The basic carbonara recipe is quick and easy to make. First, get the spaghetti boiling in plenty of salted water. Next, fry the pancetta in a good dash of olive oil. Beat the eggs and the extra yolk together in a bowl.
When the pasta is cooked, drain it but put a bowl under the colendar in order to retain some of the water; you may need that later. Now return the pasta to the pan, and stir in first the pancetta with the hot oil, and then the beaten eggs. The egg will cook in the heat from the pasta, but here is where the flair comes in; you need to stir the egg into the mix so that it cooks into a cream and not hundreds of pieces of tiny omelette. Add the cheese, and if the mixture is too dry, stir in a little of the cooking water from the pasta (no more than a spoonful). Serve with coarse-ground black pepper.
It’s possible to make variations of carbonara using different meats and cheeses. Two tasty combinations are parmesan with Italian sausage (skin the sausages and crumble them into the frying pan), and gruyere with speck. Finally, if you can get it, to be truly authentic you should use not diced pancetta but guanciale, or pig’s cheek.