Spaghetti carbonara, Neapolitan style

My wife and I had the pleasure of staying at the Villa Virgiliana (owned by The Vergilian Society) in Cuma, Italy just outside of Naples in June, 1985. Biagio and Maria Sgariglia, the proprietors of the villa, served us excellent Italian farm meals for a week, each meal being more delicious than the last. This dish was the gastronomic highlight of our stay.


(Serves 3 to 4 people)


  1. Put large bowl in oven to warm at lowest possible setting.
  2. Soak chopped onion in cold water for 15 minutes to reduce pungency.
  3. Chop Pancetta or bacon into 1/4-inch x 1-inch strips.
  4. Beat eggs and cream together with a fork. Add 4 Tbsp parmesan cheese to the mixture.
  5. Wash pasta. Put on water to cook pasta. Add pasta when boiling. In the meantime...
  6. Dry onions and sautae with pancetta or bacon in olive oil until onions are barely translucent.
  7. Add wine and reduce heat when initial boiling ceases. Meat should not be crisp.
  8. When pasta is cooked, drain, but do not wash.
  9. Quickly remove bowl from oven, put pasta in it and toss with egg, cream and cheese mixture so that heat from pasta cooks eggs.
  10. Add meat, onions and wine without draining fat and toss until thoroughly mixed.
  11. Sprinkle remaining cheese to taste, toss and serve immediately.


Pasta should be cooked al dente so that it offers resistance to the teeth without crunching. Fresh pasta is desirable (dried pasta is a poor imitation of the real thing.) Pasta should be used immediately when done so as to stop its internal cooking. If both portions of the recipe cannot be completed at the same time, the meat and onion mixture should finish first.

I have made a very successful variation on this using hot country sausage. Make sure the sausage is fairly lean if you try it, however. All of the quantities are adjustable, and may depend on the kind of pasta or meat you use. Too much cream will cause the egg mixture to separate from the pasta and meat. Too little cream will essentially give you scrambled eggs and bacon with pasta.


Difficulty: moderate to hard (timing is critical).
Time: 30 minutes.
Precision: measure the ingredients.


Byron Howes 
North Carolina Education Computing Service, Research Triangle Park, NC 
bch@ecsvax or {akgua,decvax}!mcnc!ecsvax!bch 
Recipe last modified: 10 Feb 86

Original header

From: bch@ecsvax (Byron C. Howes)
Subject: RECIPE: Spaghetti Carbonara, Neapolitan Style
Date: 21 Feb 86 05:16:36 GMT
Organization: North Carolina Education Computing Service
Approved: reid@glacier.ARPA

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