Zucchini Carbonara

This week seems to have gotten away from me! I am a bit behind on posting, but I thought I would share with you a fabulous summer pasta dish. When you have lots of zucchini around, this is a great way to use it. Not to mention this dish has bacon…umm yum. (Ali says that everything should come with bacon and a biscuit! Gotta go to the DMV? Here is your bacon and a biscuit!) Anyway, the bacon works quite well here. This may not be the lowest calorie dish, but it is amazing and so silky. I made this for an impromptu dinner for some friends and we killed the dish. It was fabulous! This is from Jamie at Home by Jamie Oliver. I love Jamie’s food and the whole concept of knowing what goes into your food and where it came from. It is something we strive for with regular trips to the farmers’ market and by growing some things at home. I would love to do more, but even the small steps make a difference. Do you have strategies for eating local and wholesome? I would love some tips! For now, go find some fabulous zucchini and try this one out!


Beautiful Zucchini Carbonara

Courtesy of ‘Jamie at Home’ by Jamie Oliver

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

6 medium green and yellow zucchini

1 pound penne

4 large free-range or organic egg yolks

½ cup heavy cream

2 good handfuls of freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Olive oil

12 thick slices (about 1 pound) of bacon, cut into chunky pieces

Small bunch of fresh thyme, leaves picked and chopped, flowers reserved (if you can find flowering thyme)

Optional: a few zucchini flowers

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.

Halve and then quarter zucchini lengthwise. Cut out and discard any fluffy middle bits, and slice the zucchini at an angle into pieces roughly the same size and shape as the penne. Smaller zucchini can simply be sliced finely. Your water will now be boiling, so add the penne to the pan and cook according to the packet instructions.

To make your creamy carbonara sauce, put the egg yolks into a bowl, add the cream and half the Parmesan, and mix together with a fork. Season lightly and put to one side.

Heat a very large frying pan (a 14 inch one is a good start – every house should have one!), add a good splash of olive oil and fry the pancetta or bacon until dark brown and crisp.

If there is a lot of fat, you can pour some of it off. Add the zucchini slices and 2 big pinches of black pepper, not just to season but to give it a bit of a kick. Sprinkle in the thyme leaves, give everything a stir, so the zucchini become coated with all the lovely bacon-flavored oil, and fry until they start to turn lightly golden and have softened slightly.

It’s very important to get this next bit right or your carbonara could end up ruined. You need to work quickly. When the pasta is cooked, drain it, reserving a little of the cooking water.Immediately, toss the pasta in the pan with the zucchini, bacon and lovely flavors, then remove from the heat and add a ladleful of the reserved cooking water and your creamy sauce. Stir together quickly. (No more cooking now, otherwise you’ll scramble the eggs.)

Get everyone around the table, ready to eat straight away. While you’re tossing the pasta and sauce, sprinkle in the rest of the Parmesan and a little more of the cooking water if needed, to give you a silky and shiny sauce. Taste quickly for seasoning. If you’ve managed to get any zucchini flowers, tear them over the top, then serve and eat immediately, as the sauce can become thick and stodgy if left too long.

This is all that was left!! Enjoy J



    • That is a great overview about Zucchini Carbonara! Personally, I would never replace the bacon with the zucchini, bacon makes everything better! (Though you certainly could for a vegetarian.) I also tend to like the smaller zucchini because they have less seeds are are very tender. The thyme in this recipe is one of my favorite parts. The beauty of the dish is that you can put in whatever you love! Thanks for the link!! ~Kelly

    • I like the write up…don’t know if lemon, et. all would really be traditional for carbonara. The old way I used to make it (before Jaime) was only hot spagetti, in a bowl w/ an egg or two cracked in it and lots of parm and pepper, stir, stir, stir.

      I was vegetarian for 15 years. I’m not a big fan of subs for meat. If I’m not eating meat I like to go without. Like ummm fettuccine alfredo? Prefer portobello instead of burger substitutes. If I was going to sub the zuccas for bacon, I think I would slice them super thin and grill, then cut them up so you can get the smoke flavor. I love how Jaime has you cut them about the size of the penne.==Mary

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