At a quaint, off the beaten path café in Amalfi, Italy, I had the best carbonara I’ve ever had (and one of the single best pasta dishes I’ve ever had). The family that owned this café was so happy that we loved their pasta, that they invited me into their kitchen to watch the magic happen. It was one of the best moments of my life!!
This “Amalfi style” includes the five standards ingredients in Roman carbonara (spaghetti, pancetta/guanciale, eggs, cheese, and black pepper), but it also includes whole milk and shallots.
Still – this recipe doesn’t include cream or peas that you’d typically see in carbonara throughout the US! This Amalfi carbonara is still delicate like the Roman version, but it has just a bit more creaminess with a touch of sharpness from the shallot.
I was so lucky to be able to watch and cook carbonara with a pro. Here’s how she made carbonara as I remember it. She didn’t measure out ingredients, so I’ve experimented with the recipe to recreate it just how I remember it tasting! Check out my blog post with a video of the whole experience here!
Vibing the Roman version more, or want to cook up a comparison? Here’s the Roman recipe!
- 1 pound good-quality spaghetti
- 8 ounces pancetta or guanciale, which is fattier and gamier
- 1 ½ cup parmigiano reggiano plus more to garnish
- ¾ cup whole milk
- 2 shallots chopped
- 3 large eggs you can substitute pasteurized eggs if you prefer!
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
- ½ teaspoon black pepper or to taste
- In a bowl, whisk together milk, egg, cheese, and black pepper. Set aside.
- Begin boiling spaghetti to al dente, according to cooking instructions on box.
- In a separate large pot, sauté pancetta in a dry pan until it just starts to get crispy, about 5-8 minutes over medium heat. Drain extra fat (the liquid in the pan!). Add shallots (and a dash of olive oil if needed) and sweat them for about 2 minutes. Then turn heat to low to keep ingredients warm.
- Drain pasta and add to pancetta/shallot pot. Use tongs to combine. Turn stove off, and add egg mixture, stirring into hot pasta, pancetta and shallots. Stir constantly until all ingredients are steaming hot.
- Serve immediately with more grated cheese and black pepper! OH MY!!
Authentic pasta carbonara does not include milk or cream in the recipe! It comes from egg yolks and pecorino cheese mixture together and then mixing it to the spaghetti pasta and guianciale or pancetta and lots of freshly ground pepper.
Hi! This recipe is the exact recipe shared with me by the owner of an off-the-beaten path restaurant in Amalfi. The owner took me in the back and shared her family recipe with me, showing me live how she makes it. There are several authentic versions of carbonara across Italy and this one happens to be my favorite! I hope you give it a try 🙂
Do you use the entire egg or just the yolks. Many, if not most, of the pasta carbonara recipes I’ve come across call for using just the egg yolks?
I use the entire egg. Adding some egg white creates the perfect creamy texture. Too much egg white will cause your eggs to curdle when heated. 2 whole eggs in the recipe I find is just perfect!
Let me know if you try it out!
Just made this today and it was FANTASTIC!
Appreciate the recipe:)
I am SO happy to hear that! Thank you for leaving a review!
Hello! This looks fabulous. I appreciate your enthusiasm for great food and love your simple short instructional video. I would love to make this for a party of 10 but wonder if the volume and timing at the stove would not lend itself to a simple dinner party. Could I make this at least 20 minutes ahead of the party and keep it warm without ruining it?
Hi Beth! Thanks so much for reaching out. If I’m being honest, carbonara is difficult to make ahead. It’s one of those dishes that’s best served right away. It will start to get “sticky” and thicken as it sits. I wouldn’t recommend making carbonara ahead. Some pastas that can be made ahead and stay delicious are:
I hope this helps!
Made this tonight using Pancetta it was very tasty but heavy. Next time I make this I think I will use bacon, and maybe parmigiana reggiano cheese instead of pecorino.
Thanks for the comment. I hope you enjoyed! I definitely don’t recommend pecorino cheese…parmigiano reggiano is the classic!