If you’re looking for an easy, new recipe to cook for dinner, why not try the Italian dish, spaghetti Carbonara? Made from a delicious, creamy sauce featuring smokey bacon or guanciale and raw, beaten eggs, spaghetti Carbonara is a quick and easy dinner idea you can master with just a few quality ingredients. We’ve compiled a list of the 5 must-have ingredients you’ll need to recreate this dish, many of which you probably already have in your pantry!

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Spaghetti Carbonara

The History of Carbonara

As far as traditional Italian recipes go, the Carbonara is actually fairly new. The history of this dish is steeped in both fact and myth as is common for many dishes from Italy’s “cucina povera”. The first trace of the Carbonara begins in the Lazio region near Rome around 1944.

Legend has it that since food was scarce during the war, this dish was born by combining the rations of bacon that American soldiers had brought with them from home with the fresh eggs available from local farmhouses. Romans quickly made this recipe their own by changing the American bacon into the traditional roman guanciale (pork cheek).

5 Must-have Ingredients

Ready to recreate this Roman classic at home? Here are the must-have ingredients you’ll need to get this dish right.

Spaghetti Carbonara Recipe

1. Quality Spaghetti

Pasta might be the world’s favorite food, but when it comes to pasta brands, not all of them are alike! Italians know that when cooking a pasta dish, the quality of the pasta used can make all the difference. When choosing pasta for your Carbonara, the traditional choice is always spaghetti.

To ensure quality and provide an authentic taste to your Carbonara, choose a brand of Italian spaghetti such as Barilla, De Cecco, or La Molisana. If you want to change things up every once in a while, you can also use rigatoni or mezze maniche pasta.

2. Guanciale

Guanciale is an essential part of any Carbonara, and it adds a smoky and meaty flavor to the dish. Before cooking your guanciale, make sure to remove the rind but don’t throw it away! It can be used to flavor other dishes such as soups and other pasta dishes. We know that guanciale might be difficult to find in your area, so feel free to replace it with bacon.

3. Eggs

Since much of the flavor in a Carbonara comes from raw, beaten eggs, make sure you choose the freshest eggs that you can find. Every Carbonara recipe calls for a different amount of whole eggs and egg yolks, so experiment with different recipes until you find the one that you like best.

4. Pecorino Cheese

Pecorino Romano cheese is an Italian cheese made from 100% sheep’s milk. It’s one of the oldest Italian cheeses, and it’s even received Protected Designation of Origin status under European Union law. While pecorino cheese adds an unmistakable smokey and creamy texture to a carbonara, you can always replace it with Parmesan cheese if that’s all you can find.

5. Fresh Ground Pepper

Lastly, any good Carbonara always finishes off with a healthy dose of cracked black pepper. To get the most flavor out of the dish, use a spice mill to grind your own peppercorns. Now all that’s left is to enjoy your authentic Carbonara pasta!