Pasta alla Carbonara Una Pentola: “One Pot”


We all know what pasta embodies, but have you ever wondered what “carbonara” means? Carbonaro means charcoal in Italian, but to this day, the connection to this savory, flavorsome dish remains uncertain. Some food historians believe this pasta may have been popular among charcoal makers working in the Apennine Mountains; or perhaps it is called carbonara simply because of the specks of black pepper it is seasoned with. I’ve turned this delectable northern Italian fare into an “Una Pentola” version for ease of preparation and added some appealing new additions for an explosion of flavors!


8 ounces of dry spaghetti

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

4 ounces pancetta or slab bacon, cubed or sliced into small strips

4 garlic cloves, finely chopped

2 tablespoons, pine nuts; pignoli (optional)

1 tablespoon chopped capers (optional)

1 teaspoon freshly grated lemon peel (optional)

4 cups chicken broth

2 cups water

2 large eggs

1 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, plus more for serving

Freshly ground black pepper

1 handful fresh flat-leaf parsley, chopped


Heat olive oil in a deep skillet over medium flame. Add pancetta or bacon and pignoli; sauté for 3-4 minutes, until bacon is crisp, fat is rendered and pignoli are golden. Toss in garlic, sauté for less than 1 minute to soften. For more intense flavor, remove from heat and allow flavors to mingle as the ingredients slightly cool, about 10-15 minutes.

Add chicken broth, water and 1 teaspoon of salt to the mixture. Bring to a full boil and add uncooked pasta. Turn heat to low and simmer according to package directions, stirring occasionally. Simmer a few more minutes and add a little more water if you prefer your pasta less al dente. As the liquid reduces in the skillet, a small amount of sauce will form.

Beat eggs and Parmesan together in a mixing bowl, stir well to prevent lumps. Remove pan from heat and pour egg/cheese mixture into pasta, tossing quickly until eggs thicken, but do not scramble. The heat of the pasta will cook the eggs while you stir. Thin out sauce with a bit of hot water or chicken broth until it reaches desired consistency. Add the capers, parsley and lemon zest (if using). Alter seasoning with salt and fresh ground pepper to taste. Transfer to a large serving bowl or divide among 2 to 4 dishes. Serve topped with grated Parmesan cheese and chopped parsley, if desired. Bellissima!

PLEASE NOTE!! It was just brought to my attention, by one of our followers and a very reliable source, that reducing the liquid in my Una Pentola dishes might be necessary. I live in an altitude of 4500 ft and traditionally, we use more liquid in our cooking due to evaporation. I’d like to suggest using 1-1 1/2 cups less liquid to start. Adding more as you go as needed. The liquid reduces naturally as you simmer, but less can be more in normal altitudes! Thank you, Mary!!



4 Comments Add yours

  1. Mary Rose says:

    Chef Lana, I’d like to try this with a bit of sausage instead of bacon…..thanks for another fabulous recipe 🙂


    1. You’re quite welcome! Oh!! I love this idea! This will be a wonderful alternative to bacon! I also thought of adding roasted red peppers at the end with the capers and lemon zest–peppers would be wonderful with sausage…so many options! Thanks so much for your suggestion & support! 🙂


  2. Hi,

    Your blog has caught our attention thanks to the quality of your recipes. We would be delighted if you would join us on so that we could link to your blog. is a search engine that compiles the best American cooking sites and blogs from the Internet. We are one of the largest in the world with sites in 37 markets and thousands of blogs are already enrolled here and benefit from the traffic we are sending to their sites.

    To join, just go to



  3. Lilliana says:

    Helpful information and style of article writing.
    I do think I’ll come back on this site down the road and find out exactly what else you’ve got in store!
    😉 Now i’m going to check out if my hubby and I may possibly
    find nearly anything with reference to pastry!!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s