Pasta Alla Carbonara (From Pasta & Other Things)
There are so many legends on the history of this dish that I do not believe that anyone knows the real origin. Since the word carbonara and the word carbone, the Italian word for coal, both derive from the Latin word carbo, I lean towards the coal miner legend.
According to this legend, the dish was popular with miners. When it was time to eat, all the ingredients were easily cooked over a campfire. The liberal use of pepper is considered a modern day metaphor for the specks of coal that would inevitably drop from the miners clothing onto the plates of pasta. Others say the name comes from the carbon that rose from cooking the dish over the campfire.
Wherever or whoever created this dish, I for one am happy they did. It is a delicious and easily made recipe. There are quite a few recipes for this floating around and many are close to the old recipe except those that add a cream sauce to it. If you want to taste a real pasta carbonara, please, please do not add cream to this recipe unless you actually want a pasta alfredo.