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Bacon and egg. The nightmare of the first written Italian recipe: garlic, bacon and Gruyère

“The traditional recipe calls for bacon”, or even “The original carbonara is made with pecorino”, but also “Only the yolks should be used, without the egg whites” to name just three objections relating to the main ingredients of ‘one of most famous dishes Italian gastronomy.

A recipe capable of shattering public opinion, ruining friendships and causing fights in the kitchen. The carbonara recipe has the ability to be both only And various, in its many variations and interpretations. Dividing in concept, (almost) always inclusive in the final taste thanks to a taste capable of uniting everyone.

How was the first Italian carbonara

However, we have some bad news for the ardent pecorino and bacon proponents: turn back time, take a decent (but not huge) step back in history, cross the first written recipe of the carbonara that appeared in Italy, none of these ingredients appear.


He ran the 1954World War II had been over for less than a decade and more Italian food appeared the first written testimony of a preparation capable, in less than half a century, of being thus representing of our gastronomic tradition, especially that of Lazio. The ingredients in the first written Italian recipe are quite different from the current ones, and many might be disappointed to find out how originally carbonara was essentially based on bacon And Gruyere.

It doesn’t stop there, the recipe (called spaghetti carbonara) talks about bacon garlic fried. The dressing? The Whole eggs) they were not added when the fire was out, but directly to the pan. The pepperyes, abundant then as now.

In short, we understand how street carbonara evolved the dish that most of us recognize as such today. So let’s quickly try to retrace this route through its major historical stages.

The history of carbonara in Italy

In short, we do not know exactly how long ago the carbonara, in its very first version, began to circulate in our country. What is certain is that no one had before the mid-1950s never put pen to paper the Recipe of the plate. Probably, story in hand, our grandparents in their youth did not even know the carbonara, welcoming it rather as a culinary novelty. And, who knows, maybe even wring your mouth at the ingredients used.


Try to go back even further versions on the origin carbonara are made as varied as nebulae: one of the most accredited does not even take into consideration an all-Italian genesis. Another favorite for the irreducible of our gastronomic tradition. It seems, in fact, how it all started thanks to bacon and to freeze-dried eggs dates provided to American troops During WWII.

Another version always refers to the Allied soldiers who, once in our country, used some of the Ingredients to them more family members (specifically bacon and eggs, in addition to pasta) to prepare something that reminds them the flavors of the house. Italian cooks, especially Romans, seeing the American army would have took a cue of their version to create your own. Able to impose and assert themselves gradually. A different version, however, locates the birth of the carbonara not in Rome or in any case in Lazio, but in Riccione.

1955: parmesan (and pecorino) appear

Bacon, gruyère and garlic: we are therefore faced with the ingredients at the base of the first preparations of the dish, in fact carbonara drafts which would have arrived over the decades and are now recognized as such. On closer inspection, however, the original written version of the carbonara doesn’t even have a very long lifespan.


Already there 1955 actually according to another cookbook called The lady in the kitchen if on one side remains the bacon on the other the cheese disappears and made an appearance on Parmesan cheesewith a mention to pecorino cheese for those who prefer stronger tastes. Certainly a step forward compared to what was indicated a few months earlier. And the jowls? The most talked about ingredient in carbonara today, when does it appear? It will still take a few years before seeing it in the recipe. And even more to see it (almost) definitively affirmed.

1960: and in the end comes the bacon (but there is cream)

The large kitchenthe cookbook by Luigi Carnacina, is the first book to mention the jowls instead of bacon. What happened during these 5 years? Probably the preferences and tastes of the people, but also the local productions, guided this choice, moving towards a more incisive and decisive flavor.


If on the one hand the bacon comes, however, on the other hand it also appears the very opposite cream, able to make the overall mixture creamier. And on closer inspection, this ingredient will remain for many yearsalmost until the end of 80 years. Almost 3 decades in which the carbonara in its classic version (for the time) appeared as today, however, it is more opposite. Times pass, and with them also the gastronomic habits. The fact is that 40-45 years ago, the variant that was considered typical included the unnameable cream.

Do you also know all those interpretations of carbonara found abroad that you deny so much (in fact, we deny)? Well, it seems that in fact in the 70-80s of the last century more than a few versioneven in our country, now expected the onion now parsleybut also peppers and chilli. Variants capable of taking root further outside our borders. Vade Retro.

New millennium, long live the pillow

We dare say fortunately, then, these variants were outclassed by what was to follow. We are indeed slowly approaching the current version (but, story in hand, probably not definitive in the future) of the bacon and egg. Maximum simplification up to the exaltation of a few ingredients: the egg yolkEgg (although someone also adds egg white), jowls And pecorino cheese.


And of course the pepper, perhaps the only ingredient (clearly with pasta, for which there is still a long or short controversy) that has never been questioned. The important thing is that it tastes: enough, but also good. Like everything else, on the other hand.

Who knows, then, trying to imagine us in 70 years how did the recipe evolve? And how jealously will our successors deem traditional and original? Perhaps we will appear to their eyes and palates as those with strange tastes. But we will not be able to be there, present, to argue.

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