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Bucatini Carbonara is one of those easy pasta recipes where method and timing make the difference between a so-so dish and a restaurant quality meal. With this no-fail method, you’ll have the latter every single time.

Bucatini Carbonara served in a white bowl on a linen napkin.

With just five simple ingredients plus salt and pepper, you’ll be serving this luscious pasta dish in less than 30 minutes. But remember that with so few ingredients, quality is key.

Ingredients You Need to Make Bucatini Carbonara

Bucatini Carbonara Ingredients on a white marble board.
  • Eggs: large or extra-large eggs
  • Pecorino Romano: or parmesan cheese
  • Olive Oil: extra virgin olive oil
  • Pancetta: or guanciale or bacon
  • Bucatini: or spaghetti
  • Salt and Freshly Ground Black Pepper

No Fail Carbonara Method

There are 3 simple steps to ensuring that your carbonara sauce comes out perfectly hot and creamy, and never cold or curdled:

  1. Whisk eggs and cheese together first and let stand at room temperature while you cook the pancetta and pasta. 
  2. Temper the egg mixture with a little of the pasta cooking water before you add it to the pasta (this will help prevent the eggs from curdling).
  3. Work quickly at the end to stir the pasta, meat and sauce together, then serve immediately.

FAQ

What is bucatini pasta used for?

Bucatini pasta is like a hollow spaghetti and can be used in any recipe that calls spaghetti or other long, slender pasta. It’s also the traditional and recipe namesake pasta choice for Bucatini all’Amatriciana.

Why is there no cream in carbonara?

Though many modern recipes call for cream, it’s not included in the classic version from the Lazio region of Rome.

What is carbonara sauce made of?

Traditional carbonara sauce is made simply with guanciale, black pepper, pecorino Romano and beaten eggs. (Because guanciale can be a challenge to find in the United States, pancetta or bacon are often used instead.)

What can I use instead of Pecorino Romano in carbonara?

Parmesan cheese is a good substitute, ideally Parmigiano Reggiano or Grana Padano.

More Great Italian Pasta Recipes:

Make Your Own Pasta:

How to Make Bucatini Carbonara

Whisk eggs and Pecorino Romano together in a medium bowl and set aside.

raw eggs and pecorino romano whisked together in a bowl.

Cook and stir pancetta in hot olive oil in a large, heavy pot over medium heat until the fat begins to render and the edges are starting to crisp, 8-10 minutes. Remove from heat.

Cook bucatini according to package directions until al dente, reserving 1 cup pasta water. Drain pasta in a colander and immediately transfer to pancetta in pot and stir.

Temper egg mixture by whisking in a scant quarter cup of hot pasta water. Pour tempered egg mixture over pasta and pancetta in a steady stream, stirring constantly. Continue stirring until well combined, adding more pasta water as desired. Season with salt and pepper to taste and serve immediately, garnished with more Pecorino Romano.

Recipe Video

Bucatini Carbonara

5 from 2 votes
Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 16 minutes
Total: 26 minutes
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Italian
Calories: 573
Servings: 4 people
Doing the prep work and working quickly in the last few steps are the keys to creamy, luscious carbonara.

Ingredients  

  • 3 large eggs
  • 2 ounces grated Pecorino Romano plus more for serving
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 4 ounces diced pancetta or guanciale or bacon (recipe note),
  • 12 ounces bucatini pasta
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Instructions 

  • Put a large pot of salted water on to boil.
  • In a medium bowl, whisk together eggs and Pecorino Romano; set aside.
  • Heat olive oil in a large Dutch oven or other heavy pot over medium heat. Add pancetta; cook and stir until the fat begins to render and the edges are starting to crisp, 8-10 minutes. Remove from heat.
  • Meanwhile, cook bucatini according to package directions until al dente (firm to the bite). Reserve 1 cup pasta water then drain pasta in a colander and transfer immediately to pancetta in pot and stir to combine.
  • Whisk a scant quarter cup of hot pasta water into the egg and cheese mixture to temper eggs. Pour tempered egg mixture over pasta and pancetta in a steady stream, stirring constantly. Continue to stir until well combined, adding more pasta water as needed. Season to taste with salt and pepper and serve immediately, garnished with more Pecorino Romano if desired.

Notes

  1. Guanciale is traditional for this recipe, but can be challenging to find. Pancetta or bacon stand in nicely.

Nutrition

Calories: 573kcal | Carbohydrates: 65g | Protein: 24g | Fat: 23g | Saturated Fat: 8g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 3g | Monounsaturated Fat: 10g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 173mg | Sodium: 416mg | Potassium: 310mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 3g | Vitamin A: 272IU | Calcium: 191mg | Iron: 2mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

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12 Comments

  1. Valentina says:

    I love the simplicity of this delicious pasta! Beautiful. 🙂 ~Valentina

    1. Marissa Stevens says:

      Thank you, Valentina!