All you really need for this easy pasta recipe is a couple of eggs, a pound of spaghetti, a couple cloves of garlic, unsalted butter, and that block of parm hidden in the back of the fridge. This is the most stripped-down version of carbonara you’ll ever see, the thing I turn to when there’s nothing left in the fridge and I’m desperate. I’ve never made carbonara with pancetta or bacon; I threw in some peas once and that was nice. A sprinkle of chopped flat-leaf parsley on top? Sounds good if you have it.

  • Yield: 4 servings
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Total: 20 mins
  • Active: 10 mins 

Ingredients (7)

  • 1 pound dried spaghetti
  • 1 tablespoon (1/8 stick) unsalted butter
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
  • 2 large eggs, beaten
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Kosher salt as needed


  1. Bring a big pot of salted water to a boil and add the spaghetti.
  2. While the pasta is cooking, melt the butter in a large skillet or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the garlic and sauté until fragrant, about 1 minute.
  3. Turn off the heat under the skillet. When the spaghetti is cooked al dente, drain it, reserving 1/2 cup of the cooking water.
  4. Add the drained spaghetti to the skillet and toss with the garlic and butter. Add half the cheese and, with metal tongs, toss until well coated, about 1 minute.
  5. Add the eggs and toss for 1 minute more.
  6. Add the remaining cheese, black pepper to taste, and enough of the reserved pasta cooking water to form a creamy sauce that clings to the noodles (I usually add about 1/4 cup). Taste and add a bit of salt if necessary.
  7. Toss again, about 1 minute. Serve immediately in warmed pasta bowls.