Pumpkin Carbonara

Today is National Spaghetti Day.Pumpkin CarbonaraI know, right? What a fantastic day to celebrate! I can think of no less than a hundred references to my all-American favorite. Singing “On Top of Spaghetti” on the bus ride home. Spaghetti Junction in downtown St. Paul. Spaghetti westerns. The Flying Spaghetti Monster. Throwing spaghetti on the wall. Uh-oh-Spaghetti-O’s. A spaghetti strap dress.

I could go on and on…

Bacon and Ham

Today I thought I’d pay tribute with one of my favorite spaghetti recipes, pumpkin carbonara. Traditional carbonara sauce is made with copious amounts of pancetta, cream and parmesan. There’s nothing I love more than bacon and heavy cream. But since we’re all only 4 days into those New Year’s resolutions I thought we’d lighten things up a bit. I adapted my recipe from this Cook’s Country magazine low-fat carbonara by adding frozen pumpkin puree from our garden, substituting local ham for the Canadian bacon, and skipping the mayo. Lastly, I used a wider spaghetti to soak up all that tasty sauce. Any size pasta you’ve got will do just fine. If it’s January 4th, I’d definitely choose spaghetti to celebrate!

Pumpkin Carbonara

Pumpkin Carbonara 

Adapted from Cook’s Country Oct/Nov 2008


1 large egg plus 1 egg white
1 cup of Parmesan cheese, plus more for topping
1/4 cup half and half
2 cups pumpkin puree
1/2 cup fully cooked ham, cut into 1/2″ chunks
2 slices bacon, chopped into 1″ pieces
3 garlic cloves, chopped
1/3 cup white cooking wine
1 teaspoon pepper
1 pound pasta

1. Cook pasta according to package directions. Reserve 1 cup of pasta water before draining.
2. While pasta is cooking, combine, egg, cheese, half and half, and pumpkin in a food processor. Set aside.
3. In a large skillet, cook ham and bacon until browned. Remove from pan and set aside on paper towel. To the bacon drippings add garlic, wine and pepper. Cook for 1-2 minutes until garlic softens. Remove from heat and set aside.
4. When pasta is finished cooking return it to the pot. Add the 1 cup of pasta water to the food processor mixture while the motor is running to temper the eggs. Add wine and garlic mixture. Pulse until just combined.
5. Pour sauce over pasta, toss in bacon. Top with salt and more grated Parmesan. Serve immediately.

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