Vegetable Carbonara, Welcome Spring!

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Spring is so late, I’m waiting for summer already. We’ve been having a lousy winter, and astronomical spring hasn’t really been different.

I’m no “I want an eternal springtime” person, as a matter of fact I quite enjoy the turnover of seasons. As long as there is a turnover, I mean.

Anyway, halfway between rain dance and sheer indifference to the weather, I have started to cook spring stuff anyway. Not easy either, because spring crops are as late as the weather. You don’t live in Italy to have to buy greenhouse zucchini in May, no?

Zucchini is a favourite in the house, also because they are so quick to make they allow one of the quickest dishes I know: vegetable carbonara. How quick? I file it under “fast food” because the time you need is the time required to boil water and cook pasta. OK, you need to put cold tap water on the stove, but we’re still talking

Apron-to-dish time: 25 minutes

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 2 zucchini per person
  • 1 whole egg per person
  • 30g of grated parmesan per person
  • 80 to 100g of pasta per person
  • salt, pepper, nutmeg

Regarding pasta, I suggest you use the thickest spaghetti you can find, or rigatoni, or penne. You can also use fettuccine or tagliatelle, the result is excellent even if purists may cringe (we’ll just let them cringe).

So: quick, I said? here it is:

Dice zucchini and sauté with a little oil
Dice zucchini and sauté with a little oil

Put a pot of cold water on the fire. Dice the zucchini and sauté on full heat with a little oil for 10-12 minutes. Stir continuously or they’ll stick. As soon as the water boils, throw the pasta in. Zucchini will be ready by now, you’ll choose how much cooking they need. You can keep them a little crunchier, or have them almost to mash point. I prefer the latter, but it’s not a dogma.

While the pasta cooks and the zucchini have a few extra minutes, grate the parmesan in a bowl or a dish, throw in the shelled eggs and mix together, with a little salt, a generous dose of pepper and a little grated nutmeg.

When the pasta is ready put a little fire under the zucchini, drain the pasta, put it back in the pot off the fire, and pour the egg-cheese mix over it. Stir immediately, until it loses most of the liquid (it will require no more than a minute).

Then toss in the zucchini, mix again and serve.

Your veggie carbonara is ready!
Your veggie carbonara is ready!

Wasn’t it 25 minutes? Enjoy!


  1. What a brilliant feature you have with your photographs. I love it. I really like the recipe too! Thank you for stopping by today and liking my post “pasta with baby artichokes”. You have a very nice blog here. 🙂

  2. Hi just wanted to say my day was made when I saw an Italian had liked my ‘Aubergine Carbonara’! I like the idea of doing it with zucchini too and will try it in the future – interesting to see you’ve put the whole egg in here – is there a right and wrong way?

    • Hi cheaphealthyfood,
      funny enough, I never thought of using aubergines!
      The idea behind the whole egg is to have a softer, creamier sauce. The yolk-only version tends to make clumps almost immediately (unless you keep the yolk undone, which we in the family do not like at all). Putting in the whole egg lets you cook the sauce by stirring the pasta on the fire without getting clumps all at once.
      We just prefer it this way.
      I like your blog, keep up the good work (and yes, just say no to marmite sandwiches and chicken-flavored noodles)!

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