Spaghetti Squash Carbonara

Spaghetti Squash Carbonara

I’m a big fan of most types of squash. Summer, butternut, pumpkin, even acorn (though I still have a few on my kitchen counter, waiting to be turned into food). But Spaghetti squash? Eh… There’s just something about one food trying to be another that I’ve never really been able to support. Like Tofurkey. WTF? If you’re vegetarian and don’t eat turkey, fine. But how filling up on all the other wonderful things the harvest provides? Like roasted vegetables, mashed sweet potatoes, apple pie…why ruin it with a log of fake meat? So similar to fake meat, why would I want veggie strings of fake pasta?

So when I first saw the Kitchn’s Baked Spaghetti Squash Carbonara recipe, I was a bit skeptical. But as many people, I’m weak. All those promises of cheesy, creamy and bacon had me immediately won over. I had to try it.

The major lacking ingredients from the original are wine, peas and cream. Dry white wine is a MUST in carbonara. It adds depth of flavor and a richness unmatched by anything else. And who doesn’t love peas? Cream, yes I know is not traditional, and often only found in the bastardized versions of carbonara, but here it works. And is necessary.

This dish has opened me up to the idea of spaghetti squash. It is rich and creamy but doesn’t leave you feeling too gluttonous, like a generous bowl of traditional spaghetti carbonara might. Plus, it’s the perfect holiday transition food. Still rich, but full of nutrients as many tradition to their New Year’s resolutions.

Baked Spaghetti Squash Carbonara

Spaghetti Squash Carbonara (adapted from The Kitchn) Serves 8

  • 4 lb spaghetti squash
  • 4 oz pancetta or prosciutto
  • Medium yellow onion
  • 1 c frozen peas
  • 3/4 c dry white wine
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 c ricotta
  • 2 tbsp heavy cream
  • 1/4 c parmesan
  • Salt to taste

Heat the oven to 350°F. Cut the squash in half lengthwise with a sharp chef’s knife. Scrape out the seeds and seed flesh with a spoon and discard. Pour 1/2 cup water into a 9 x 13-inch baking dish and place the squash cut side down in the water. Roast for 45 minutes or until tender.

In a heavy skillet, cook the pancetta over medium heat until the edges crisp. Add the onions and cook for 5 to 6 minutes or until soft and beginning to brown. Add wine and peas, scraping the brown bits of the pan as you go. Cook until peas are tender, about 5 minutes and remove from the heat.

In a large bowl whisk the eggs, then whisk in the ricotta and cream. Fold in the cooked bacon mixture, then add grated parmesan cheese, salt and pepper.

When the squash can be easily pierced with a fork, remove it from the oven and turn the heat up to 375°F. Remove the squash from the baking dish and let it cool slightly. Dump out any water left in the baking dish, wipe it dry and then grease it lightly with cooking spray.

Shred the inside of the squash with a fork into spaghetti-like strings and remove from the outer shell. You should have approximately 6 cups. Mix the squash strings into the egg and onion mixture. Spread in the baking dish and bake for 45 minutes or until firm and golden on top.

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