Saturday 25 May 2019

Clodagh McKenna: Easy butternut squash carbonara

This week, our chef Clodagh McKenna adds cubes of sweet squash to a smokey Italian supper

Butternut squash carbonara
Butternut squash carbonara
Butternut squash carbonara
Clodagh McKenna

Clodagh McKenna

I'm writing this week's column from Toronto, Canada. I come here every month or so to pre-record my cooking segments on The Marilyn Denis Show. It's really good fun.

Yesterday I got to travel to a fabulous community farm just outside the city to harvest vegetables and cook an outdoor supper for the programme. It's the most exciting time for produce such as end-of-summer tomatoes and the beginning of my favourite autumn vegetable, butternut squash.

I love to make carbonara - it's creamy, packed with smoky flavours and so comforting after a long day's work. I've added butternut squash to this recipe, as it adds an amazing caramel flavour and smooth texture.

A sprinkle of earthy sage on top and a glass of red Barbera from Piedmont completes the perfect autumn supper!

Butternut squash carbonara

Serves 4

Preparation time: 15 minutes

Cooking time: 25 minutes

Serve with: Araldica Barbera D'Asti Superior


2 tbsp olive oil

100g pancetta

2 garlic cloves, crushed

350g butternut squash, cut into 1cm cubes

100ml crème fraîche

400g spaghetti

2 egg yolks

50g Parmesan cheese, grated, plus extra to serve

1 tbsp fresh sage, finely chopped

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper


1. Heat the oil in a frying pan. Add the pancetta, followed by the garlic, and cook over a medium heat for about five minutes. Stir in the squash and season with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper. Cover with a lid and cook over a low heat for 15 minutes, until the squash is soft.

2. Meanwhile, cook the spaghetti in boiling salted water. Drain and reserve a cupful of the cooking liquid.

3. In a small bowl, whisk together the egg yolks, crème fraîche and Parmesan cheese and set aside.

4. Add the pasta to the squash mixture and toss to combine, then quickly toss in the egg and Parmesan mixture, plus enough of the cooking water to make a creamy sauce (about 2 tbsp). Check the seasoning and divide between four pasta bowls. Add a sprinkle of the chopped fresh sage and Parmesan cheese on top.

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