THE month of May is finally here.

In the UK, it is a time where many traditions are observed. May Day is celebrated on May 1.

It is celebrated with large gatherings, with communities holding fetes where a May Queen is crowned and many fun activities like dancing take place.

In Italy, May is also a month of many traditions. The Sagra di Sant Efisio, celebrated on May 1, is one of the most important festivals in Sardinia. In Umbria, Calendimaggio is celebrated in early May – a spectacular evocation of Medieval and Renaissance costumes and life.

Giro d’Italia is a large bike race in Italy, sort of like the Tour d’France, which starts in early May and goes on for most of the month. The race takes place in the scenic countryside and many people come out to spectate.

They celebrate Pinocchio’s birthday in the Tuscan town of Pescia, the Daffodil Festival in the Abruzzo town of Rocca di Mezzo the Chianti Wine Festival takes place in Montespertoli – and so many more.

For this month’s recipe, I have decided to keep it simple and classic with a spaghetti carbonara.

As is the case with many Italian dishes, there are several origin stories for spaghetti carbonara. It was said the word carbonara came from the Italian word ‘carbone’, meaning coal. Some believe the dish is named this because it was traditionally cooked on charcoal grills, or because it used to be served to coal miners.

Legend has it this method of cooking pasta was very popular among Roman Carbinai – men who worked in the bush, carbonising wood to produce charcoal.

It has even been suggested the carbonara was invented by a cook who was a member of the Carbonari, the group of Italian revolutionaries who fought against the Austrian occupation of northern Italy, active from the end of 18th century all the way to the Italian independence.

A further explanation for the birth of this delicious dish dates back to 1945 when American troops entered Rome at the end of the Second World War. Supposedly, the troops went to the Roman trattorias (a sort of informal restaurant) and asked for a lunch they would be used to, like eggs, bacon and noodles. It is said the Roman chefs could not make a dish using these ingredients that satisfied the American troops, so they took matters into their own hands and mixed everything together, creating the carbonara we know today.

Carbonara sauce is simply made using eggs, cheese (usually pecorino cheese), bacon (preferably pancetta) and black pepper. The secret is to ensure your eggs do not scramble while you are cooking them.

A traditional carbonara recipe does not call for cream, however adding a little cream can ensure your eggs do not scramble and cook lightly instead.

l Have you missed any of Nick’s previous Tutti Sono Amici articles? If so, they can still be viewed on the Keighley News website at by clicking on the What’s On heading at the top of the homepage, then Food & Drink and finally Tutti Sono Amici. Here you will find all his past articles and recipes.