I’ve always thought that a simple plate of well-made pasta is one of life’s great pleasures. This dish takes the basic technique of a traditional Italian carbonara, but substitutes some great Adelaide Hills ingredients.






Skill level

Average: 4.4 (7 votes)


  • 1 bunch watercress
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 180 g pancetta, cubed or sliced
  • 2 whole eggs
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 85 g grated pecorino cheese (or cubed Woodside Cheese Wrights Pompeii)
  • 500 g fettuccine or spaghetti
  • freshly ground black pepper

Cook's notes

Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.


Drink Yalumba FDW7C Chardonnay 2009, Adelaide Hills, SA

"Carbonara was my staple go-to evening dish when travelling Italy as a poor (but well-fed) student. I can’t for the life of me remember what I drank, but I suspect it was cheap and came only in carafes. Nowadays, if I was sitting out in the Adelaide Hills spring sunshine enjoying this dish, I’d reach for something local with a bit of body, a bit of complexity and a clean mineral finish. All this will help it stand up next to quite a weighty dish whilst also providing the acid cut that creamy carbonara always needs. Bags of interesting flavours in this one: clove, nuts, citrus zest, cream and nougat. I wonder, do they have hostels in the Adelaide Hills?" Dan Coward

Remove the small “branches” of the watercress from the main stalk, then wash and drain well.

In a frypan, heat 1 tablespoon of the oil and fry the garlic and pancetta until cooked. Toss through the watercress to wilt. Set aside to cool.

In a large bowl, whisk the whole eggs and egg yolks well to combine. Add in half of the cheese.

In slightly salted boiling water, cook the pasta until al dente and drain, reserving a little of the pasta water. Place the hot pasta directly into the egg mixture. Add the reserved pancetta and watercress, remaining olive oil and cheese on top of the hot pasta. Grind over plenty of black pepper. Toss everything to combine, moistening with a little pasta water if necessary. Serve immediately.