perfect pasta made for carbonara by Gennaro on a wooden board

Everyone loves a really good carbonara, and Gennaro’s classic recipe is one of the most popular recipes on our site. Here are four tips to help you master a first-class carbonara every single time (without using any cream!), along with a few ideas for gorgeous extra flavour combos.


  1. Add Parmesan to your whisked eggs at the very beginning of the recipe. This helps the distinctive salty cheese infuse the whole dish, giving it an intense richness for a truly perfect carbonara.
  2. Flavour your pancetta with garlic while it fries, but take the cloves out before adding your pasta. This way you get the sweet tang of garlic, without overpowering the final dish.
  3. Add a little of the pasta cooking water when you combine the spaghetti and pancetta. The water is starchy, so acts as a natural thickener, making the dish extra silky.
  4. Take your pan off the heat! The residual heat from your spaghetti will bring the eggs and cheese together into a lovely smooth, rich sauce – without a scrambled egg in sight!


Go veggie and swap pancetta for wilted spinach – beautiful.

Turn up the heat and use chorizo in place of pancetta. This recipe uses penne pasta as well, which some people say is more traditional than spaghetti or linguine.

Courgette and thyme turn the classic carbonara into a gorgeous green delight. The courgettes add a lovely extra texture, too.

Blitzed pea and basil pesto sauce takes this recipe to a whole new level. The perfect marriage with bacon and Parmesan, we love the vibrant pea green colour as well!

And if you still want more useful tips and tricks, watch Jamie in action here:


How to, Italian, Pasta