Pasta – it has to be the ultimate comfort food. I’ve always loved a good carbonara: such perfect simplicity. But also SO rich. I created a lighter, healthier version here with a Butternut Squash Carbonara that is so satisfying and flavourful!
This version of the classic is so creamy and delicious with a fraction of the fat and calories that the traditional version has. AND it’s loaded with beta carotene and fibre from the squash. Hook me up!
Now, a word of advice: that pasta water is pure gold. Make SURE that you don’t throw it out (I used to throw it out and got quite the lecture from my talented hubby…never again). It adds a velvety creaminess to the pasta that gives the ‘impression’ of loads of cream and butter. Best trick ever!
Of course if you are gluten free you can simply substitute gluten free pasta. And if you want to make this completely plant based, just leave out the bacon and use 3 tablespoons of avocado oil or olive oil instead and use vegan parmesan.
As always I would love to hear if you make this! If you’re looking for similar inspiration try out my Butternut Squash Mac n’ Cheese with Crispy Panko (great way to sneak in veggies for the kids… or adults lol) or my Next-Level Vegan Mac n’ Cheese that Charles LOVES! If squash is really your thing this Butternut Squash Lasagne is uh-mazing or make this dreamy Curry Coconut Soup.
Butternut Squash Carbonara
This creamy no-compromise Butternut Squash Carbonara is so satisfying and cozy! The recipe is a lighter version of the traditional heavy carbonara and leverages squash to make it healthier and so much more flavourful!
- 5 slices good quality bacon, diced (see notes for vegan sub)
- 3 tablespoons fresh sage leaves
- 1 cup yellow onion, finely chopped (1 small)
- 1 clove garlic, crushed
- 3 1/2 cups 1" diced peeled butternut squash
- 1 1/2 cups chicken stock (or vegetable stock_
- 2/3 cup grated fresh parmesan (use vegan parmesan if desired)
- salt and pepper to taste
- 12 oz. dry linguine pasta (use gluten free if needed)
In a heavy saucepan over medium-low heat, cook the bacon until rendered and browned (it should still be soft, not too crispy). Add the sage leaves and cook for approximately 2 minutes, until the sage leaves are crispy. Remove the bacon and the sage leaves with a slotted spoon and set aside.
Note: if skipping the bacon simply heat the oil and cook the sage leaves according to the directions above.
Using the same pan, add the onion and cook for 3-4 minutes or until the onion is soft and translucent. Add the garlic and cook for another 1-2 minutes until fragrant, stirring (add a bit of stock if the pan is browning and drying out). Add the butternut squash and the stock, stir, cover and simmer for approximately 20 minutes or until the squash is soft and cooked through.
While the squash cooks, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil for the pasta. Add the pasta once the squash has finished cooking.
Transfer the squash mixture to a bowl and, using an immersion blender, blend until smooth. Be careful not to burn yourself! Place the squash mixture back into the pan and add the bacon (if using) and sage leaves (reserve a couple of sage leaves for garnish) along with the parmesan cheese and salt and pepper.
Using a set of tongs, add the pasta to the pan along with 1/2 cup of the pasta water. Mix together with the tongs, adding more pasta water if needed to make it a smooth, velvety sauce.
Serve immediately with the extra sage leaves and some extra fresh grated parmesan as garnish.