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Sometimes you stumble across the perfect place to eat at just the right moment. This happened in Rome, when we had walked too far and were beginning to feel very hungry: cutting through a back street somewhere near the Trevi fountain, we came across a small, busy restaurant with just one empty table outside, inviting us to stop and eat. What a welcome plate of pasta carbonara that was! You can serve this with classic spaghetti, or with rigatoni if you like.

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Heat a large heavy-based frying pan on a medium-high heat, add the guanciale and fry it for 6–8 minutes until golden and crispy. Place a colander on top of a bowl and tip the guanciale into it. The fried meat will retain its crispiness when separated from the fat, which will drip through the colander and which can then be poured into a large saucepan. Place the meat to one side until you’re ready to use it.

In a large bowl beat the egg and egg yolks together with a wooden spoon, then add the cheeses and plenty of freshly ground black pepper (don’t be shy). Beat again until you create a thick, grainy paste. Set aside.

Bring a large pot of water to the boil, season it generously with table salt and cook the fettucine for 2 minutes.

Meanwhile, place the saucepan of fat over a low heat, add a half a ladle of the pasta cooking water and swirl it together. Transfer the cooked pasta into the fat using tongs, tossing together a few times until fatty liquid starts to coat the strands of pasta.

Now work quickly, as you need to avoid scrambling the eggs in the hot pan. Take the saucepan off the heat and pour the egg mixture into it, along with most of the guanciale (keep a little back as a garnish). Mix really well, using either tongs or two spoons, lifting and turning the strands of fettucine to make sure they are well coated with the sauce. Add the lemon juice and more pasta cooking water, if needed, and season to taste with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper.

Divide the pasta between four plates, scatter the remaining crispy guanciale over each one and serve with more pecorino (of course).