What’s not to love about Fettuccine Carbonara? Well, that it isn’t very good for you at least. That’s about the only thing I can think of.
That is why when I came across this recipe in my Bon Appetit this last month I just had to give it a try. A carbonara without egg? Weird, I know. But trust me, this has so much vegetable in it, you’ll think it is practically a health food. But at the same time, it tastes decadent and delicious.
In fact, you could even leave out the cheese if you or those around you are of the lactose intolerant persuasion. It will not take away from the dish at all. With or without the cheese, you have a pasta rich in flavor, delightful in texture, and with a beautiful color.
In fact, looking at these pictures, I am suddenly inspired to paint my whole world in this color scheme.
I’m in an orange wall kind of mood.
Back to the food: The sage makes the squash really sing. It is such a nice, green, earthy flavor in the midst of the relatively sweet squash. The butternut squash itself is silky smooth and tastes like you added a ton of cream in there somewhere, even though there isn’t a drop. And then the bacon. My goodness the bacon. The original recipe called for pancetta, but I used good old bacon and it worked just beautifully. Make sure you get your bacon nice and crisp, so that it provides a nice variance in texture when you dig into a bowl of the pasta. And trust me, you are going to dig into this. This is the kind of dish that winter is all about. The recipe is a keeper; something I look forward to making again. I can’t get enough butternut squash this time of year and this may be my new favorite way to eat it.
Butternut Squash Carbonara with Bacon and Sage
From Bon Appetit
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 4 oz. bacon chopped
- 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh sage
- 1 2-lb. butternut squash, peeled, seeded, cut into ½” pieces (about 3 cups)
- 1 small onion, chopped
- 2 cloves garlic chopped
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
- 12 oz. fettucine or linguine
- ¼ cup finely grated Pecorino, plus shaved for serving
Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add bacon, reduce heat to medium, and cook, stirring occasionally, until crisp, 8–10 minutes. Add sage and toss to coat. Using a slotted spoon, transfer bacon and sage to a small bowl; set aside.
Add squash, onion, and garlic to skillet; season with salt and pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, until onion is translucent, 8–10 minutes. Add broth. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer until squash is soft and liquid is reduced by half, 15–20 minutes. Let cool slightly, then purée in a blender until smooth; season with salt and pepper. Reserve skillet.
Cook pasta in a large pot of boiling salted water, stirring occasionally, until al dente. Drain, reserving 1 cup pasta cooking liquid.
Combine pasta, squash purée, and ¼ cup pasta cooking liquid in reserved skillet and cook over medium heat, tossing and adding more pasta cooking liquid as needed, until sauce coats pasta, about 2 minutes. Mix in ¼ cup Pecorino; season with salt and pepper.
Serve pasta topped with reserved bacon and sage, shaved Pecorino, and more pepper.
Photographs by Jessica Yager