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Fool-Proof Spaghetti Carbonara

Prep Time: 20 mins
Cook Time:14 mins
Total Time:0 hour(s)34 mins

From Danilo Cortellini, Abruzzo native and former head chef at the Italian Embassy in London, comes this easy, weeknight friendly carbonara recipe. For this particular dish, Chef Cortellini chooses Rustichella d'Abruzzo Spaghettoni, a thicker version of spaghetti that clings onto the creamy carbonara sauce so that every bite is bursting with flavor. What makes this recipe "fool-proof" is the smooth sabayon that serves as the base of the sauce, preventing any undercooked or overcooked eggs in the final dish.  

Recipe by Chef Danilo Cortellini

Serves 4


  • 2 whole eggs
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 14 ounces grated pecorino cheese
  • 3 ounces grated Grana Padano cheese
  • 14 ounces guanciale or pancetta
  • Salt and black pepper to taste


Remove the rind from the guanciale, slice in 1/4 inch thick slices, and chop into thick strips. Gently fry the guanciale in a pan on low heat. This will slowly render the fat and the guanciale will crisp up to golden perfection. When done in about 10-15 minutes, drain the guanciale from the fat and pat dry with paper towel. Dispose 3 quarters of the fat left in the pan while reserving the rest to dress the pasta.

To create the sabayon, whisk the yolks, the whole eggs and the grated cheeses in a large bowl. Now place the bowl on a bain-marie and cook gently while whisking to reach a thick custard-like consistency. It should take about 2-3 minutes. Never allow the water to reach the boiling point or it will scramble the eggs. It is not essential, but if you have a kitchen thermometer it will help you during this step as the sabayon will be ready when reached a temperature of about 143 F.

Drop the Spaghettoni in a large pot of salted boiling water and cook until al dente for about 14 minutes. Stir every now and then. Drain the pasta and make sure to save a mug of the cooking water. Place the pasta into the pan with the remaining fat and mix well. Away from the heat, add the sabayon to the pasta. Then, add a splash of the pasta water to loosen it up and reach a creamy sauce consistency. Stir and toss the pasta in the sauce to make sure it is well coated.

Add the crispy guanciale and abundant freshly ground black pepper. Plate in large pasta bowls and top with extra grated cheese.