Prune Spaghetti Alla Carbonara 2.000

Deb Lindsey for The Washington Post

Nov 5, 2014

Like the Italian recipes that are widely considered authentic, Gabrielle Hamilton's restaurant recipe contains no milk or cream. It relies on top-quality cheese, pancetta (salt-cured Italian bacon) and pasta.


When you scale a recipe, keep in mind that cooking times and temperatures, pan sizes and seasonings may be affected, so adjust accordingly. Also, amounts listed in the directions will not reflect the changes made to ingredient amounts.

Tested size: 2 servings

  • 5 ounces pancetta, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • Kosher salt
  • 4 ounces dried spaghetti, preferably an imported Italian brand
  • 2 or 3 large egg yolks, at room temperature
  • 1 to 2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/3 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese


Warm two serving bowls.

Scatter the pancetta evenly in a cast-iron skillet. Cook gradually over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, until much of its fat has rendered and the meat has crisped (about 10 minutes). Transfer the rendered fat and the crisped pancetta to a bowl; cover loosely to keep warm.

Meanwhile, bring a pot of water to a boil over medium-high heat. Add a generous pinch of salt, then the pasta. Cook according to the package directions, just until al dente. Turn off the heat.

Combine the egg yolks (to taste) and a spoonful or two of the rendered pancetta fat in a mixing bowl. Sprinkle with black pepper until evenly, yet lightly, dusted.

Use tongs to transfer the pasta to the egg yolk mixture, letting some of the cooking water drip in as well. Stir quickly to coat the pasta, warming the yolks in the process. Season lightly with salt and the cheese.

Divide between warmed bowls; top with the crisped pancetta. Serve right away.

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Recipe Source

Adapted from Gabrielle Hamilton's "Prune" (Random House, 2014).

Tested by Bonnie S. Benwick.

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