We give classic carbonara a healthy spin using nutty whole-grain pasta and infusing a more traditional carbonara sauce with sweet butternut squash. Use pre-chopped squash to streamline the prep for this recipe--and be sure to brown the squash to deepen the entire dish's flavor. Don't forget to reserve some pasta water--it adds silkiness to the sauce.

Karen Rankin
Source: EatingWell.com, October 2019


Recipe Summary

30 mins
30 mins


Ingredient Checklist


Instructions Checklist
  • Cook bacon in a large skillet over medium, stirring often, until bacon is crisp, about 5 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon to a plate lined with paper towels; reserve drippings in skillet. Add sage leaves and cook until crisp, about 1 minute. Using tongs, transfer leaves to paper towel with bacon.

  • Add squash to skillet and cook over medium-high, stirring often, until lightly browned, about 2 minutes. Add garlic, pepper and salt and cook, stirring often, 2 more minutes. Add stock and let come to a boil over medium-high. Reduce heat to medium and cook, partially covered, until stock is reduced by half and squash is very tender, 13 to 15 minutes. Remove skillet from heat. Pour mixture into a blender; add butter. Secure lid on blender and remove center piece to allow steam to escape. Place a clean towel over opening. Process until smooth, about 30 seconds. Return mixture to skillet.

  • Cook pasta in a large pot of water according to package directions, omitting salt and fat. Drain pasta, reserving 1 cup cooking water.

  • Add parsley and 1/2 cup of the reserved cooking water to squash mixture; stir to incorporate. (Add remaining 1/2 cup cooking water, 1 tablespoon at a time, if needed to reach desired consistency.) Add cooked pasta; toss and top with Parmesan cheese, bacon, and sage leaves. Serve immediately.

Nutrition Facts

375 calories; protein 19g 38% DV; carbohydrates 54g 17% DV; exchange other carbs 3.5; dietary fiber 7g 28% DV; sugars 5g; fat 13g 20% DV; saturated fat 5g 25% DV; calcium 148mg 15% DV; potassium 412mg 12% DV; sodium 565mg 23% DV.

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Rating: 4 stars
Impressive. My husband doesn’t like “different” sauces (other than red or cream) on his pasta and he really enjoyed this. I made as directed except,, after blending the sauce, I poured it back into the pan, turned the heat on low, added a couple of handfuls of (julienned) baby spinach leaves and, when they wilted a bit, stirred in about a tablespoon of half-and-half to finish. Sprinkled smoked paprika after adding the cheese and bacon on top. A very good alternative sauce for pasta (and I’m going to try it on sautéed chicken breasts, too). Read More