A lighter take on a classic carbonara that is super creamy and full of flavor, but contains NO cream! This winter squash carbonara uses squash puree for a beautiful color and a creamy texture.
Happy Monday everyone! Are you enjoying 2016 so far? I AM!
We have been checking off a bunch of wedding details this month – we picked out the tuxes, did our registry, had our menu tasting, tasted some amazing cake, and decided on favors! I’ll be sure to share the details and photos of everything after the wedding.
I do have to say – I’ve be so lucky. Everyone has been so accommodating with me being gluten-free. Everything from the hors d’oeuvres to the cake can be done gluten-free for me! I knew when we started the planning process that they could accommodate, but I didn’t know they would be that accommodating! It will be so nice to know that I can enjoy myself and not worry about accidentally eating something and getting sick.
Ok, enough wedding talk for today!
Let’s talk carbonara. I’m a huge fan of carbonara. It’s creamy, cheesy, and full of bacon! What’s not to love?
What it does to your waistline, that’s what.
I’m not saying this winter squash version is super waistline friendly, but it’s better than a version full of cream!
Traditional carbonara actually doesn’t contain cream – it’s a combo of the eggs and pasta water that create your sauce. However, a lot of recipes include cream. There’s certainly nothing wrong with that, either. I love me some cream.
I have to say, though, the winter squash makes this pasta so incredibly creamy! You won’t believe it until you try it. Plus, you get some added nutrition and a chance to sneak in veggies for those picky eaters out there. I can promise you don’t taste the squash – I served this to Kyle and he started eating it without even noticing that the sauce was orange. When I told him it was made with a winter squash puree, he was had no idea and said it tasted like regular carbonara!
I chose to make my own winter squash puree because I had a fridge full of different types of squash. I mean that literally – my fridge was really full with squash. I let them back up from my CSA – I had an acorn squash, a huge kobocha squash, two butternut squashes, a delicata squash, and one I couldn’t identify!
I cut them all in half, removed the seeds, and seasoned them with olive oil, salt, and pepper. Then, I laid them cut-side down on baking sheets and roasted them at 375º until they were tender. Since the squashes were different sizes, they had different cooking times. I just kept checking and pulled them out as they were done.
Once they cooled, I scooped the flesh out and into my blender. I obviously had way more puree than I needed for this recipe. So, I froze it in little containers. Now I can make this carbonara (and other good stuff) at the drop of a hat!
You can really use whatever winter squash you like – you definitely don’t need a medley! If you don’t want to make your own squash puree, you can buy it frozen.
If you love carbonara and want a lighter version with added veggies, this recipe will knock your socks off. And since it has eggs and bacon, it’s totally appropriate for breakfast ?
- 1 Lb. Gluten-Free Fettuccine Pasta, or pasta of your choice
- 4 Slices Thick Cut Bacon, chopped (use 8 slices if your bacon is thin)
- 2 Eggs, very well beaten
- 1 Cup Freshly Grated Parmesan Cheese, plus more for topping
- Salt & Pepper, to taste
- 2 Cloves Garlic, finely minced
- Red Pepper Flakes, to taste, optional
- 1 ½ Cups Winter Squash Puree*
- Chicken Stock, for thinning if too thick
- Fresh Parsley, chopped for garnish
- Cook the pasta in a large pot of boiling salted water according to the package instructions. Reserve ¼ cup of the cooking water.
- Meanwhile, cook the bacon in a large skillet until crisp. Transfer to a plate lined with paper towels. Drain all but 1 tablespoon of the drippings.
- While the bacon is cooking, prepare the sauce. In a medium bowl whisk the eggs vigorously and then add in the cheese and a pinch of salt and pepper. Set aside.
- Sauté the garlic in 1 tablespoon of the bacon drippings until fragrant. Add in the red pepper flakes (if using) and the squash puree. Allow the squash puree to heat through for about 1 minute and then stir in the cooked pasta.
- Whisk the reserved hot pasta water into the bowl with the sauce. This will temper the eggs so they don’t scramble when you add the sauce to the pan! Be sure you whisk vigorously while adding the hot water.
- With the heat on low, add the sauce to the pan with the pasta and squash mixture and stir for 1 minute. You’ll see the sauce will begin to thicken up. If it becomes too thick, add in a little chicken broth until the sauce is at your desired consistency.
- Serve the carbonara immediately topped with additional cheese and fresh parsley.
- *To make the squash puree you can use whatever winter squash you have or like. Cut the squash in half, scoop out the seeds, and season with olive oil, salt, and pepper. Roast the squash at 375º cut side down until very tender. Let the squash cool before scooping it into a food processor or blender and puree it until smooth. Any extra puree can be used in other recipes or frozen for later use!