Butternut Squash Spaghetti Carbonara.
NEW FAVORITE DINNER ALERT!
Sorry to shout. It’s just SO good. Winter food at it’s finest!
For a long time, carbonara was my home alone meal. My single girl meal, which just meant that I made it when Eddie was traveling or out for dinner without me. I figured he would NEVER go for carbonara because there isn’t chicken or steak or another kind of meat aside from crumbled bacon.
One day (or night), I had no idea what to make for dinner and was asking him for suggestions. This is usually a huge fail because if Eddie has just eaten, he can’t see to his next meal. His go-to answer is, “I just ate, I’m not hungry, so I don’t know what I want.” (Even if 31 minutes later he is STARVING OMG THE WORLD IS ENDING.)
That’s also one of the reasons that menu planning can be tough in our house because he prefers not to commit to five different kinds of meals in one day, but I can handle that. Since I have a general idea of his favorites, I can often menu plan with success.
That one day, the one day I asked him what we should have for dinner, he came back with… “what about carbonara?”
Um, what? My jaw dropped. What did he even MEAN carbonara? Was this a trick question? Was he going to request carbonara with grilled chicken? When I asked if he was serious, if he wanted it as an actual full meal and not as a side dish, he was like… “yeah. I mean it’s all bacon and eggs, so that’s protein.”
Boom. Problem solved.
I mean, of course I knew that, but many other dishes I try to serve him with just bacon or eggs? Usually require a big old steak or something. Not to mention, did he even realize how much cheese was actually in carbonara? I had no idea.
But I certainly wasn’t telling him.
So it’s become a serious comfort food staple in our house. Not a week staple or anything, but a comfort food staple – and something that I even make in lieu of breakfast for dinner because it’s just SO easy.
So so simple.
And now, I’ve found an even more delicious version if that’s possible. I found a way to remove half of the cheese from the recipe – which, let’s be real, there is still a BOATLOAD of cheese in this recipe – but HALF the cheese? I swapped it for butternut squash.
Oh god. I SWAPPED CHEESE FOR A VEGETABLE.
Halp me. Next thing you know I’m going to be dipping pepper slices in hummus and throwing my pita chips away.
If you’re a crazy fan of squash like we are, you will absolutely love this. The squash adds a wonderful richness to the pasta in a “wintery” way. I mean, carbonara is rich enough as it is, but this adds richness in a vegetably way. A little spice, a little more heartiness, a little more warming that just regular carbonara.
The only downside here is that this recipe does require more time than traditional carbonara since you’re roasting and pureeing squash. You can always do that part ahead of time though. It can be a part of your menu planning on Sundays or if you’re really crunched for time, you could use pureed butternut squash.
I have all the solutions for you, trust me.
Pretty sure you have dinner tonight!
Butternut Squash Carbonara Pasta
- 2 cups cubed butternut squash
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
- 8 slices bacon, chopped
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- 1/2 pound whole wheat spaghetti
- 3 large eggs
- 3/4 cups freshly finely grated parmesan cheese, plus extra for topping
- extra salt + pepper for taste, if needed
- fresh herbs for sprinkling
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or aluminum foil.
Toss the squash cubes with the olive oil, salt, pepper and nutmeg. Spread them out on the baking sheet and bake for 15 minutes, then toss and bake for 15 more, or until tender when pierced with a fork.
Add the squash (and any olive oil drippings) to a food processor and blend until completely pureed and smooth. Once smooth, add the squash to a large bowl with the eggs and parmesan cheese. Whisk until combined and most of the lumps have been smoothed out.
While the squash is roasting, you can heat a large skillet over medium heat and add the bacon. Cook until totally crispy and the fat is rendered. At this time, you can also boil the water for the spaghetti and cook it.
Remove the bacon from the skillet with a slotted spoon and place it on a paper towel to drain the grease. Place the garlic in the skillet and cook for 1 minute. Add the spaghetti to the skillet and toss it well in the bacon fat with kitchen tongs - you want it to be throughly coated. Remove the skillet from the heat.
Pour in the squash/egg/parmesan mixture and stir quickly and constantly to create a creamy sauce, tossing for about 3 to 4 minutes or so. Stir in the bacon into the pasta and sprinkle with fresh herbs. Top with extra cheese. Taste and season additionally if you'd like. Serve immediately!