Ziti alla Carbonara

Like most recipes, the origins of the dish are obscure, and there are many legends about it. As the name is derived from the Italian word for charcoal, some believe that the dish was first made as a hearty meal for Italian charcoal workers. This theory gave rise to the term “coal miner’s spaghetti.” Others say that it was originally made over charcoal grills. Still others suggest that it is so named because the specks of bacon and pepper in the pasta look like bits of charcoal.

Usually made with Spaghetti, but occasionally Fettuccine, Rigatoni or Bucatini, I’ve used Ziti (a really big Bucatini) in this version, and keep true to the Italian preparation.

Serves: 4


  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 4 ounces Panchetta
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 2 tablespoons cream
  • 2 tablespoons freshly-grated Pecorino cheese
  • 16 oz long Ziti pasta
  • Fresh ground pepper


Ziti ala Carbonara

Ziti ala Carbonara

Heat the oil and butter in a pan. Add pancetta and saute over medium heat until browned well. Beat together the egg yolks, cream, and cheese.

Long Ziti Pasta

Long Ziti Pasta

Cook the Ziti until just a! dente. Drain the Ziti well, and move to a serving dish. Working quickly, pour the pancetta mixture, then the beaten egg mixture over the Ziti. Toss quickly to coat the strands with the sause. The eggs will cook in the heat of the pasta. Top with fresh ground pepper and serve immediately while still hot.


The following are frequently done in American preparations. Substitute bacon for panchetta, omit cream, or cook eggs and cheese for 30 seconds with panchetta (or similar).

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