Pasta + Zucchini Carbonara


I’ve assumed for a very long time that everyone makes Pasta Carbonara.  Without a recipe, just by use of memory and repetition. As if it is one of their kitchen staple dishes that they go to when in doubt and in pinch.  And when they are strapped for time and need the worlds fastest dinner on the table. Because thats absolutely how it is for me. But my mama slapped me ever so gently on the wrist when she called the other night when I was whipping this one up, it went a little like this:  

Mom:  Honey, I have never made that dish…send me the recipe, it sounds so yummy and Dad would love it!  Have you blogged about it?

Me:  No, I havent, I just assumed everyone already makes it.

Mom:  You’re assuming!  I never really knew what carbonara was until you just told me.

And as that beautiful, wise, fabulous woman taught me at a very young age:  You know what happens when you assume?  You make an ASS out of U and ME.


So I laid my assumptions to rest.  And here I am throwing the recipe right smack dab on the blog for all to see.  Do you make carbonara?  Also known as bacon and egg pasta?  There’s really nothing as simple.  As delicious and dependable.  And nothing that gets gobbled up quite like it in my home.


As if bacon and eggs aren’t perfect enough…the Italians went ahead and combined it with pasta.  Such smarty pants, they are.  It’s the most simple, quick, easy, memorizable pasta recipe.  But it tastes nothing close to ordinary.  Heres how it goes:  Brown diced pancetta and garlic.  Toss in cooked pasta.  Remove from heat and stir in a couple eggs that have been whisked with grated parmesan.  And Ta-Da!  The most lucious, rich, craveable pasta in the world.  A perfect product of the ‘sometimes-simple-is-better’ rule.


But whats even better?  When you add shredded zucchini to it!  1) your  kids wont even realize its in there 2) you will be absolutely delighted how the freshness of the zucchini compliments the richer than rich pasta…it’s a match made in heaven!.


I hope this one becomes a repeat offender in your home if it isn’t already….it’s totally worthy of the title, friends!

Pasta + Zucchini Carbonara

notes:  both gluten free and whole grain pasta also work great here


1 Pound Dried Pasta
2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
4 Ounces Diced Pancetta or Bacon
4 Garlic Cloves, finely chopped
1 Large Zucchini, shredded on a box grater
2 Large Eggs + 1 Egg Yolk
1 Cup Grated Fresh Parmesan
Cracked Black Pepper
Parsley, for garnish


Bring a large pot of pasta to a boil and add a large pinch of salt. Stir in pasta and cook until el dente, just minute or two short of the box recommendations. Reserve 3/4 cup of the pasta cooking water and drain pasta in a colander.

While the pasta is cooking start your ‘sauce’: Heat olive oil over medium high heat in a large skillet or dutch oven. Add pancetta or bacon and cook, stirring occasionally, until browned. Stir in garlic and zucchini and cook for 1 minute. Add the pasta to the pot and cook, stirring often, for 2 minutes.

Whisk the eggs + yolks and parmesan together in a small bowl. Remove the pot with the pasta in it off the heat, pour in the egg + parmesan mixture and stir continuously until a sauce is created (if you do not stir constantly the eggs could scramble-you don’t want that!). Use the reserved hot pasta water, bit by bit, to loosen up the pasta/sauce if it is too thick. Garnish with additional grated parmesan, cracked black pepper and parsley for garnish. Serves 4

Adapted from this recipe

24 thoughts on “Pasta + Zucchini Carbonara

  1. Thank you! I make carbonara with peas all the time, but somehow never thought about putting in shredded zucchini. And we’ve reached that time of year where any recipe that uses up zucchini is much appreciated!

  2. That’s a funny conversation with your mom. šŸ™‚ Thanks for sharing the recipe. It looks delicious! Is there a way to make this dish without the use of the eggs? Would you recommend a substitute?

    1. Thank you for the note! Truthfully this dish wouldn’t be the same without the eggs…the eggs are what make the sauce so creamy. You could absolutely just coat the pasta in the pancetta fat and toss in Parmesan at the end…it would still be tasty!

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