Giada De Laurentiis' pumpkin carbonara celebrates traditional Italian and seasonal flavors

Pumpkin puree and spicy nutmeg are the two showstoppers in this innovative dish

By Joy Saha

Staff Writer

Published October 5, 2021 6:00AM (EDT)

Giada De Laurentiis (Photo illustration by Salon/Getty Images)
Giada De Laurentiis (Photo illustration by Salon/Getty Images)

Pasta carbonara is a melt-in-your-mouth masterpiece that flaunts a simple yet elevated ingredients list: spaghetti, guanciale (salt-cured pork jowl), pancetta (Italian bacon), eggs, black peppercorns and salty Pecorino Romano. The traditional Roman dish, which has its own national day of celebration in April, is reimagined as a seasonal delicacy in Giada de Laurentiis' latest recipe.

Giada's rendition is an autumnal themed carbonara that revitalizes signature Italian flavors with pureed pumpkin and spicy nutmeg. Her final creation features al dente pasta deliciously coated in a hearty and earthy egg-based sauce. Giada promises that her innovative dish is "an amazingly creamy pasta you'll be coming back to all season." This pumpkin carbonara is guaranteed to become your new fall favorite meal. 

To kickstart the cooking process, bring a pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Throw in your choice of long pasta (Giada recommends either spaghetti or linguini) for approximately 10 minutes. Drain the pasta and reserve 1/2 cup of pasta water. Set them aside before working on the carbonara sauce.  

Add the canned pumpkin puree, chicken broth, egg, egg yolk, pecorino, nutmeg and black pepper into a blender. Blend on high until the mixture achieves a smooth consistency that resembles a mash.


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Heat a large skillet over medium heat, add oil and cook the pancetta until it becomes golden and crispy. Stir in garlic, onions and salt and cook until the onion is both soft and fragrant. Then, add the cooked pasta and sprinkle over a generous amount of parmesan cheese there's no right or wrong amount of cheese here.  

Pour the carbonara sauce on top of the pasta and cook for an additional two to three minutes. Slowly add pasta water, as needed, until the mixture becomes thick and fully covers the pasta. Be sure to continuously stir the pasta to avoid scrambling the raw eggs included in the carbonara sauce.

Garnish with black pepper, parsley and additional parmesan (once again, the specific amount is all up to you). Enjoy with a slice of toasted focaccia or ciabatta for a heavenly carb loaded meal. If you prefer something lighter, add a simple salad like kale Caesar or an assortment of roasted vegetables on the side. Full recipe here.

By Joy Saha

Joy Saha is a staff writer at Salon, covering Culture and Food. She holds a BA in journalism from the University of Maryland, College Park.


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Autumn Carbonara Fall Giada De Laurentiis Pasta Pumpkin