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CARBONARA DAY – History and curiosity of Carbonara, the most loved pasta

Carbonara is the Latin lover of all pastas, the most loved and desired in the world: according to Coldiretti, which is based on Doxa data, the legendary Carbonara is the favourite pasta of one in five young people (18%). Carbonara is first placed in front of lasagne and spaghetti with tomato sauce, the other two recipes of the heart for today’s 15-35 years old people.

Guanciale (cheek lard), Roman Pecorino cheese, eggs, salt and pepper…
Just these 5 ingredients are enough to create a unique and inimitable pasta dish that continues to conquer the palates of the world. A pasta as much loved as it is controversial, capable of unleashing real feuds between “purists” and innovators, between those who proclaim they have the real recipe and those who disprove it with tutorials and ladle.

History and curiosity of Carbonara

But where does Carbonara come from?

Also for Carbonara, as for other iconic dishes (for example pizza), legends and numerous rumors about its origins are wasted. The first large-scale citation is in an Italian film with Aldo Fabrizi in 1951; then, a few years later, Alberto Moravia tells about Carbonara in his Racconti Romani. Surely the flourishing Roman film industry after the Second World War gave great visibility to this pasta making it famous all over the world, just like a real diva.


Legends about the origin of Carbonara

Shepherds and woodcutters

The most romantic and also the most consistent legends with the name of the famous pasta, refer to the shepherds (also known as Carbonai) who always went to the pastures with spaghetti with eggs, guanciale and pecorino cheese in their mess tin or to the woodcutters who, tireless, work on the slopes of the Apennines to collect wood to be transformed into coal.


The Carboneria

Others think that the birth of the Carbonara is linked to a noblewoman from Polesine who, in the 19th century, used to host meetings of the Carboneria (a secret and revolutionary society born in the Kingdom of Naples during the first years of the 19th century and founded on liberal and patriotic values) and offer her guests a plate of pasta in between discussions.


Allied soldiers

According to this anecdote, instead, the recipe of Carbonara began to be noticed around 1944: in this particular historical period, the allied soldiers stationed between Lazio, Molise and Campania were lucky enough to taste the typical pasta Cacio and Ovo Abruzzese. They were so enraptured by it that they wanted to enrich it with bacon, easily available in the area, and then with their bacon imported directly from the USA.

History and curiosity of Carbonara

But then what is the real recipe of the tradition?

From the post-war period onwards, the Carbonara has become a true Roman classic, a famous bulwark of the capital. Even if we don’t know where it really comes from and how it was born, no one today doubts anymore that the Queen of Pasta is typical of Rome. Despite the foreign contaminations and the countless revisitations seen on the web in recent years, we would like to make a summary of the ingredients and the classic, indisputable procedures to prepare the real Carbonara:

  • Guanciale
  • Pecorino cheese (better if Roman DOP)
  • 1 egg yolk for each person
  • 1 whole egg (every 3 yolks)
  • Salt and pepper
  • The recommended pasta is long pasta (spaghetti, bavette, bucatini, tonnarelli…)


  • Don’t use bacon for Carbonara.
  • Forget cream! NEVER use cream.
  • No sautéed vegetables or garlic, anywhere.
  • Parmigiano cheese and Grana Padano cheese are not Carbonara cheese.
  • Away from the fire! Carbonara is not cooked, otherwise it becomes an omelette with spaghetti.

After this short excursus about Carbonara, its history and traditional recipe, we are all very hungry: what better way to celebrate Carbonara Day than to cook a nice plate of homemade Carbonara spaghetti?
Happy #CarbonaraDay to everyone!

History and curiosity of Carbonara