Pasta Alla Carbonara Una Pentola One Pot!


carb-close copy.jpgWe 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 pasta into an “Una Pentola” (One Pot) version for ease of preparation and have 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
  • 1 cup white wine or 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 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 or wine 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.
  • If needed thin out sauce with a bit of hot water or chicken broth until it reaches desired consistency.
  • Add 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.




15 Comments Add yours

  1. Looks delicious and so much easier to make.
    I could never figure out the reason for the name. I’m glad I’m not the only one! Thanks for the interesting info. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Chef!! Growing up, charcoal in pasta never made sense to me lol! My sincerest pleasure!


    1. Thank you, my dear Lynn! I was just informed that it’s time for carbonara again! lol! Hubby loves it too!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. koolaidmoms says:

    My favorite! It looks great and one pan is even better!


  3. Osyth says:

    That’s me sorted for tonight … my husband is away and this is a favourite but he won’t touch parmesan (wierdo!). I shall follow your method methodically (which is actually what one should do) and I know I am in for a treat. I am fascinated by the theories on it’s curious name. I add another …. there is a cheese in France called Morbier which has a layer of charcoal in the middle. It serves too purposes – one is to protect the morning cheese until the afternoon curds are ready to be rested on top and the other is that charcoal is good for the digestions so perhaps it was actually charcoal sprinkled on the top and not black pepper after all …. I expect I’m being fanciful but it is a thought

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh my goodness! This is fascinating and makes perfect sense! I would really enjoy taste testing this unique frommage! My warped mind envisions the coal miners coming home for dinner and shacking off a bit of coal dust from their hair onto their pasta! lol! Did I just actually write that??Disgusting! lol! I’ve known far too many that don’t like Parmesan & I don’t get it either. My hubby shies away from “stinky cheeses” as he calls them. I say bring them on! ♥

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Anna says:

    This looks amazing, dear Lana! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks so much, Sweet Anna!!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. One of my favorites Lana! Delicious 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh mine too, Marissa! Thanks so much! We make it often!

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Beautiful dish Lana!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Kathryn! And the pasta ain’t bad either lol! xoxo

      Liked by 1 person

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