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How to make spaghetti carbonara

Lindsey Bareham

Try our easy and quick recipe for a classic carbonara pasta sauce flavoured with smoked streaky bacon and garlic.

Carbonara is delicious with spaghetti or penne

Cooking time

20 minutes




  • 200g/8oz dried pasta, such as penne, spaghetti or tagliatelle
  • 6 rashers rindless smoked streaky bacon
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 2 large fresh eggs
  • 1 tbsp of cream or smooth Dijon mustard
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • Grated Parmesan to serve


Some people add cream to the eggs but one of my sons came up with the idea of adding creamy Dijon mustard instead and now I always make it this way. Give the Dijon mustard a go, if you like, or stick with the traditional cream.

The idea of this classic dish is to cook the pasta al dente and then, at the last minute, toss it with beaten egg, tiny specks of garlic and very crisp scraps of bacon to make the silky carbonara sauce.

To accompany this dish, I suggest a salad of floppy green leaves – just what you need to mop up any egg left at the bottom of the bowl and ensure you enjoy every drop.

Put the kettle on to boil.

Slice across the rashers of smoked streaky bacon to make batons, and peel and finely chop the garlic.

Beat the eggs with the mustard until smooth.

Cook the pasta in plenty of boiling water from the kettle until al dente.

Some 5 minutes before the pasta is ready, cook the bacon in hot oil in a frying pan until crisp. Add the garlic and stir briefly until aromatic without letting it colour.

Remove from the heat.

Drain the pasta and return to the pan with 1 tbsp cooking water. Add the eggs and hot contents of the frying pan. Stir to coat the pasta evenly so the heat cooks the egg slightly.

Serve immediately with the grated Parmesan and serve with salad.


The opinions expressed are those of the author and are not held by Saga unless specifically stated. The material is for general information only and does not constitute investment, tax, legal, medical or other form of advice. You should not rely on this information to make (or refrain from making) any decisions. Always obtain independent, professional advice for your own particular situation.