spaghetti.
  2. Heat the oil in a large frying pan on a medium heat, add the sliced garlic and cook then remove from the pan leaving the oil and throw away the garlic. Add the pancetta and cook until golden, but not brown.
  3. In a bowl, beat the eggs and egg yoke, stir in the pecorino and most of the parmesan and plenty of black pepper.
  4. Keeping back a small cup of pasta water, drain the pasta and put into the frying pan. Pour in the egg mixture and toss the pasta like a madman – the add some of the reserved spaghetti water to loosen the sauce.
  5. The sauce should adhere to the pasta when it does turn off the heat and add to the plates. Add some more pepper if you wish and a grate of nutmeg with the remaining parmesan.




About Cooking At Zero Degrees

This is a blog (it also works on an ipad and now has a Facebook page) about what we eat at home. Starters, mains, sauces, side dishes, cocktails and links to local shops. It’s all here. Food is fun, it should be fun to make and fun to eat. For some people making a meal is a chore. If it is then don’t do it; but please, it’s better to eat something, anything, that you make at home from scratch, because prepared, packaged supermarket dinners and food have about as much flavour as the plastic or cardboard package they come in. Food cultivation and husbandry is not just a moral argument. Eggs that don’t come from battery hens do taste better, cattle properly reared have more flavour - and just think about it: at its most simple, if they’re not being pumped full of chemicals then you’re not being pumped full of chemicals. How good is that? If you can buy local, use your neighbourhood shops, you will miss them when they are gone. Most of all, have fun making a meal of it! Oh, and why at zero degrees? Because that’s where we live – in Greenwich, London.
This entry was posted in FIRST COURSE, Pasta, Quick Suppers, SECOND COURSE, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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