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Zucchini Carbonara

4 to 6 Servings

40 minutes

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Classic pasta carbonara is made with eggs, cured pork and cheese. We learned this fantastic vegetarian riff from Roman home cook Claudia Rinaldi. The guanciale or pancetta traditionally used is replaced by garlicky, golden-brown zucchini that itself brings a meatiness to the dish. The squash is sautéed and the pasta boiled, then the two are tossed with a mixture of umami-packed Parmesan, tangy pecorino Romano, rich eggs and starchy pasta cooking water. The resulting sauce is silky-smooth and creamy, yet light. We added lemon zest to the mix, which brings fresh, zingy notes, as well as red pepper flakes for subtle heat.

4 to 6



Don’t add the egg-cheese mixture until the pot is off the heat. This will prevent the eggs from overcooking and ensure that the sauce’s texture is velvety smooth.

40 minutes


  • 1

    large egg plus 1 large egg yolk

  • 1

    ounce pecorino Romano cheese, finely grated (½ cup), plus more to serve


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Lisa S.
July 24, 2023
Ignore the guy below
This was very tasty! Probably more like a 4/5, but I gave it a higher rating because of the poor soul below. Either he added 2 Tbsp of pepper or his family is the type who finds mayo too spicy. There’s literally no in-between. Follow the recipe as-is, and it is very tasty!
Candace T.
July 17, 2023
Veggie carbonara- finally
My Roman husband makes this for me because I don’t eat guanciale. He grills the zucchini dry in a hot cast iron skillet just because it’s less messy than frying. He seasons it with olive oil after. The amount of pepper seemed appropriate considering we use a coarse grind and a fruitier tellicherry pepper. His mom is not precious about ingredients, however, and her food is superior.
Terry V.
July 10, 2023
Great quick recipe and excellent use of zuccini
I needed a quick pasta recipe that would utilize a bunch of fresh zucchini. This recipe worked well. Browning the zucchini adds a nice depth of flavor. I added two links of hot Italian sausage and found the seasoning and spiciness complimented it nicely.
Alex B.
July 2, 2023
This recipe is just fine
No problems with this recipe. Classic Tuscan style pasta - nothing fancy. Tasty with bread & oil & a nice bottle of Sangiovese. I think the previous reviewer must’ve misread the black pepper amount - print magazine and online just calls for black pepper to taste and 1/2tsp red pepper flakes.
Connie S.
June 30, 2023
Easy and delicious - a simple riff on the usual carbonara. And to the person who gave this a 1-star review and complained about the recipe: you might want to look at the recipe again. It calls for pepper to taste, not the over-abundant 2-teaspoons you claim.