Archive of BBC Food Recipes

Penne carbonara

Prep time less than 30 mins
Cook time less than 30 mins
Serves 4
From James Martin: Home Comforts
James Martin’s recipe for a classic carbonara uses fresh penne, but dried spaghetti also works well.


  1. Heat a frying pan until hot. Add the olive oil and pancetta and cook for 3-5 minutes, or until crisp. Remove the pancetta from the pan and set aside to drain on kitchen paper.

  2. Whisk the egg yolks, parmesan and cream in a bowl and season, to taste, with salt and freshly ground black pepper.

  3. Cook the penne according to pack instructions in a pan of salted boiling water.

  4. Drain the pasta and add it to the cream mixture, stirring continuously until smooth. Add the pancetta and parsley and stir until well combined.

  5. To serve, spoon pasta into warmed bowls and sprinkle with a little extra parmesan.


  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 300g/11oz pancetta, sliced
  • 3 free-range egg yolks
  • 50g/1¾oz parmesan, grated, plus extra for serving
  • 100ml/3½fl oz double cream
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 350g/12oz fresh penne pasta
  • 3 tbsp chopped fresh flatleaf parsley

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