Creamy carbonara with double pancetta

By Bob Blumer
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Many versions of this Italian classic call for gratuitous amounts of heavy cream as a base for the sauce. I prefer to build the sauce with parmigiano, pecorino, and extra egg yolks. When blended with some of the starchy pasta water, this trio of ingredients creates a sauce that paradoxically is richer and creamier, with more depth of flavor than the cream-based version. To take it over the top, I double down on the pancetta, so that you get more crispy nuggets of cured pork belly with every twirl of the fork.



  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 8 ounces thick-sliced pancetta or thick-sliced bacon, cut into 1/4-inch pieces
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 teaspoons freshly cracked black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1 cup freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano + extra for finishing
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Pecorino
  • 1 best-available egg plus 3 egg yolks
  • Salt
  • 1 pound spaghetti
  • 1 cup chopped parsley


  1. In a large sauté pan over medium-heat, add oil. Add pancetta and cook for about seven minutes, stirring occasionally, until individual pieces are browned and crispy. Turn off heat and add garlic, pepper and chili flakes. Stir for one minute to release their flavors. Transfer the whole lot to a large bowl, being sure to include every drop of the rendered fat. Let cool.
  2. Add Parmigiano, Pecorino, egg and yolks to the pancetta bowl and whisk together thoroughly. Reserve.
  3. Bring a large pot of generously salted water to a boil. Add pasta and cook until al dente. Reserve one cup of pasta water. Drain pasta and transfer it to the pancetta bowl. Add parsley. Toss, adding pasta water a splash at a time to create a smooth, creamy sauce the consistency of heavy cream. In all likelihood, you will come close to using up all the water.
  4. To serve: Serve in individual pre-warmed bowls, or familia style, and finish with a sprinkle of Parmigiano.

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