Pumpkin Carbonara Recipe

Carbonara is one of the most decadent pasta dishes out there, thanks to the wonderful addition of bacon or pancetta. Really, what's more to love than pasta and bacon? This special carbonara recipe has another wonderful twist thanks to the addition of pumpkin to the sauce — resulting in one of the best fall-inspired dishes that you will ever have the pleasure of trying.

Recipe developer Erin Johnson came up with this flavorful pumpkin carbonara recipe that is sure to become a hit in your household. "I love carbonara — it's an easy recipe using ingredients you likely have in hand, and it's ready in under 30 minutes," Johnson says about this dish. "The pumpkin adds a twist and makes this perfect for fall." She also notes that "this is not overwhelmingly pumpkin flavored and adds a nice creaminess to the carbonara sauce." This would be great to serve at a family dinner or for a night in with friends. Keep scrolling for step-by-step instructions on how to make this wonderful dish.

Gather the ingredients to make pumpkin carbonara

Now that you are ready to make this excellent pasta, it's best to make a grocery list and take a trip to the store. Of course, you will need to pick up a can of pumpkin puree and grated Parmesan cheese. In addition, you will need some eggs and bacon, which will help add to the decadence and richness of this dish. Moving down the list, be sure to grab a few cloves of garlic and some spaghetti. For seasoning, you will need nutmeg, as well as salt and pepper to taste. And that's it! Though incredibly delicious, carbonara requires minimal ingredients, and this pumpkin carbonara recipe is no exception to that simplicity.

Boil the water and make the sauce

Since you will be making pasta for this recipe, it's best just to get that started right away as the water takes a little bit of time to boil. Take out a large pot and fill it with water. Turn on the heat and wait for it to boil. 

In the meantime, you can get to work on the delicious pasta sauce. Get a bowl and add in the pumpkin and Parmesan first. Next, you will need to add the egg and the two egg yolks. Give the mixture a few good stirs to combine the ingredients, and then set the sauce to the side. You will need it in a moment.

Cook the bacon

At this point, your water is likely not at a boil, so that you can move on to the bacon for now. "You can use pancetta instead of bacon if you prefer, or even eliminate the meat altogether," Johnson notes. Take out a large skillet and add the bacon. Remember, you should have chopped this ahead of time. Continue cooking the bacon until it gets nice and crispy. By the way, how good does your kitchen smell right now? When the bacon is almost crisp, add the garlic and allow it to cook for another two minutes. Then, turn off the heat and set the bacon aside.

Cook the spaghetti

By now, the water should be at a boil. Check the back of the spaghetti box and cook it according to the instructions. Each pasta brand varies slightly. "You can use any long noodle pasta," Johnson notes, though the carbonara classic is spaghetti noodles. Be sure to reserve one cup of pasta water before you drain it. "The reserved pasta water is hot, and that is what will cook the eggs in the sauce," Johnson explains. "The starch also adds creaminess to the sauce as well as adds salt." After you drain the pasta, go ahead and put the noodles right back into the pot.

Stir in the sauce and bacon

Now, stir in ¼ cup of the hot pasta water with the pumpkin mixture and combine them. Then, pour the pumpkin mixture over the spaghetti. Using tongs, toss the pasta to combine it with the sauce. Add the remainder of the pasta water gradually until the sauce is creamy. Note that you don't need to use all of the water if you don't feel it's necessary. We're nearing the finish line! Now, just sprinkle the bacon and garlic onto the pasta and stir to distribute it evenly. Finally, add in the nutmeg and give the pasta a final stir.

Serve and enjoy

Now, you can finally serve this tasty masterpiece! Just sprinkle a little cheese over the top. Johnson also suggests adding a little sage. "Don't add salt and pepper until you taste the sauce," Johnson says. "The cheese adds a lot of saltiness to this dish, so you may not need as much as you think. Let your tastebuds tell you when you've added the right amount."

And, if you have leftovers? "Carbonara is best eaten right away, but the leftovers will keep for a day in the fridge," Johnson says. "Reheat it on the stove with a bit of olive oil." Carbonara is already delicious as it is, but this pumpkin carbonara recipe adds a wonderful fall touch!

Pumpkin Carbonara Recipe
5 from 44 ratings
Recipe developer Erin Johnson came up with this flavorful pumpkin carbonara recipe that is sure to become a hit in your household all season long.
Prep Time
Cook Time
pumpkin carbonara in bowl
Total time: 20 minutes
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree
  • ½ cup Parmesan cheese, grated
  • 1 egg
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 5 slices of bacon, cut into ½ inch pieces
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 pound spaghetti
  • ⅛ teaspoon nutmeg
  • salt, to taste
  • pepper, to taste
  1. Add water to a large pot and allow it to come to a boil.
  2. In the meantime, stir together the pumpkin, cheese, egg, and egg yolks in a bowl until well combined. Set aside.
  3. In a large skillet, cook the bacon until crisp. Add the garlic when the bacon is almost crisp and allow to cook for 2 minutes, then set aside.
  4. Once the water is boiling, cook the spaghetti per the box directions. Reserve 1 cup of pasta water before draining. Put the spaghetti back into the hot pot.
  5. Stir in ¼ cup of the hot pasta water to the pumpkin mixture until combined and warm.
  6. Add the pumpkin mixture to the spaghetti. Toss pasta with tongs to combine.
  7. Add pasta water gradually until the sauce is creamy. You may not use all of the water.
  8. Add the bacon, garlic, and nutmeg, then give the pasta one last stir.
  9. Serve immediately, and add salt and pepper to taste.
Calories per Serving 354
Total Fat 12.0 g
Saturated Fat 4.6 g
Trans Fat 0.0 g
Cholesterol 74.8 mg
Total Carbohydrates 46.0 g
Dietary Fiber 2.8 g
Total Sugars 2.8 g
Sodium 289.9 mg
Protein 14.6 g
The information shown is Edamam’s estimate based on available ingredients and preparation. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.
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