Zucchini Carbonara

While my posts might typically suggest otherwise, I actually do like to prepare and eat dishes that are, at least moderately, figure friendly. In fact, ironically, I myself don’t actually eat most of what I post. A dear friend of mine has been telling me for months how she makes pasta for her family and, since she is watching her carbs, eats the same sauces only on ribbons of zucchini instead of noodles. What a great idea. Yesterday, as I sat staring at my seemingly endless pile of CSA produce (the majority of which was green and yellow zucchini), I thought why not borrow her idea and make some zucchini carbonara. My mother (who is a lover of purchasing random, useless As-Seen-On-TV gadgets) gave me one of those julienne peelers a while ago, which I have never actually used. I thought I would give it a go and see if it did not in fact make the making of the zucchini “pasta” a little bit easier. And while, to be fair, it did score all of the slices, I still had to manually separate each stand, so the process took longer than one would hope. Next time I will just try slicing them with the julienne blade on my mandaline and see if that doesn’t prove to be easier(using a vegetable peeler would also work well, just be sure to leave the seeds behind as you slice). Once I had a nice pile of the zucchini strands (about 4-5 zucchini’s worth), I blanched them in boiling salted water for about two minutes, and then shocked them in a bowl of salted ice water. Meanwhile, I beat four extra large eggs, a handful of Parmesan cheese, a generous dash of freshly ground black pepper, a healthy pinch of pimentón (to sort of emulate the missing smoky bacon),and just for fun, a tablespoon of homemade basil pesto.  I poured off the water from the blanching, reserving about a cup of the liquid, and return the pan to low heat. I add in about a third of a cup of the cooking liquid, and whisk vigorously while slowly adding the egg mixture. (If I were making this with actual pasta I would add the eggs over the cooked pasta, after it had taken a twirl in the traditional pancetta or bacon fat, but since I omit the bacon, and since the zucchini isn’t quite as sturdy as the pasta, I make the sauce separately to avoid breaking up the “noodles.”) Cook over low heat whisking constantly for about two minutes, or until thickened. Add the zucchini, stirring gently, along with an extra sprinkling of Parmesan cheese, and cook long enough to warm it through, adding a splash of extra cooking liquid if it needs it. It is creamy, rich, flavorful, and surprisingly satisfying. Giving you that same experience of pasta, without any of the carbs. In a way, it is sort of like a stove top gratin. This makes both a delicious side dish or vegetarian main course. What a great new way to eat your vegetables.  Enjoy!

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11 Comments

Filed under Side Dishes, Vegetables

11 responses to “Zucchini Carbonara

  1. Looks and sounds wonderful :)

  2. well, carbonara sauce will make anything unhealthy, but this looks delicious regardless because I do love zucchini!! haha! A low carb meal for sure :)

    • jacobskitchen

      lol. Really, without the bacon and cream, the sauce isn’t terribly bad for you. Less than one egg and maybe two tablespoons of Parmesan cheese per serving. I mean, come on. =) The good news is that it still tastes creamy, rich and delicious.

      Thanks for stopping by!

  3. That’s funny…I don’t eat a lot of what I post either. This looks so good though. I do something similar (using the zucchini as the pasta) with raw zucchini and raw marinara. It’s quite delicious. Beautiful dish Jacob.

  4. Brilliant idea! I may try this for dinner as we’re ‘suffering’ from a surfeit of zucchini right now!

  5. Wow! That looks great. The zucchini actually looks like spinach fettuccine – how fun!

  6. Great recipe! I use zuchs as pasta all the time, because it’s naturally low carb. And I adore carbonara, so this is right up my alley.

  7. This looks heavenly!! Wow! Great colors too!!

  8. woman&warrior

    Wow, thanks for making me believe that this is an idea worth trying. Weight watchers pushes its clients to think that spaghetti squash makes ‘great spaghetti’–but let me tell you, it so doesn’t. This recipe however looks much better, and has the added benefit of a protein. Looking forward to trying this recipe out. Thanks for the vegetarian love.

  9. Looks wonderful. We eat spaghetti squash “pasta”, but never thought of trying Zucchini. We’ll have to try it.

  10. What a fantastic idea!! Really neat!

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