It’s one of the unsung heroes of Italian food – creamy, savory spaghetti carbonara. PMQ Test Chef Brian Hernandez coaxed the super-talented Massimo Mannino, owner of Nino’s Cucina Italiana and a member of the U.S. Pizza Team, into sharing his recipe for spaghetti carbonara using fresh, housemade pasta You can also read Brian’s full pasta-centric interview with Mannino here or watch the interview on video here.

Recipe for Spaghetti Carbonara

Courtesy of Massimo Mannino


  • 1 lb. dry or fresh spaghetti
  • 2 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 4 oz. pancetta or guanciale, cubed or cut into strips
  • 4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 2 large egg yolks
  • 1 egg, sunny-side up (optional, for garnish)
  • 1 c. freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, plus more for garnish
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Sea salt
  • 1 handful fresh flat-leaf parsley, chopped


Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the pasta and cook for 8 to 10 minutes, or until al dente. (Start cooking the spaghetti before you make the sauce so the pasta will be hot when you add the egg/cheese mixture. The hot pasta will cook the raw eggs in the sauce.)

Heat the olive oil in a deep skillet. Add the pancetta and sauté until it’s crisp and the fat is rendered. Add the garlic into the fat and sauté until light-golden in color. Meanwhile, beat two eggs and Parmigiano-Reggiano together in a bowl and set aside.

Drain the pasta and reserve ½ c. of the pasta water. Add the pasta to the deep skillet and toss to coat the pasta with the pancetta fat. Remove the skillet from the heat and pour the egg/cheese mixture into the pasta. Mix quickly until the eggs thicken. Use the reserved pasta water to thin out the sauce until you get the consistency you like. Season the carbonara with freshly ground black pepper and salt. Serve with chopped parsley and shaved Parmigiano-Reggiano. You can also garnish with the fried sunny-side up egg.