Skip to main content

How to make perfect spaghetti carbonara

Spaghetti carbonara is one of the ultimate pasta recipes everyone should know how to make. In an extract from the River Cafe's new cookbook for children, The River Cafe Look Book, we find out how to do it right
Matthew Donaldson

Warm the eggs and Parmesan by adding a spoonful of water from the pasta pot as this will stop them from scrambling.

Next on The River Cafe's cooking list, try their simple cavolo nero rigatoni 

Recipe extracted from The River Cafe Look Book: Recipes for Kids of all Ages  by Ruth Rogers, Sian Wyn Owen and Joseph Trivelli  (Phaidon, £24.95)

See all the best recipes from the House & Garden archive.

MAY WE SUGGEST: The best cookbooks to gift or be gifted



1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
150g (5 ½ oz) sliced pancetta, cut into thin matchsticks
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 red onion, finely chopped
200g (2 ¼ cups) freshly grated Parmesan, plus extra to serve
4 medium (large) egg yolks
300g (10 ½ oz) spaghetti
  1. Method

    Step 1

    Heat the olive oil in a large frying pan over a medium heat.

    Step 2

    Add the pancetta with a pinch of black pepper.

    Step 3

    Fry over a medium heat for 5 minutes.

    Step 4

    Add the onion and fry for 5 minutes until it is golden.

    Step 5

    Remove the pan from the heat.

    Step 6

    In a bowl, use a fork to mix the Parmesan with the egg yolks.

    Step 7

    Bring a large saucepan of salted water to the boil.

    Step 8

    Add the spaghetti and cook according to the packet (package) instructions until firm (al dente).

    Step 9

    Drain, reserving 250ml (8 fl oz/1 cup) of the cooking water.

    Step 10

    With the pan still off the heat, mix the hot spaghetti in with the pancetta and onion mixture using a wooden spoon.

    Step 11

    Stir in the egg mixture and the reserved pasta water.

    Step 12

    Mix well until it forms a creamy sauce.

    Step 13

    Serve immediately with extra grated Parmesan on top.

Read More
Penne all'amatriciana