Zucchini Pasta Carbonara

Sautéed prosciutto, summer squash, onions, and garlic, served with egg noodles in an egg, Parmesan, lemon zest sauce, with fresh basil.

Zucchini with Pasta Carbonara
Elise Bauer

There's something magical about the combination of pasta, eggs, Parmesan, and cured pork.

The flavor base is the salty, fatty pork (in this case prosciutto), noodle-y pasta makes it filling, and a creamy sauce is created with eggs, lemon zest, and Parmesan (the eggs getting sufficiently cooked by the heat of the hot pasta).

In the case of this dish, I was looking to use up some of the gloriously yellow patty-pan summer squash from our garden (yes I know the title says "zucchini", you can use any summer squash for this recipe), as well as some of the garden basil which is still thriving.

So good!

Zucchini with Pasta Carbonara
Elise Bauer

This recipe was inspired by a fabulous poached egg over homemade noodles with prosciutto at Ella's in Sacramento, and by a farfalle and zucchini recipe by Giulia Melucci in her memoir, I Loved, I Lost, I Made Spaghetti.

Zucchini Pasta Carbonara

Prep Time 20 mins
Cook Time 25 mins
Total Time 45 mins
Servings 4 servings

This recipe uses thinly sliced prosciutto, which works well with the more delicate flavor of the summer squash. But you could also use pancetta (diced), bacon (thin strips), or even thinly sliced ham.

* To slice the basil leaves, chiffonade them by stacking basil leaves on top of each other, roll them up into a cigar shape, starting at one end and working your way down the "cigar" take thin slices from the end.


  • Salt

  • 3/4 pound egg noodles

  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

  • 1 teaspoon butter

  • 1/4 pound prosciutto, thinly sliced

  • 1 yellow onion, chopped

  • 3 cloves garlic, minced

  • 3-4 summer squash, yielding 4 cups chopped squash

  • Salt and pepper

  • 4 eggs

  • 1 cup grated Parmesan cheese (plus more for topping)

  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest

  • 1/2 cup basil leaves, sliced thin*


  1. Heat the pasta cooking water:

    To cook the pasta, bring a large pot of water to a boil. Salt the water (one tablespoon of salt for 2 quarts of water).

  2. Brown the prosciutto:

    As the water for the pasta is heating, prep your vegetables and heat olive oil and butter on medium high in a large sauté pan.

    Working in batches, lay pieces of sliced prosciutto down in the pan. Fry gently on both sides until just lightly browned (no more than a minute, more likely 30 seconds each side, the prosciutto is very thin), remove from pan with tongs or a slotted spoon to a paper towel-lined plate to drain.

    Once cool, tear into bite-sized pieces. Reserve oil in the pan.

    Elise Bauer
  3. Add the pasta to the boiling water to cook:

    Add pasta to boiling salted water. The pasta should take about 10-12 minutes to cook until al dente (cooked but still a bit firm), which is just about the right amount of time you'll need to cook the vegetables. Cook with a rolling boil, uncovered.

  4. Sauté onions, garlic, summer squash:

    While the pasta is cooking, add the onions, garlic, and summer squash to the sauté pan that you had used to cook the prosciutto. The heat should be medium high.

    Stir the vegetables so that they are all coated with oil from the pan, then spread them out in the pan, generously salt and pepper them. Cook until they are just lightly browned, stirring only occasionally. Remove from heat.

    Elise Bauer
  5. Beat the eggs, add Parmesan and lemon zest:

    In a medium bowl, beat the eggs and mix in the grated Parmesan and lemon zest.

    Elise Bauer
  6. Add cooked pasta to vegetables, stir in egg mixture:

    When the pasta is ready, reserve 1/2 cup of the cooking liquid, then drain the pasta. Add the pasta to the squash and onions (or add the veggies to the pasta, depending on the size of your pans).

    Pour the egg, Parmesan, lemon zest mixture over the pasta mixture and quickly stir in with a wooden spoon. The heat from the pasta will sufficiently cook the eggs.

    Elise Bauer

    Add a little of the reserved pasta cooking water if it looks a little dry. Stir in the prosciutto and basil.

    Garnish with more basil and grated Parmesan.

Nutrition Facts (per serving)
468 Calories
24g Fat
36g Carbs
27g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 4
Amount per serving
Calories 468
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 24g 31%
Saturated Fat 8g 41%
Cholesterol 255mg 85%
Sodium 1520mg 66%
Total Carbohydrate 36g 13%
Dietary Fiber 4g 14%
Total Sugars 6g
Protein 27g
Vitamin C 13mg 65%
Calcium 319mg 25%
Iron 3mg 19%
Potassium 696mg 15%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate. In cases where multiple ingredient alternatives are given, the first listed is calculated for nutrition. Garnishes and optional ingredients are not included.