An authentic carbonara is made with egg yolks, pecorino romano, guanciale, black pepper and pasta. This recipe is the traditional one you’ll find in any Roman restaurant.
Bring a pot of water to boil. When it's boiling, add salt. Throw the pasta in and cook until it's just before al dente – this is important because the pasta will finish cooking in the sauce.
When the water is about to boil, add the guanciale to a cold pan. Turn the heat up to medium and let the guanciale cook until it's crispy and the fat has rendered, about 10-15 minutes. Remove the guanciale from the pan, and leave the fat in. If pasta isn't ready by this time, remove the pan from the heat until pasta is done cooking.
While guanciale is cooking, make the carbonara cream - in a small bowl, beat together egg yolks, pecorino romano, 2 spoons of guanciale fat, a little bit of pasta water and fresh ground black pepper. The consistency should be similar to pudding.
Add the pasta to the pan, and add about half of a ladle of pasta water to the pan as well (still over medium heat). Be careful when adding the pasta to the pan because the guanciale fat will splatter.
Let the pasta cook in the pan for a few minutes, until it's al dente. Add more pasta water if needed. You want there to be a bit of starchy liquid left at the bottom of the pan, and not have it be completely dry.
Remove the pan from the heat. Add the carbonara egg cream and mix. Add the guanciale and mix again.
Plate and top with additional ground black pepper and pecorino romano. Enjoy!