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From the Italian carbonara ‎(of a charcoal burner). Possibly describing its origins as a meal for coal workers, or as a reference to the Carbonari revolutionary group.


carbonara ‎(plural carbonaras)

  1. A thick pasta sauce, usually made with eggs, cheese, and bacon.
    • 1999, Roger D. Skillings, Where the Time Goes[1], page 10:
      One of my own grand carbonaras, some crisp and spicy greens, a clean Tuscan white, a pint of raspberry sorbet, a pot of freshly ground strong coffee, and a long beguiling night on my couch in pajamas with cannabis, good TV, and no qualms about the future, please.
  2. A spaghetti dish made using such a sauce.


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Italian Wikipedia has an article on:

Wikipedia it


carbonara f

  1. (of pasta sauce) made from guanciale, grated cheese and beaten egg cooked gently by the heat of the pasta



  1. feminine singular of carbonaro

Usage notes[edit]

  • Outside of Italy, especially in processed sauces, egg is replaced with cream