This recipe for a classic pasta carbonara comes from the cookbook Michael Symon's 5 in 5 ($19.99), a fantastic source for weeknight dinner ideas. Plan to prep the ingredients (grate cheese, chop parsley) before you begin.

Source: Midwest Living


Recipe Summary

35 mins
35 mins
6 cups


Ingredient Checklist


Instructions Checklist
  • In a very large pot, bring 5 quarts water and all the kosher salt to a boil. (Yes, you read that correctly. Generously salted water is key to a well-seasoned final dish.) Add pasta and cook until just al dente, about 1 minute less than package directions. Scoop out and reserve 1/4 cup of the water before draining the pasta.

  • Meanwhile, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in an extra-large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the guanciale and cook until almost crisp, about 3 to 5 minutes. Add the reserved pasta water and deglaze the pan, scraping with a wooden spoon to get up the brown bits. When the water boils, turn off the heat.

  • In a bowl, whisk the egg whites until they start to get foamy. Add the pepper, parsley, cheese and remaining olive oil to the whites. Add this mixture gradually to the guanciale in the pan, stirring vigorously to incorporate.

  • Add the hot, just-drained pasta to the pan and toss well. Divide the pasta among four bowls, topping each portion with an egg yolk, and additional pepper and cheese, if desired. Serve immediately, allowing diners to mix the yolk into the pasta at the table.

*What's Guanciale?

Guanciale is cured pork jowl and is a familiar ingredient in Italian kitchens. Chef Michael Symon explains, "Like pancetta, it's not smoked, so it has a cleaner taste than bacon. And because it's not mass-produced, you're typically getting a heritage breed hog, so the flavor is more robust and porky." If you want to try it, Michael loves Iowa's La Quercia brand (

**Raw Yolks?

Stirring a yolk into the hot pasta is molto autentico, but if it makes you squeamish or you're concerned about food safety, just whisk 4 whole eggs together in Step 3, then continue as instructed. (One benefit of this method is that you can help yourself to a more modest portion of pasta.)

Nutrition Facts

898 calories; fat 44g; cholesterol 243mg; saturated fat 15g; carbohydrates 88g; mono fat 21g; poly fat 7g; insoluble fiber 4g; sugars 3g; protein 35g; vitamin a 787.8IU; vitamin c 5.1mg; thiamin 1mg; riboflavin 0.8mg; niacin equivalents 8.2mg; vitamin b6 0.3mg; folate 299.3mcg; vitamin b12 0.7mcg; sodium 2483mg; potassium 386mg; calcium 230mg; iron 5.1mg.