Spaghetti Carbonara

We first ate this  in Rome, many years ago, on our first holiday away together. We were so broke and it was one of the cheapest things on the menu, that we ended up eating it most days (what a hardship!). I have spent the last 20 years trying to find a restaurant in Ireland that serves a decent Carbonara, and sad to say, I have never found one..

So here it is; my best effort at recreating a memory…



Pot for pasta

Saucepan for sauce

Med sized jug or bowl

Pasta bowls (heated)



(Feeds 4-6)

  • 4oz of pancetta, or unsmoked bacon, in chunky pieces if possible
  • half a medium onion, finely chopped
  • 1 clove of garlic finely chopped
  • 2 egg yolks (as fresh and free range as possible)
  • 4fl oz. whipping cream (double cream is too rich, I think)
  • 2oz of freshly ground Parmesan cheese with some shavings for serving
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • pasta of your choice (I still prefer spaghetti for this)




The trick here is to have everything ready before you start to cook, because the whole thing takes about 10 seconds to put together. I tend not to use any salt in this, as there is plenty in the pancetta and parmesan

  • Fill your biggest pot with boiling water
  • Put a small amount of olive oil in a medium sized pan, and when it is good and hot, add the onion, and bacon.
  • Stir well over a high heat, until the pancetta sears and the onions turn a light golden colour.
  • Add the garlic and stir again. Turn down the heat and cook for about 3-4 mins until pancetta is crispy, and the garlic is cooked.
  • Remove from the heat and keep warm
  • Put the pasta on to cook until al dente.
  • In a jug or bowl, combine the cream, egg yolks, parmesan and pepper


TO SERVE: moving quickly….

  • Put the pancetta mixture back onto the heat
  • drain the pasta, and immediately put it back into its pot
  • Add the pancetta mixture, and fold in well
  • Add the cream mixture and fold in well. The eggs will cook in the heat of the warm pasta, and the cream and cheese will make a sauce.
  • Give it one last stir, and serve at once in the warmed (not hot) dishes, with a sprinkle of parmesan and some finely chopped parsley.



  • This dish does not keep at all, and must be served presto pronto. However, as it takes such a short time to put together, you can have everyone sitting down, ready to go!
  • In addition, even though the eggs scramble in the heat of the pasta, it is considered that it contains uncooked eggs, and is therefore not suitable for pregnant ladies or people with compromised immune systems.
  • Serve it with garlicy flatbread, and don’t blame me if your jeans don’t fit anymore 😉



I started writing down recipes in an old copybook when I was about 16. With 6 children at home, my Mother was always glad of a hand in the kitchen, and really allowed us to experiment - as long as we washed up afterwards, and left the kitchen immaculate! Having a tidy kitchen has followed me through my life, as has the habit of writing down my favourite recipes; except that these days I write them for my website, and add photographs when I can. The website really started when it occurred to me that my daughter might like to have these recipes when I've forgotten them. In my early days of cooking for family and friends, I used to phone my Mum all the time to ask her for the recipe for some of our favourite family dinners. She rarely had a recipe to hand - I think, like me, she made a lot of it up as she went along.. So welcome to Eating for Ireland - these are the recipes that my friends and family having been eating these past 40 years.. yes, I truly am ancient! They are tried and tested, and have worked for me for all that time - I have updated them as new ingredients became available - I really hope you'll find something that you can make into a family favourite of your own. You don't have to tell anyone where you found these great new dishes that you're serving up - it can be our little secret, but I'd really love it if you could give me a sneaky 'follow' on Facebook and Instagram.. So off you go - have a good rummage around, you're bound to find something new! My sincere thanks to all of you who have found a recipe that you liked and dropped me a line to tell me - I really do love to hear from you! Happy Cooking! Becks xx

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