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Simple Carbonara

Course: Main
Servings: 4
Author: Hip Foodie Mom


  • 4 oz. guanciale salt-cured pork jowl, pancetta (Italian bacon), or bacon
  • 2 oz. Pecorino Romano cheese grated
  • 5 large egg yolks
  • 1 large egg
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 lb. bucatini or spaghetti
  • kosher salt


  • Remove 4 oz. guanciale from packaging and cut into about 1x¼" strips. Finely grate 2 oz. cheese and set aside one-quarter of cheese for later.
  • Whisk 5 egg yolks and 1 whole egg in a medium bowl until no streaks remain, then stir in remaining grated cheese. Add several cranks of pepper and set aside.
  • Using a large Dutch oven or other heavy pot, heat 2 tablespoons olive oil over medium heat. Add the guanciale and cook, stirring occasionally, until crisp around the edges, about 7 to 10 minutes.
  • Remove pot from heat. Fish out the guanciale and transfer to a small bowl. Pour the fat into a heatproof measuring cup, then add back about 3 tablespoons of the pork fat to your pot. Discard any remaining fat.
  • Cook 1 lb. pasta in boiling salted water, stirring occasionally, cook to al dente. Just before pasta is finished, scoop out and reserve 1 3/4 cups pasta cooking liquid with same heatproof measuring cup.
  • Add 1 cup of the reserved pasta cooking liquid to your pot and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Drain pasta in a colander, then quickly transfer to Dutch oven.
  • Working with your stovetop OFF (no heat): Whisk ¼ cup pasta cooking liquid into reserved egg mixture, then very slowly stream into Dutch oven, stirring constantly using tongs, until cheese is melted and egg is thickened to form a glossy sauce. Season with salt, if needed. Thin sauce with remaining ½ cup pasta cooking liquid if needed, adding a tablespoonful at a time, until it's the consistency of heavy cream (you most likely won’t use all of it). ALTERNATE method: if you find that your ingredients are not hot enough and you are not forming a glossy sauce, mix everything together in a heat safe bowl over a double boiler. BUT work and toss together quickly and be careful not to cook your eggs!
  • Mix in guanciale and divide pasta among bowls. Top with pepper and reserved cheese.