Spaghetti carbonara?

When done properly, spaghetti carbonara really can be fantastic. A classic spaghetti alla Carbonara is basically just pasta, bacon and eggs. Dare I say it but I think my version is equally if not better than the traditional. I use pancetta and parmesan, instead of the traditional guanciale and pecorino. I also use onion, garlic and parsley for flavour, all three being totally untraditional. And to really piss off the Italians I use some white wine and cream to make a delicious sauce. In truth this dish isn’t spaghetti carbonara in any shape or form. However it is a delicious pasta dish which uses fantastic ingredients. So even if you were born and raised in Rome, you really can’t argue with this dish. Can you?


The key to this dish lies in the quality of the ingredients. All of the ingredients used are of top quality. From the amazing pancetta and parmesan bought in Sheridan’s cheesemonger in Galway city to the spaghetti I made with Italian 00″ pasta flour and free range eggs, this dish and its ingredients are extremely good.


The cooking of this dish is much less exceptional than the traditional (i.e it’s easy). Chunks of pancetta were browned with some softened onion and garlic before a splash of wine is added.


Then in goes a generous amount of cream and the whole lot gets bubbled down until reduced and delicious. To finish some chopped parsley, grated parmesan, black pepper and salt are all added.


This dish may well be fool proof but a small bit of love and care in preparing it is the difference between a good and delicious dish. From properly softened onions and garlic to a well reduced sauce all are important. It’s also critical to adjust the amount of parmesan, pepper and salt to your liking at the end to get a really delicious sauce.


Ingredients - 
Serves 3

300g spaghetti (see pasta recipe here)

2 tablespoon oil
1 onion, finely diced
4 garlic cloves, finely minced
200g pancetta, cut into lardons
100ml white wine
250ml cream
1 tablespoon parsley, finely chopped
Handful (30g) parmesan, grated
Salt & Pepper


  1. Sweat the onions and garlic in a pan with the oil until soft.
  2. Add the pancetta into the pan and brown all over.
  3. Add the white wine into the pan and reduce until the boozy smell has disappeared and the alcohol has been burned off.
  4. Add the cream and simmer for about 10 minutes. Finish the sauce with the parsley, parmesan, salt and pepper.
  5. Boil the pasta until al dente, drain and add into carbonara sauce. Cook for 1 or 2 minutes in sauce before serving.

9 comments to Spaghetti carbonara?

  • Conor Bofin  says:

    Very nice indeed Evan,
    I have done both the with cream and without cream versions. I love both but my heart likes the simpler version. Well done in putting it up to the traditionalists.

    • evanoc  says:

      Thanks Conor, the traditionalists do need a kick from time to time.

  • ayna  says:

    looks yummy…my mouth is watering right now…

    • evanoc  says:

      Thanks Safarina, the Italians may not be too pleased but it was nice.

  • Katherine  says:

    well, i am not Italian but i lived in Italy for many years / i even had fettucine al freddo made by Freddo himself / i’ll take carbonara in its simplest version, thank you very much

    • evanoc  says:

      Thanks Katherine, this recipe is definitely the simpler alright!

  • Massimo  says:

    I’m very sorry Conor but this cannot be even called Carbonara and you should already know why that is. Hmm, basic ingredients for Carbonara are eggs, bacon and pecorino romano. Simply you’ve made a bacon cream sauce or as you call it in America an alfredo sauce only fancier! We Italian aren’t really pissed of at all we just laugh about it, well maybe the Roman’s might be a little pissed off. But, I must say I applaud your dish as it should be very tasty indeed as I myself make it very often. I suggest you try using fresh sausage instead of bacon and with our without the addition of tomatoes.

    • Evan O'Ceallaigh  says:

      Thanks for that, I agree with you alright, this isn’t Carbonara. And the addition of sausage, sounds pretty good to me. By the way the name is Evan :)

  • Re-vamped Spaghetti Carbonara  says:

    […] Recipe and photo courtesy of Evan at Gourmet Dough.  Gourmet Dough is an Irish (Galway to be more precise) food blog focused on turning simple dough (be it bread, pastry, pasta or any other dough) into truly delicious food. The mastermind behind it all is 17-year old Evan, who is passionate about all things to do with food.  […]

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