Rita’s Carbonara

February 8, 2013 / Food & Wine
Rome, Lazio

Pasta, bacon, and eggs. Simple as that. Sum of its parts, right?


Or take another work of art, a Caravaggio say… paint on canvas, yes? (Ok, paint applied extremely well on canvas, but still just that.)

Ahh… but what makes a Caravaggio more than just the sum of its parts is the artist’s mastery of the medium, his personal story, the historical moment, and the cultural context (as shared so eloquently by Giulia in her recent video note).

At the end of the day carbonara is just carbonara is just carbonara. Yet here too, context is what makes anyone’s carbonara stories, recipes, and moments more than just pasta, bacon and eggs.

Conveying that context is what we do at ItalianNotebook. And our job becomes so very easy when someone like Rita (who you are about to meet) makes something as straightforward as carbonara come alive.


My sincerest thanks to her for opening up her kitchen and for sharing her knowledge and love of food with us all. She will be following comments and will be glad to answer questions to this note. Like a great painting or a memorable plate of carbonara, her cooking school on the outskirts of Rome, a Casa di Rita, is much more than just the sum of its parts.

Grazie, Rita!

-GB, ed.

ps… A few technical notes. We are testing a new format here, so bear with us. For example, there are subtitles for the long Rita interview video. To activate them once you start the video, click on the little grey rectangular icon with the two horizontal lines inside it that sits bottom-rightish in the video. Enjoy!

[SlideDeck2 id=15218 ress=1]

Rita Perrotta

by Rita Perrotta

Rita is a trained chef who founded a Casa di Rita, a cooking school on the outskirts of Rome that specializes in Italian home cooking. A Casa di Rita is located on the Etruscan grounds of Le Sette Fonti, a unique property with incredible gardens (lakes, springs, natural amphitheater cut into the tuff, woods, sculptures, etc.) that is perfect for seminars, retreats, and events.

37 Responses to “Rita’s Carbonara”

  1. Thanks GB and Rita for this inspiring post! I think I might try it for lunch! Really generous of you for sharing this family recipe and reminding us why we all love and miss Italy so much!
    Buon Appetito! Grazie!

  2. Susan Caracciolo Keane

    Loved listening to her speak and explaining food/eating/sharing.

    Two things about the recipe: first, we have Pecorino Romano in the US (pancetta too) and second, vermicelli is thinnner than spaghetti. I am going to assume that the writer meant bucatini, not vermicelli, since it is thicker than spaghetti.

    • GB

      Hi Susan, thanks for your input. I didn’t know that about vermicelli in the US! Here in Italy cappellini are smaller than spaghetti, while vermicelli are a touch thicker. Go figure.

  3. Buon appetito! …I enjoyed this post very much. Love to hear personal stories like this. Thank you for sharing it with us Rita. My good friend Maids lives in Torino. She is Irish but might as well be Italian she has been living there so long and has become so Italian… She taught me how to cook Carbonara in the Italian way last Summer and it has become a hoy favourite in our casa. Like Rita I love to gather my friends and friends of friends around my table. Eating and sharing the food and stories is a lovely way to be together

  4. Linda Boccia

    Le Sette Fonti sono bellisimi. Dov’e’ la proprieta’ dalla citta centro…per esempio Prati?

    • Rita Perrotta
      Rita Perrotta

      Dear Linda, even if it took me a while to get back to you, thank you for your kind comment.
      We are in the countryside 20 minutes from the center of Rome, 5 km from the Grande Raccordo Anulare, exit 5 Cassia bis, on our website http://www.le7fonti.com or http://www.acasadirita.com you will find the map and the direction.
      It would be very nice to have you here!
      Thanks again

  5. Karen Bain

    Rita! How wonderful – the video – the presentation. I will prepare this dish. Yes. Thank you.

  6. Anita Iaconangelo
    Anita Iaconangelo

    Perfectly done, the video and the pasta! I will use Rita’s method next time. Great presentation GB_

  7. Even though I’ve been to Italy 4 or 5 times, I had my first plateful of carbonara last October. It is now one of my favorite dishes along with cinghiale risotto. Thanks. Have you ever thought of putting together a cook book with the recipes presented in this newsletter? I would buy it.

  8. OMG is all I have to say… Excellent presentation. I’m hungry.
    And I thought Italian Notebook couldn’t get any better. I do apologize… Can we eat now?

  9. Un viaggio bello di nostalgia, finalmente ho imparato la vera ricetta, grazie!

  10. Mary J Berger

    Wonderful recipe
    I made it today and it was so tasty and the sauce creamy and rich.
    I am going to teach my daughter how to do it…
    MJBerger, EdD

  11. Joe McCool, frequent traveller to Italy

    My carbonnara is a “paint by the numbers” affair; Rita’s is a Caravaggio! Mille Grazie!

  12. Mairin O'Mahony

    I was unable to find the video! All that appears is a grey strip with a beige stripe on the left. Help! I’d love to have this recipe as we always have carbonara for Thanksgiving (seven year tradition so far) and new versions are most welcome.

    Any assistance would be much appreciated. Thank you.

  13. Jimmie Carol Ellis

    Thank you so MUCH for doing this! I lived in Sicilia for 2 years courtesy of the USN. It seemed that the favorite sauce of all my American friends was carbonara. Many friends here in the USA have been amazed and delighted with it, too.
    Thank you, again.
    Jimmie Ellis, HMC, USN Retired in Crescent City, California where the redwoods meet the sea!

  14. Maria Semprini-DeMartino Hauppauge NY

    Hi, Where is the recipe & video.Not able to see either. Grazie

  15. David Bridges

    My wife and I lived in Rome while I was doing research for my doctorate. We learned about carbonara and ate it every time we could. When our children began to eat pasta, we made carbonara and they called it white spaghetti and would hardly touch any other kind! We still call it white spaghetti and love it. Thanks for the recipe. Bravo, Italian Notebook!

  16. Katherine Wilson

    I made carbonara following Rita’s method tonight and it was delicious. Thank you for sharing it with us.

  17. Pat Carney Ceccarelli
    Pat Carney Ceccarelli

    Oh finally,thanks to your marvelous video and written instructions I have hope that I might make a carbonara which is neither too wet or too dry. I have years of experience of disappointing carbonara and am thrilled that those days are finished! hearty thanks to GB and Rita and congratulations on new format. Cooks like me can have hope!

  18. Now that I got my computer up to snuff, I’m able to see this last ItalianNotebook gift. Absolutely brilliant! What a great way to become an expert on a super delicious dish.Many thanks. Keep them coming!

  19. Rita Perrotta
    Rita Perrotta

    Thank you very very much to everyone of you for the beautiful comments you wrote about me and my recipe.

    GB and I are only at the beginning of a culinary journey that I hope will find along this road many fellow adventurers.

    I am here at your disposal for any suggestion or advice.

    See you soon!


    • Mairin O'Mahony

      Rita, is there a chance you could email your recipe to me? I don’t know whether this is going directly to you or just to the comments section. I would so love to have the recipe…even more so since all the wonderful comments!

      Thank you, Mairin O’Mahony

      • Rita Perrotta
        Rita Perrotta

        Dear Mairin,

        for me its a great pleasure to exchange with you informations and advises.
        Please let me know which parts of the recepy aren’t clear for you and I will be pleased to clarify to you any doubt.

        I look foward to hear from you soon.

        Cordially, Rita

    • Rita Perrotta
      Rita Perrotta

      If the result is going to be satisfying for you keep on following us for the next recipes then!
      Hope to hear from you soon Jann.


      • maria semprini-demartino

        Hi Rita, i still cant see video or recipe, is there any way for me to get the recipe? would greatly appreciate it after reading all the wonderful comments. grazie maria semprini-demartino ny

  20. Bobbie Donnelly

    I loved the dish and I love your blog…thank you Rita…I love your voice also….bella…

  21. Janet MacLeod

    Thank you for the video “in italiano”. Molto interessante.


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