Saturday, February 15, 2014

Butternut Squash Carbonara with Bacon and Herbs

I've been experimenting with carbonara, especially the more traditional kind with eggs and bacon. It's tasty, but for awhile I was looking for something different and a teeny bit healthier. This version is interesting-butternut squash replaces the eggs, adding a thick and rich sauce that aside from the cheese, has no dairy. The squash gives you a sweeter, silky sauce with a bit of salty bacon. While it's best served the day you make it, you can save leftover sauce for a few days.

Serves 4


6 slices of bacon, chopped into small pieces
1 Tbsp finely chopped fresh sage (thyme is a good substitution)
one 2 lb butternut squash, peeled and chopped into 1/2 inch cubes (about 3 cups)
1 small onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, mined
salt and freshly ground pepper
2 cups low sodium chicken or vegetable broth
12 oz pasta-fettuccini is good, but I used fusilli
1/2 cup grated Parmesan or asiago


In a large, deep skillet, fry up the bacon until crisp. Remove the bits with a slotted spoon and drain on a paper towel lined plate.

Add the onion to the pan and cook in the bacon until softened and translucent. Add the garlic and squash to the pan, stirring and cooking, until softened. Keep the heat on medium low and watch carefully so that the garlic doesn't burn. Saute the squash and onion mixture about 10 minutes or so.

Pour the broth into the pan and bring to a boil. Turn the heat down and simmer for about 20 minutes or so, until the squash is cooked and the liquid is reduced by half. Take off the heat and let cool slightly.

Carefully and in batches, puree the squash and liquid in a blender until smooth. Transfer the pureed sauce back to a pot and put it over low heat. Add salt and pepper to taste.

When the pasta is finished cooking, set aside 1/2 cup of the starchy water and drain the rest. Transfer the hot, cooked pasta to a large, deep skillet and ladle in some of the sauce. Thin with a bit of the water and bring to a bubble. Toss and cook for a few minutes, adding more sauce or water as needed. Sprinkle in 1/4 cup of the cheese and the cooked and cooked chopped bacon, along with the thyme/sage leaves.

Serve with more cheese on the side and a sprinkle of fresh cracked pepper.

Adapted from Bon Appetit
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