If anyone ever reads this they should understand I'm not trying to reinvent or be definitive on anything, my recipe posts are just how I do them and how they have been handed down to me, and perhaps how I've incorporated my own personality and taste on them. In other words, please don't comment back with a know-it-all attitude like this guy: http://www.foodandwine.com/members/mike1949
I'm plenty aware of the recipe context, and usually have Googled and read many other versions of what I do, and often try to hunt down a recipe origin. Its my hobby.
Here's my family's carbonarra recipe. Its not the original or the true Italian type, its just how we do it. Rachel Ray has a great recipe as does Food and Wine, and if you use Google, you can find how it was originally made. My favorite pasta for this is the traditional bucatini or perciatelli; this recipe refers to fettucini. That's ok too. You want something that grips the creamy goodness. I'm not a huge fan of pepperon so I just dice chunks of ham or bacon (cooked first, removed, re-added) but its best if you use high quality nicely cured Italian pork product, like gunicale or pancetta (as opposed to bacon- fry remove re-add). Also, I personally like pecorino-romano better than parm. Use both or whatever. Tallegio or even mascarpone might work as a creamy cheesy subsitute, but I have not tried those. Peas and mushrooms would compliment this dish. Lots of calories here folks, it tends to be a special day dish.