Recipes: Gran Caffe L’Aquila’s Riccardo Longo’s Aunt’s Carbonara

Gran Caffe L’Aquila‘s founding partner Riccardo Longo:  When I think of classic Roman dishes like Bucatini all’Amatriciana, Carbonara, or Cacio e Pepe, I think of my Aunt Luciana. Well, technically she’s my cousin Dario’s mother, but she always felt more like an aunt to me. When I lived in Rome in my 20’s, she would always invite me over for a homemade Roman pasta escape. She would also drop off at my apartment heavenly specialties like homemade zuppa inglese or a brodetto of pasta e ceci (chickpea soup). Just recently she suddenly passed away, and our family lost a wonderful, giving woman who was the epitome of a nonna, mother, wife, as well as school teacher. Besides all the great memories she leaves us, she also sets the standard for Roman cuisine. The cooking of a nonna is true soul food because it comes from love. This is her recipe for the Carbonara which she showed me many years ago. Enjoy!

Gran Caffe L’Aquila’s Riccardo Longo’s Aunt’s Carbonara

Servings:  4


  • 1 pound of spaghetti or mezze maniche
  • 5 large eggs (3 just yolk)
  • 1/2 pound of guanciale or high quality pancetta
  • 1 cup of freshly grated imported Pecorino Romano
  • cracked black pepper


  1. Over a medium-high flame, render diced guanciale or pancetta until crisp. (Rendered fat will be the foundation of the sauce.)
  2. Beat the eggs, cracked black pepper (to taste) and Pecorino Romano shavings together in a small bowl, and set aside.
  3. Cook the spaghetti al dente.
  4. Toss the spaghetti with the rendered fat and guanciale on a low flame until all of the pasta gets a coating.
  5. Remove the pan from the flame, and add/toss the pasta with the egg mixture. The sauce should be creamy.
  6. Plate, and add extra cracked black pepper and/or Pecorino Romano to taste.
  7. Enjoy immediately with a a nice Frascati wine from the Roman hills.
Gran Caffe L'Aquila's Spaghetti Carbonara (photo courtesy of Gran Caffe L'Aquila)
Gran Caffe L’Aquila’s Spaghetti Carbonara (photo courtesy of Gran Caffe L’Aquila)

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