alla carbonara

When in Rome...

Basic greetings

  • Buongiorno, buon pomeriggio, buona sera, buona notte – Good morning, good afternoon, good evening, good night
  • Ciao. Io mi chiamo […], tu come ti chiami? – Hello. My name is […], what’s your name?
  • Salve – Hello / Goodbye (more formal)
  • Arrivederci – Goodbye
  • Piacere di conoscerti – Nice to meet you
  • Grazie – Thanks
  • Prego – You’re welcome
  • Per favore / per piacere – Please
  • Scusi / Mi scusi (formal), Scusa / Scusami (informal) – Excuse me / Sorry
  • A presto, a domani – See you soon, see you tomorrow

Asking for information

  • Dov’è il museo? – Where is the museum?
  • … la chiesa? - … the church?
  • … la piazza? - … the square?
  • … la fermata dell’autobus / della metro? - … the bus stop / the metro station
  • … il Colosseo? - … the Colosseum?
  • … un ristorante / un bar / una pizzeria / una trattoria? - … a restaurant / a bar / a pizzeria / a trattoria (a sort of casual restaurant)?
  • … il bagno? - … the toilet?
  • Come posso arrivare a…? – How can I get to…?
  • È a destra / a sinistra – It’s to the right / to the left
  • È in fondo alla strada – It’s at the end of the road
  • Quanto costa questo / quello? – How much does this / that cost?
  • Quanto costa il biglietto? – How much is the ticket?
  • Qual è il prezzo? – What’s the price?
  • Mi dispiace, non capisco. – I’m sorry, I don’t understand
  • Parli inglese? (informal) / Parla inglese? (formal) – Do you speak English

At the restaurant

  • Vorrei un tavolo per due/tre/quattro/cinque persone – I would like a table for two/three/four/five
  • Posso vedere il menu? – May I see the menu?
  • Vorrei ordinare… - I would like to order…
  • Prendo… - I’ll have…
  • … un po’ di pasta – some pasta
  • … pasta alla carbonara
  • … pollo, carne, bistecca, vitello – chicken, meat, steak, veal
  • … pesce – fish
  • … insalata – salad
  • … un antipasto – an appetizer
  • … una bottiglia di acqua / di vino – a bottle of water / of wine
  • Sono vegetariano / vegano – I am vegetarian / vegan
  • Sono celiaco – I suffer from celiac desease
  • Sono allergico a… - I’m allergic to…
  • Sono intollerante a… - I’m intolerant to…
  • Il conto, per favore – Check, please
  • Buon appetito! – Enjoy your meal
Another 3 Things you shouldn't do in Italy

DON’T take a tourist gondola ride in Venice unless you’re prepared to pay EURO 80-100 per gondola for a 40 min ride. These are official rates so don’t get taken for a ride by shady gondoliers who charge random prices. On a budget, try hopping a Traghetto, one of the water taxis used by locals to cross the Canale Grande. The ride will be shorter, but the boats are similar except that tickets will cost around 5 EURO. 

DON’T expect the “Italian” food served in other countries to actually be served in Italy. Italian food is VERY regional. It’s also seasonal. Try local specialties, e.g. Genoa for pesto; Naples for pizza; Bologna for Bolognese sauce and filled pastas like ravioli, tortellini, lasagna; Milan for risotto and Ossobucco alla Milanese; Rome for Spaghetti alla Carbonara, Spaghetti all'amatriciana, and lamb. Gnocchi, bresaola, polenta dishes, and Tiramisù are found all over the country, but they’re native to North Italian regions like Lombardy and the Veneto. Prosciutto/Parma ham is most commonly associated with central and northern Italy. Oh and Americans, NO PEPPERONI PIZZA (lol).

DON’T tip, no matter what they tell you abroad. Tipping is not obligatory or common in Italy and can be an insult. However, tourist-savvy service people may have heard that other nationalities (especially Americans!) are genetically programmed to tip everything from waiters to performing rabbits, so the cheekier ones might try to work you for some spare change. Unless they gave you the best service in the history of the planet, resist. People earn a living wage so there’s absolutely no need to tip.

DON’T ask your waiter for Parmesan to put on your seafood pasta unless you want to see a grown man cry. One of the holiest commandments of traditional Italian culinary etiquette is that cheese and seafood never, ever mix. Only very recently have certain cheese/seafood pairings cropped up - i.e. ricotta with sea bass, gorgonzola with clams - but this is considered very avantgarde;a purist won’t touch such dishes. Also, for the love of Saint Peter, don’t let an Italian see you cutting spaghetti with a fork and knife or roll it on a spoon.

what’s with this ‘one pan’ obsession? every time i see one of those hellish buzzfeed-style ‘how to cook pasta alla carbonara with only one pan’ videos i die a little bit inside. god is dead and you killed him.

Easy Spaghetti alla Carbonara by Vince

Basic recipe for a quick and easy dinner. I’ve been doing this differently each time (to accomodate who I’m feeding. My dad wanted a more “saucy” pasta so this version reflects such a request.) Feel free to add any precooked proteins (mostly going to be chicken for us) to this for a really full meal. Tonight, we ate this with some chicken marsala and mushrooms made by my brother.


  • how ever much spaghetti you want to eat (sorry no help here really)
  • olive oil to coat the pan
  • 3 chopped cloves of garlic
  • 5 slices of thick-cut bacon sliced into half inch sections
  • red pepper flakes 
  • half a white onion
  • chopped parsley 
  • 3 eggs
  • a splash of milk
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • grated parmesan cheese to taste 


  1. Boil a big pot of water with a heaping palm of salt and splash of olive oil
  2. Add your spaghetti and cook until al dente (read your box or bag of pasta for that time)
  3. When the pasta is boiling, coat a large pan on medium heat with olive oil and add your bacon to render all the bacon fat. Add your onions to get them start cooking. Once they’ve turned relatively clear, add your garlic and red pepper flakes to taste and lower the heat as not to burn your garlic! Keep on low heat. 
  4. Beat three eggs, add salt and pepper to taste, and add a splash of milk to make it more liquidy. Add your parm to taste and set aside.
  5. Quickly chop up some parsley and set aside.
  6. Once the pasta is done, reserve maybe four or five ladle fulls of the cooking water and essentially temper and cook some of the egg mixture by whisking in some of the hot water. (This was the “saucy” part that I changed to fit today’s dinner. Normally, I just beat three eggs, salt, pepper, and a little milk, and some parm.)
  7. Add your still steaming pasta into the pan with the bacon, onions, garlic, and red pepper flakes. Mix well, and take the pan off the heat.
  8. Add your egg mixture and mix well, making sure the egg mixture coats the spaghetti evenly. The egg will continue to cook around the hot pasta and and in the pan.
  9. MIx in your parsley and empty the pan out into a dish. Garnish and enjoy!

After watching so many episodes of CSI: Las Vegas and Law&Order: SVU, I have decided that I could either be the greatest cop this world has ever seen, or an amazing serial killer – decisions, decisions. Let’s blame those thoughts on my boredom while I wait for the little guy to wake up. I might also be preparing Pasta Alla Carbonara for breakfast. Nothing wrong here~