Butternut Squash Carbonara

Main Dishes, Recipes

Butternut squash carbonara

Pasta – it has to be the ultimate comfort food. It was rather fitting that National Pasta Day fell on a bit of a dreary day, perfect for a warm wool blanket and a bowl of cozy noodles. I’ve always loved a good Carbonara: such simplicity. But also SO many calories. I stumbled upon a recipe on the Bon Appétit site for Winter Squash Carbonara and fell in love with the idea.

I made some tweaks and turned up this variation that tastes so creamy and delicious with a fraction of the fat and calories that the traditional version has.  AND it’s loaded with Vitamin A and fibre from the squash.

Butternut squash carbonara ingredients

Now, a word of advice: that pasta water is pure gold.  Make SURE that you don’t throw it out (I used to throw it out and got quite the lecture from my talented hubby…never again).  It adds a velvety creaminess to the pasta that gives the ‘impression’ of loads of cream and butter.  Best trick ever!

Serves 4-6 (depending on if it is a main dish or a side dish)


  • 5 slices good quality bacon, diced
  • 3 Tbsp. fresh sage leaves
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed
  • 3 1/2 c. diced (peeled) butternut squash
  • 1 1/2 c. chicken stock
  • 2/3 c. grated fresh parmesan
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 12 oz. linguine pasta



1. In a heavy saucepan over medium heat, cook the bacon until browned (it should still be soft, not too crispy).  Add the sage leaves and cook for approximately 2 minutes, until the sage leaves are crispy. Remove the bacon and the sage leaves with a slotted spoon and set aside.

Cooked sage and bacon in white bowl

2. Using the same pan, add the onion and cook for 2 minutes.  Add the garlic and cook for another 2 minutes, stirring (add a bit of chicken stock if the pan is browning and drying out).  Add the butternut squash and the chicken stock, stir, cover and simmer for approximately 20 minutes or until the squash is soft and cooked through.

Butternut squash for Butternut squash carbonara 3. Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil for the pasta.  Add the pasta once the water has boiled and cook until al dente.  Have your pureed squash mixture (below) ready.

4. Transfer the squash mixture to a bowl and, using an immersion blender, blend until smooth.  Be careful not to burn yourself!  Place the squash mixture back into the pan and add the bacon and sage leaves (reserve a couple of sage leaves for garnish) along with the parmesan cheese and salt and pepper.

Butternut squash carbonara in progress

5. Using a set of tongs, add the pasta to the pan along with 1/2 cup of the pasta water.  Mix together with the tongs, adding more pasta water if needed to make it a smooth, velvety sauce.

Hot pasta being removed from pot 6. Serve immediately with the extra sage leaves and some extra fresh grated parmesan as garnish.

Butternut squash carbonara in pot

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11 Comments on “Butternut Squash Carbonara”

  1. Sonia


    Just tried this recipe last night and it was absolutely delicious! thanks for sharing this 🙂 Is it possible to include how many servings this will make? I think it serves about 5 people or if your like my family 4.
    just thought I would share.


    1. Tori Wesszer

      Hi Sonia,
      Such great feedback, for some reason I often forget to do that in my excitement while posting recipes. I agree it is 4-6 servings depending on if it is a side dish or a main, I’ll do that. Thank you for taking the time to make the comment and try the recipe! Have a great weekend, Tori

  2. Jenny Johnston

    Anything to substitute for the parmesan? I’m sure t makes it delicious but I’m too sensitive to dairy:(

    1. Tori Wesszer

      Hi Jenny, you could try a vegetarian parmesan substitute, I haven’t tried it with it but that may work, or you could leave it out all together and see how it tastes, you would just need to add a bit more salt to make up for the flavour in the cheese.

  3. Mimi

    Hi Tori!!!! I just made this pasta and substituted the parmigiano with Emmentaler cheese, and still came out perfect! It’s going to be in repeat for the rest of winter! Thank you!

  4. Whitney

    Quick Question
    So would you sauté it all in the bacon grease or did you wipe it out?
    Thanks going to give this and the Mac and Cheese a try see what the kids think!

  5. Robyn

    this is so good! The entire family loved it (kids are 5 and 3). Instead of using an immersion blender, I threw everything in my vitamix and it blended up perfectly. My husband couldn’t believe that it wasn’t made with heavy cream! We will absolutely be making this again. If only I found this recipe sooner

  6. Cindy


    This was AMAZING. So tasty. Probably my new favourite pasta! Thanks for another terrific dinner idea! Now I’m really dying for my copy of the cookbook!

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