Whisk the eggs, cheese, and pepper in a small bowl until well combined; set aside.
Heat a large pot of well-salted water over high heat and bring it to a boil for the pasta.
Starting with a large, cold pan, cook the guanciale (pancetta or bacon) in olive oil over medium-high heat until brown and crisp, about 6-8 minutes.
While the pork cooks, add the pasta to the boiling water and stir to separate. Cook until just under al dente (7- to 8 minutes).
If there is excess fat in the pan with the pork, drain all but 2 tablespoons from the pan. Remove the pan from the heat one to two minutes before the pasta is done cooking.
When the pasta is ready, reserve a cup of cooking water before draining the pasta briefly, leaving the pasta slightly wet.
Add the freshly drained pasta to the pan with the pork and gradually stir in the egg mixture. Add some reserved pasta water to loosen the sauce until it reaches your desired consistency (you may not use it all).
Taste for seasoning and add more salt as needed. Serve immediately with additional grated cheese and pepper.
This recipe serves 4 to 6 people (depending on how generous you like your portions). Nutritional guidelines are based on 6 people.A Note on Garlic: I get a lot of comments regarding garlic. Many people feel it's a necessary ingredient. It's not a traditional ingredient, but if you want to add it, I recommend using crushed whole, peeled garlic cloves. Cook them with the pork to add flavor and remove it before adding the pasta.
Use room-temperatureeggs. Cold eggs may not cook to a food-safe temperature.
Whisk the eggs well until the whites are completely incorporated into the yolks to avoid lumps.
Reserve the pasta water – the starchy water adds flavor and silky texture to the sauce.
Use freshly grated cheese – You want it to melt into the sauce, and store-bought, pre-grated cheese doesn’t melt as well as freshly grated.
Be sure to remove the pan from the heat – This is where carbonara can go terribly wrong. Don’t just turn off the burner; move the pan off the burner completely, or you’ll end up with scrambled eggs.
Add the egg mixture immediately after draining the pasta, and keep the pot off of the heat. You want the pasta to be as hot as possible, so the eggs cook and set the sauce.
A slight curdle is okay. When you add the eggs to the hot pasta, they may start to curdle (but they won’t scramble if the pan isn’t too hot). This is just fine and gives the Carbonara sauce its signature creaminess.
The bacon and cheese can both be salty, so be sure to wait until the end and taste before adding salt.
Serve immediately – Carbonara tends to dry out as it cools, so enjoy it while it’s still hot!