The main content

Bacon and Egg Coal Miner's Pasta: Rigatoni alla Carbonara


  • Salt

  • 1 pound rigatoni

  • 1/3 pound pancetta (cured Italian meat, available at deli counter) chopped

  • Drizzle of extra virgin olive oil (EVOO), plus 2 tablespoons

  • 4 or 5 cloves garlic, finely chopped

  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (a few pinches) crushed in the palm of your hand

  • 1/2 cup dry white wine or chicken stock

  • 2 large egg yolks

  • 3 tablespoons (about 2 palmfuls) grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese, plus more for sprinkling

  • A handful fresh parsley leaves, finely chopped

  • A few grinds black pepper


Place a large pot of water on the stove to boil. When water is rolling, add salt and pasta and cook to al dente, about eight minutes, reserving 1/4 cup pasta water. While pasta cooks, heat a large skillet over moderate heat. Sauté pancetta in a drizzle of EVOO until it browns, 3-5 minutes. Add EVOO, garlic and crushed pepper flakes. Sauté garlic two minutes. Add wine or stock to the pan and reduce liquid by half, about 2-3 minutes. Beat together egg yolks, cheese and – while whisking vigorously – stir in a ladle of the boiling pasta water. Beat in parsley and pepper and set aside. Drain pasta. Add pasta to pan with sauce. Toss pasta with pancetta; add egg mixture and toss one minute, then remove from heat. Continue to toss until sauce is absorbed by and thickly coating the pasta. Adjust seasonings with salt and pepper and serve with extra cheese, for passing.