If you like carbonara, but don’t love all the calories, this Butternut Squash Noodle Carbonara is for you! Crisp butternut squash noodles coated in a silky, cheesy, carbonara sauce and tossed with pancetta and fresh sage, this dish is easy, comforting, healthy and perfect for fall!Hi friends! How was everyone’s weekend? For those of you who had to endure Hurricane Matthew, I hope you stayed safe and no major damage was done to your home!
Boy and I were more worried about my family in Orlando, FL than we were about ourselves, here in N to the C. But, as it turns out we should have been a liiiiiiittle more concerned for ourselves. Oops? You live, you learn right.
Next hurricane I am going to be that crazy neighbor who stock piles supplies.
You see, my mother never even lost power during the hurricane, she actually told me they were cooking up a pretty gourmet feast. And Boy and I were without power for about 5 hours. Plus our entire town ended up losing power, so there wasn’t anywhere to turn.
Can I just tell you, I have a brand new appreciation for electricity? I’ve been without power before, but I don’t remember it being SO boring.
And I also don’t remember being so hangry! All I wanted to do was eat something. Our fridge was empty, but our pantry is stocked with staples, however that doesn’t help when all those staples require you COOK them.
Needless to say, I wasn’t the happiest of campers for a good portion of the day.
Anyways, I’ll stop ranting now and start talking about what you guys actually come here for – the food.
SO, if you guys read my last post, you might remember me mentioning vegetable noodles that disintegrated like a magic trick gone wrong. Well folks, these are them!
I made this dish 3 times JUST to get the butternut squash noodles right. I’m going to let you all in on a secret – DO NOT boil butternut squash noodles!!
Take it from me who has to learn EVERYTHING the hard way, it does NOT work. Even if you boil them for just ONE minute, when you remove the “noodles” from the water they break up into a million pieces and resemble rice more than pasta.
Commit this to memory – Boiling water is a terrible, horrible, no good cooking method for butternut squash noodles.
Do yourself a solid and just say no to boiling butternut squash noodles, my friends.
So how DID I cook them you ask? I baked ‘em. High five to the oven. ✋
Butternut Squash Noodle Carbonara
This dish was worth EVERY single trial and error, you guys! If you like pasta carbonara, but you also like fitting in your skinny jeans, this health-ified version is for YOU.
Naturally sweet and savory, crisp butternut squash noodles coated and glistening in a silky, cheesy, rich carbonara sauce, tossed with salty, crispy pancetta and earthy, herbaceous sage.
This dish is healthy, easy AND comforting.
Fall noms for your face, y’all!
Twirl. Chomp. Chew. Repeat.
What does carbonara mean?
Carbonara, pronounced karbo-na-ra, is a rich Italian pasta dish made with eggs, cheese, pancetta and fresh ground pepper. The dish was created in the mid 20th centery in Rome.
While spaghetti is the usual pasta found in pasta carbonara, fettuccine, linguine, bucatini or rigatoni can also be used.
The actual word, carbonara, is derived from carbonara, the Italian word for ‘charcoal burner’.
To cut carbohydrates and make carbonara an healthier dish, packed with nutrients, butternut squash noodles are substituted for the traditional pasta in this squash carbonara.
When to add eggs to carbonara?
To make carbonara, raw eggs are added to hot pasta at the end of cooking. The eggs can be added one of two ways – directly to the skillet, off of the heat (turn the burner off and physically move the skillet off the burner) to prevent the eggs from curdling, or the pasta can be transferred to a heated serving dish or bowl and the eggs can be added then. If adding the eggs to pasta in a bowl, you need to make sure the pasta is still hot, as the gentle heat from the pasta combined with the raw eggs is what forms the creamy, smooth carbonara sauce.
Why did my carbonara curdle? Why is my carbonara sauce lumpy?
If you add the eggs to the skillet with the pasta while the skillet is still on the heat, you will more than likely curdle the eggs. Likewise, if you transfer the pasta to a bowl that is heated too hot and add the eggs, they will curdle.
Carbonara can be tricky, as you need gentle heat. The skillet or bowl needs to be hot enough to thicken the eggs, but not so hot that you scramble the eggs. If the heat in your skillet or bowl is above 145 degrees F, your eggs will scramble and you will end up with a lumpy sauce.
Also, make sure you use room temperature eggs, as cold eggs can also cause your sauce to be lumpy.
And, one last tip to velvety carbonara, make sure you are evenly distributing the eggs while pouring and tossing the pasta continually.
How long will carbonara last in the fridge?
Leftover pasta carbonara should be safely stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator. Properly stored carbonara should keep for 3 days.
Notes, Tips & Tricks for Butternut Squash Noodle Carbonara recipe:
- In case you skipped through the beginning of this post – DO NOT try to boil the butternut squash noodles, they will break apart into a million pieces. The recipe below calls for baking your “noodles” until crisp or “al dente”. Do not over bake them or they will turn mushy.
- To make the squash easy to peel I like to microwave mine. Simply use a fork to pierce shallow holes all around the squash and microwave it for 45 seconds to 2 minutes. Let it cool and then proceed to peel it. Microwaving it softens the skin and makes it a cinch to peel!
- To spiralize the squash, cut the bulbous end and the tip off of the squash. You just want to work with the long cylindrical part. Cut the long cylinder in half and then spiralize both halves.
- You can spiralize the squash in advance. The ‘noodles’ will keep, covered (or stored in a Ziploc) in the fridge for 3 days.
Get on this Butternut Squash Noodle Carbonara. With only 30 minutes start to finish, there are no excuses. 😉
Until Thursday friends, cheers – to skinny eats.
How to make homemade Butternut Squash Noodle Carbonara at home 👇
Butternut Squash Noodle Carbonara with Pancetta & Sage
- 1 medium Butternut Squash – peeled & spiralized* (1 pound of noodles)
- 2 TBS Extra-Virgin Olive Oil , divided
- 4 ounces Pancetta – diced (can substitute bacon)
- 1 TBS Fresh Sage – finely chopped, plus more for garnish
- ½ Yellow Onion – finely chopped (about ¾ Cup)
- 2 Whole Large Eggs plus 2 yolks
- 1/3 Cup Parmesan , packed – freshly grated (about 1 ounce)
- 1/3 Cup Pecorino Romano , packed – freshly grated (about 1 ounce), plus more for garnish
- Kosher Salt and Freshly Ground Black Pepper
- Vegetable Stock or Chicken Stock (optional)
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
- For the carbonara sauce: In a mixing bowl, whisk together the eggs, yolks, parmesan and pecorino. Season with a pinch of salt and pepper. Whisk until well combined and set aside.
- Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the pancetta and reduce heat to medium. Cook, stirring occasionally, until crisp, about 5-7 minutes. Add in the sage and stir to combine. Use a slotted spoon to transfer pancetta and sage to a small bowl. Set aside.
- Add the onion to the skillet and season generously with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally until onion is translucent, about 4-5 minutes. Reduce heat to low and add back in the pancetta and sage.
- Meanwhile, bake the noodles: Toss the butternut squash noodles with 1 tablespoon of the oil and season generously with salt and pepper. Bake for 10-15 minutes, or until ‘al dente’, tossing noodles halfway through cooking.
- Transfer pasta to skillet with onion and pancetta. Toss to combine and remove from heat.
- Slowly pour the egg mixture over the noodles, stirring constantly. Mix until the eggs have formed a smooth, creamy sauce. Add in stock, 1 tablespoon at a time, if needed for creaminess. Taste and adjust for seasoning with salt and pepper.
- Serve immediately garnished with additional pecorino and sage if desired. Enjoy!
*To spiralize the squash, cut the bulbous end and the tip off of the squash. You just want to work with the long cylindrical part. Cut the long cylinder in half and then spiralize both halves.
*You can spiralize the squash in advance. The ‘noodles’ will keep, covered (or stored in a Ziploc) in the fridge for 3 days.