This Zucchini Carbonara recipe is my springtime take on carbonara sauce. I replaced the traditional guanciale or pancetta (Italian bacon) in carbonara with a vegetable that reminds me of spring. Zucchini has a mild fresh flavor and wonderful refreshing scent.
I like to cut the zucchini into thin strips using a vegetables peeler. I find when I cut zucchini into coins, they get unpleasantly mushy. When I use them in strips, they get a creaminess that enhances the pasta.
Zucchini is low in calories but packed with nutrition. It is rich in vitamins A and B6, lutein, folate, and potassium. It has high fiber content which can aid with digestion. Plus, it tastes like spring.
The trick with carbonara sauce is to mix the egg yolks with the cheese to form a paste. Be sure to turn off the heat when adding it to the pan. Add the pasta water immediately and start to toss to coat the pasta with the luscious egg mixture. If the pan is too hot the eggs will scramble instead of forming a sauce. It’s easier than it sounds, don’t worry.
Here is my recipe for a creamy, satisfying Zucchini Carbonara.
- 16 ounces long pasta such as spaghetti or linguine
- 1 zucchini cut into thin strips
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 5 egg yolks
- 1/3 cup Romano cheese or Parmesan
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
- 1 cup reserved pasta water (very important)
- Put a large pot of water on to boil for the pasta. Cook pasta according to package instructions for al dente.
- While pasta is cooking, slice zucchini into thin strips using a vegetable peeler or mandoline.
- Heat olive oil in a large skillet. Add zucchini and garlic. Cook for 3-5 minutes or until soft. Set a few slices of zucchini aside per person for garish.
- In a mixing bowl, whisk together egg yolks and cheese.
- Drain the pasta, reserving some cooking liquid.
- Add the cooked pasta to the zucchini mixture, and toss.
- Turn off the heat. Add the egg mixture and some of the pasta water as needed. Toss and serve immediately. Garnish with pepper, cheese, and a few zucchini slices.