Italy food tours

The Best of Italian Food

Back Roads Tour Leader Flavio

Flavio Lazzaretto

Tour Leader Flavio Lazzaretto was born and raised in Padua, Northern Italy – and probably has all the answers to your questions about Italian history and language. He enjoys showing guests every part of Italy; he loves the country, and appreciates the variety of cultures, landscapes and food in each region.

3rd July 2019

The Ultimate Carbonara Recipe

Ever wanted to serve up a delicious pasta dish like a real Italian? If you don’t know your pasta al dente from your carbonara sauce, then you need to meet Italian food lover and Back-Roads Tour Leader Flavio Lazzaretto.

Flavio started off his professional career as an IT Engineer, before realising that his dream job did not involve sitting in front of a screen. Enter: a Tour Leader career with Back-Roads.

‘I wanted to meet and talk to people, to explore and to manage challenging situations, which is why I applied to work as a tour guide’, Flavio said. ‘I already had experience guiding international students in my hometown of Padova and I worked as golf travel manager, fostering and growing my passion for travelling and inspiring other people which is the main reason why I love this job.’

Flavio’s love of food came from his parents who shared the love of Italian recipes with him from a young age. ‘My parents worked very hard and for long hours when I was a young boy, and I had to learn soon to be independent also in the kitchen,’ Flavio said. ‘Nevertheless, the Italian cuisine is so varied and prepared with fresh ingredients that is always a pleasure to cook, even for myself but it’s always better if friends are coming over.’

Are you ready for Flavio’s favourite Italian dish? Read on for his famous Spaghetti Carbonara below.

Flavio’s Classic Carbonara Recipe for 4 people

½ kg spaghetti (no.5 see Flavio’s tips about pasta thickness below)
Half an onion
4 eggs
200 grams of guanciale (dry cured pork cheek) or baconSalt and pepper to taste

1. Fill ¾ of a big pot with water and bring to boil, adding a pinch of salt when it's boiling. Then cook the spaghetti in it (al dente of course, as you want the pasta to remain firm)

2. In a frying pan, cook the thinly sliced onion with olive oil. Use a high heat to fry the onion until it’s almost black (the word carbonara comes from this carbon colour).

3. Once the onion is ready, add the pork or bacon (previously diced) and cook until browned.

4. While the meat is cooking, whisk the eggs (2 entire eggs and 2 yolks only) in a mug and add a pinch of salt and a generous pinch of pepper.

5. Strain the spaghetti and add the pasta in the pan with the bacon and onion, mix everything on a high heat before turning off the heat. Then stir the eggs in the same pot, add Parmesan (or pecorino cheese) and a bit of pepper… voilà! Mix and serve on warm plates.

Wine notes: Serve with a full-body but not too strong red wine, like a Chianti Riserva or Valpolicella Ripasso.

Pasta trivia: what is Spaghetti no.5?

‘Spaghetti no.5 indicates the thickness of the pasta,’ Flavio explains. ‘For example, spaghetti with seafood is well paired with thin pasta, like no.3. For a Bolognese sauce, I'd recommend a thicker spaghetti like no.7. Maybe this is just the way I’m used to eating spaghetti, and this preference might slightly change from region to region in Italy’.

‘Another recipe I love to make that my mom taught me is penne (or any short pasta) with cauliflower. After cooking both the pasta and the cauliflower in the same water, stir everything in a pan with olive oil, garlic, chili and parsley. Quick, easy to make and delicious!’

Other types of pasta:

Bucatini Amatriciana: Bucatini are very thick spaghetti with a hole inside that facilitates catching the tomato sauce

Fusilli: Ideal for vegetable-based recipes (e.g. cook with sliced capsicums, eggplants and zucchini)- Ravioli: Most of the filled pasta like ravioli will be served with a condiment of just butter and sage

Thanks Flavio for the delicious Carbonara recipe!

Want more from Flavio? Read his top tips for travelling Italy or a review of the Back-Roads Tuscan Treats tour.