This is one of the most popular pasta sauces, made of eggs (or just yolks) Parmesan or pecorino, guanciale or pancetta, cooked in olive oil or butter, with black pepper, and usually served on spaghetti, bucatini or linguine.
Although its name suggests it was made after carbonai, tierh coal miners or charcoal burners, pasta alla carbonara only appeared after the Second World War, first apparently in Naples and really only after the 1950s. The charming legend that it was invented when American GIs mixed up their breakfast rations and added spaghetti is generally discounted by food historians because the GIs were issued dehydrated eggs and you can't make it with powdered eggs. Many cooks (not in Italy, though!) add cream as well.
Images by: Patricia Feaster