Butternut Carbonara

This weeknight pasta has all the vibes of traditional carbonara, but with a veggie boost. 

butternut carbonara
Photo: Antonis Achilleos
Hands On Time:
30 mins
Total Time:
30 mins

Don't be fooled by the addition of butternut squash in this irresistible pasta. This bowl of creamy spaghetti has all the ingredients and rich flavor you expect from classic carbonara: egg yolks, pecorino, and bacon. The addition of butternut squash puree amps up the striking orange color and nutrition, plus it delivers a subtle fall flavor, thanks to honey and thyme. It's a pasta recipe with a veggie boost you'll make again and again. Swap bacon for guanciale as a nod to the classic, or top your pasta with crispy chickpeas for a vegetarian take.


  • 1 pound spaghetti

  • 6 slices uncooked bacon, chopped into 1/2-in. pieces

  • 1 12-oz. pkg. frozen butternut squash puree, thawed

  • 4 large egg yolks

  • 1 ½ teaspoon chopped fresh thyme

  • 1 teaspoon honey

  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt

  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more for serving

  • 4 ounces pecorino Romano cheese, grated on a microplane (about 2 1/2 cups), divided

  • ¼ cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley


  1. Bring a large pot of generously salted water to a boil. Add pasta; cook according to package directions for al dente. Drain, reserving 1 cup water.

  2. Meanwhile, cook bacon in a large skillet over medium, stirring often, until crispy, 5 to 7 minutes. Transfer to a towel-lined plate. Reserve 2 tablespoons drippings in skillet.

  3. Microwave defrosted squash puree on high for 1 minute to warm.

  4. Whisk egg yolks in a large bowl; drizzle in reserved hot bacon drippings, whisking constantly to combine. Whisk in squash puree, thyme, honey, salt, pepper, and 2 cups cheese until combined. Gradually drizzle reserved pasta water into egg mixture, whisking constantly, taking care to avoid curdling yolks. Add pasta; toss well to coat.

  5. Serve pasta topped with bacon, parsley, and remaining 1/2 cup cheese. Garnish with a few grinds of pepper.

Nutrition Facts (per serving)

675 Calories
18g Fat
95g Carbs
31g Protein
Nutrition Facts
Servings Per Recipe 4
Calories 675
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 18g 23%
Saturated Fat 8g 40%
Cholesterol 224mg 75%
Sodium 915mg 40%
Total Carbohydrate 95g 35%
Dietary Fiber 6g 21%
Total Sugars 7g
Protein 31g

*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.

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