Miso & Butternut Squash Carbonara – a vegetarian, fall rendition of the Italian classic with toasted walnuts, crispy sage and an unexpected punch of umami goodness from miso paste.
I’m putting a little pause on all things pumpkin for the moment to bring you what is quite possibly my new favorite fall pasta dish: Miso & Butternut Squash Carbonara.
It’s my personal opinion that butternut squash doesn’t get nearly as much love as it deserves this time of year, overshadowed by all the pumpkin spice everything recipes that hit the internet like a ton of bricks every October. I’m not saying I don’t love it, I just think butternut squash needs its moment in the sun, too.
One of my favorite ways to highlight butternut squash is in a pasta dish- if you’re familiar with my vegan butternut squash mac and cheese recipe, you’ll know this to be true.
Why this recipe for Butternut Squash Carbonara works:
- This vegetarian Carbonara is a simple, easy weeknight meal you can whip up in 25 minutes, yet it’s classy and elegant – perfect for company.
- The hot pasta cooks the added egg resulting in a luxuriously creamy carbonara sauce without using any cream whatsoever.
- Sweet roasted butternut squash, toasty walnuts and crispy fried sage add tons of flavor to this fall-inspired pasta dish.
- Miso paste increases the umami factor and makes this vegetarian pasta extra savory.
If you’ve ever had traditional carbonara pasta, you’ll know that the sauce is comprised of egg and parmesan (with lots of black pepper thrown in for good measure), and that the hot cooked pasta actually cooks the egg as you toss it with the sauce, resulting in a rich, silky sauce without using any cream whatsoever.
Traditional carbonara also normally contains bacon, but since I’m keeping my version vegetarian, we’re relying on sweet roasted butternut squash, toasty walnuts and crispy fried sage (aka the fall flavor trifecta) to add tons of flavor to this Miso & Butternut Squash Carbonara.
I loved the idea of adding savory miso paste to the mix, too! I’ve seen it done before and wanted to include it here in my fall-inspired version of this Italian classic, especially since without bacon the dish really needed a punch of umami flavor.
The finished butternut squash pasta is silky and smooth without feeling heavy, with sweet, savory and earthy notes all wrapped up in a bowl of fall goodness. I know this Butternut Squash Miso Carbonara is going to be a new fall classic that you’ll want to make over and over again.
My tips for making the perfect Carbonara:
- Visible black specks of pepper are a must when serving carbonara. Make sure to use freshly ground pepper. It adds a wonderful heat to the finished Butternut Squash Carbonara.
- Hot pasta water is perfect for loosening pasta dishes as it contains starch, which adds to the silkiness of the finished sauce. Feel free to add a small amount of hot pasta water when tossing the drained pasta with the egg mixture.
- Do resist the temptation to return the pasta to the hot stove when tossing. The heat from the just-boiled pasta water will be more than enough to thicken the yolks into a velvety sauce.
- This Butternut Squash Carbonara should be served as soon as it’s ready. Prepare and measure out everything you need before you start cooking and make sure the table is set.
Variations on this Butternut Squash Carbonara:
- Roasted Kabocha squash is the perfect substitution for butternut squash. It’s a bit sweeter than butternut squash, with a firm flesh and an edible skin.
- For an extra rich and creamy carbonara sauce, swap one of the eggs for 2 egg yolks.
- If you don’t like walnuts, feel free to use pecans instead.
- I opted for classic spaghetti but a flat pasta like fettuccine or tagliatelle also work really well.
How to roast butternut squash in the oven?
Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F. Wash, peel (optional, you can actually eat the skin) and chop the squash into cubes. Toss butternut squash cubes with olive oil and garlic in a large bowl. Season with salt and black pepper. Arrange the coated squash on a lined baking sheet and roast it until the squash is tender and lightly browned, for roughly 25 minutes.
What to do with leftover Butternut Squash Carbonara?
I’d recommend reheating leftovers in a pan and adding a splash of water or broth to help revive the carbonara sauce. If you like to prep your meals in advance, you could boil all the pasta and roast all the squash the first time, and then do the sauce step fresh each time you plan to serve it.
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Butternut Squash Miso Carbonara
Butternut Squash Miso Carbonara- a vegetarian, fall rendition of the Italian classic with walnuts, sage and a punch of umami goodness from miso paste.
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt plus more for pasta water
- 1 pound gluten free spaghetti
- 2 garlic cloves minced
- 2 large eggs plus 1 large egg yolk
- 2 1/2 tablespoons red or yellow miso paste
- 1 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper plus more for serving
- 1 1/4 cups finely grated Parmesan plus more for serving
- 1 lb butternut squash peeled, cubed and roasted
- 1/2 cup walnuts toasted
- 1/4 cup sage leaves fried until crisp
In a large bowl, whisk together garlic, eggs and egg yolk, miso paste, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and 1 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper. Set aside.
Bring a 6- to 8-quart pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add spaghetti to boiling water and cook according to package directions until spaghetti is al dente.
- Drain in a colander and immediately toss the hot pasta with the miso and egg mixture with tongs until combined. Add half of the parmesan and toss to combine. Add the remaining parmesan and toss until the pasta is coated in a silky, cheesy sauce. Add butternut squash, walnuts and sage and toss gently.
- Divide pasta among four bowls, top with more Parmesan and cracked black pepper, and serve immediately.