food. family. life.

spring: capellini al la carbonara

This is my lighter version of the classic carbonara, a pasta dish with spaghetti, cured smoked bacon or guanciale and mixed with whole organic egg, egg yolks, grated parmigiano-reggiano cheese and cracked black pepper (no heavy cream or milk is ever used).

The history of this dish is said to be created by the carbonai (the men who made and worked with charcoal in the mountainous area surrounding Rome.) They would prepare this dish after working all day, using a large pot set over hot burning charcoal.

guanciale (photo courtesy of


I love the classic recipe but we do not always want the richness that the eggs impart to this dish; we do like the classic version for a fall or winter meal. I created this version recently as it seemed more appropriate for a simple spring to summer dish.

I prefer to use capellini versus spaghetti and I omitted the eggs and I cooked the pasta in homemade vegetable stock to create a lighter sauce at the finish and impart more flavor to the dish.

Really simple and really delicious.

The key to any great dish is always the quality of your ingredients.

Choose a good organic smoked bacon or guanciale; my dish was made with an organic applewood smoked bacon (nitrate-free, of course) that I cook in the oven until crispy.


{primavera: capellini al la carbonara}


1 lb. or so of good quality capellini (store-bought or homemade)

1 batch homemade or container of store-bought vegetable stock, unsalted.

1 lb. to 1 1/2 of good quality thick cut smoked applewood bacon or guanciale sliced into strips

sea salt

cracked black pepper

fresh Italian flat leaf parsley, finely chopped

grated parmigiano-reggiano

Cook the bacon or guanciale in the oven until golden and crispy. Drain on paper towel and set aside. Be sure to reserve the rendered fat for later.

Once cooled, break the bacon up into smaller pieces or cut the guanciale into small pieces.

Place a large stock pot filled with the vegetable stock to boil, if unsalted add some salt to the stock to taste.

When it comes to a boil, add the capellini and carefully stir until all are in the stock and covered. Allow them to cook, stirring so as not to stick until cooked to your taste (al dente is best.)

Remove the cooked capellini and place them in a large sauce pan on the stove top; put the heat on medium-low. Reserve the cooking stock (do not discard.)

Add a healthy drizzle of the rendered cooking fat from the bacon or guanciale.

Now add the cooked bacon or guanciale, a good amount of grated parmigiano-reggiano cheese and a small scoop of the vegetable cooking stock (do not add too much at one time) and carefully stir and mix well over low to medium heat until a sauce forms and coats the strands of pasta.

You need to add more stock if needed, but once all is completely blended be sure to remove from the heat and add plenty of chopped parsley and cracked black pepper.

Serve immediately.

cucinadimammina_capellini ala carbonara_spring_01


Note: Photography provided by Annette L. Venditti

Buon Appetito!

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