Recipe – Zucchini Carbonara

Zucchini Carbonara
Carbonara sauce traditionally contains guanciale (cured pork cheek), but I had a delicious vegetarian version with zucchini at Fratelli Paradiso in Potts Point, and couldn’t resist trying to recreate it at home. You need female zucchini flowers for this recipe, they’re the ones with the baby zucchini attached to them. It’s important to use authentic Italian Pecorino Romano, and to toss the pasta with the egg mixture while both the pasta and the cooking water are still very hot, so the residual heat cooks the egg and melts the cheese to make the delicious creamy sauce. Tortiglioni is a short tube-shaped pasta, use rigatoni or penne if you prefer, any shape that will catch the delicious sauce in its hollows. And serve a glass (or 2) of Hughes & Hughes skin ferment pinot gris alongside.

Serves 6 as an entrée

Ingredients
  • 6 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 225g freshly grated Pecorino Romano
  • Freshly cracked black pepper, to taste
  • 8 female zucchini flowers
  • 500g tortiglioni
  • 75g unsalted butter
  • 2 zucchini, coarsely grated 

Try my recipe for authentic Carbonara with guanciale. Here’s all you need to know about cooking pasta perfectly (scroll down to Q&A).

Method
  1. Combine eggs, and about three-quarters of the Pecorino in a bowl with a generous grind of pepper.
  2. Tear the flower petals into sections, discarding the base and stamen and slice the baby zucchini lengthways into quarters.
  3. Bring a large saucepan of salted water to the boil and add pasta.
  4. Melt butter in a frying pan. Add sliced zucchini and cook over a medium-high heat for a minute or 2 until butter just starts to colour.
  5. Add grated zucchini, stir for a minute, then remove from heat and set aside.
  6. Drain cooked pasta, reserving some of the cooking water, and return pasta to the saucepan off the heat.
  7. Add egg mixture and 2 tablespoons of the pasta cooking water and toss until well combined and creamy, adding a little more cooking water if it seems too dry.
  8. Add zucchini mixture and zucchini flowers and toss to combine.
  9. Serve sprinkled with remaining cheese.

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