Summer Spaghetti Carbonara
with bacon / peas / squash
Italian carbonara is one of those dishes that comes together like magic. Very hot pasta gently cooks eggs to transform them into a rich creamy sauce. A crumble of bacon gives it savory crunch. This version gets a lighter, summer twist with peas, squash and a topping of fresh basil.
Summer Spaghetti Carbonara:
- Cheese, parmesan - 3 oz , grated
- Bacon - 8 slices , chopped
- Squash, any variety (like zucchini or yellow squash) - 1/2 lb , cubed
- Sweet peas, frozen or fresh - 1 cups , defrosted
- Basil, fresh - 4 leaves , sliced
- Eggs - 2
- Lemons - 1/2 , zest of
- Pasta, spaghetti or linguini - 8 oz
- Black pepper - 1/2 tsp
- Cheese / Bacon - Prep as directed. (Can be done up to 5 days ahead)
- Squash - Cube squash. (Can be done up to 2 days ahead)
- Peas / Basil - If using frozen peas, rinse under warm tap water to defrost. Slice basil.
- Make sauce - Whisk eggs, cheese and lemon zest together. (You want this sauce ready to go so that it can be tossed with pasta just after it finishes cooking.)
- Bring a saucepan of salted water to boil. If you've never made carbonara before, check out this video.
- While water boils, heat a large skillet with oil over medium-high heat. Add squash and saute until squash is tender, 4 to 5 minutes.
- In the last minute of cooking, add peas to squash and saute just to heat through. Set vegetables aside and return pan to heat.
- Add pasta to boiling water and cook until al dente, tender but not soggy. Reserve 1/4 cup (59 mL) of pasta water (amount is for 4 servings, adjust accordingly).
- While pasta cooks, add chopped bacon to heated skillet and saute until bacon is crisp, 6 to 7 minutes.
- Add reserved pasta water to bacon and then turn off heat. (This is the key to a creamy sauce - if the burner is on when you add eggs, they will scramble instead of turning saucy.)
- Working quickly so that the pasta stays hot, drain pasta and add to skillet. Pour egg sauce over hot pasta and toss vigorously with tongs or two forks at least 20 times, until eggs form a creamy sauce. (The eggs will cook as you toss them in.)
- Stir in squash and peas.
- Transfer pasta to a serving plate and top with basil. Finish the dish with fresh cracked black pepper and enjoy!