Winter Squash Carbonara with Crispy Pancetta and Sage

This carbonara is named for its rich and creamy sauce which is made from puréed squash without a drop of cream or a single egg yolk.  So you can indulge in comforting carbonara even if you’re still sticking to your resolutions to eat healthier foods! The sauce gets its silky texture from the squash which is cooked down with onion, garlic and a bit of olive oil in some chicken broth then puréed until smooth.  The pasta is tossed in the gorgeous golden sauce then crowned with pecorino, crispy pancetta and sage.  A bit of shaved pecorino and some toasted pine nuts(optional) are tossed on top just before serving.   I found this dish required more fresh ground pepper than usual to contrast with the sweetness of the squash. Comfort food with less guilt!


Winter Squash Carbonara with Crispy Pancetta and Sage

 Adapted from Bon Appetit

  • 2 T olive oil
  • 4 oz pancetta, chopped
  • 1 T finely chopped sage leaves
  • 3 c  of kabocha or butternut squash peeled, seeded, cut in chunks
  • 1 yellow onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper, to taste
  • 2 c low sodium chicken broth
  • 12 oz fettuccine, linguine or pappardelle
  • 1/4 c finely grated pecorino plus more shaved, for the top
  1. Heat oil in a large skillet.  Add pancetta and cook until crispy, about 8-10 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Add sage, toss to coat then transfer to a small bowl.
  2. Add squash, onion and garlic to skillet, season with salt and pepper and cook, stirring occasionally until onion is translucent.  Add broth and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat and simmer until squash is soft and the liquid has reduced by half, about 15-20 minutes. Cool slightly then purée until silky smooth in a food processor.
  3. Meanwhile cook pasta as per directed, in salted water.  Reserve a bit of cooking liquid.  In the skillet, return the pasta and toss with the squash purée, over medium heat, adding a bit of cooking water as needed until pasta is evenly coated.  Mix in the grated pecorino and adjust the salt and pepper to taste.  Plate and top pasta with the pancetta, sage, shaved pecorino and toasted pine nuts, if using.   Buon appetito!

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15 thoughts on “Winter Squash Carbonara with Crispy Pancetta and Sage

  1. Just last weekend I bought the ingredients to make this too! I picked up the Bon Appetit Comfort Food issue and there it is…this delicious bowl of comfort. Glad to hear you love it. I’m making mine tonight!

    • You will enjoy it! Josette (of the brook cook)said she also made it and loved it! I did not need to add any pasta water as my squash purée turned out just thick enough. Enjoy!

      Johanne Lamarche


    • You and many others, Jenna! I guess it was just reprinted in Bon Appetit Comfort dishes special issue. My recipe was from 2014 I believe. Just so good and so easy with a lot less guilt! Enjoy Jenna!

  2. Pingback: Squash! 16 Delicious Recipes | French Gardener Dishes

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