Note from Heather: Last weekend my family packed up some hoodies, left our goats and chickens in good hands, and headed for the mountains. While we’re gawking at the elk strolling right up to our lodge, Andrea of Forest and Fauna has graciously agreed to share her delicious recipe for zucchini pasta with us. Also, if you’re looking for more ways to use up an abundance of zucchini, check out my Mediterranean zucchini pasta, zucchini pizza crust, and pesto chicken with zucchini.
When a new way of drastically changes your life, helps you thrive despite being diagnosed with a crippling incurable disease, and empowers you to live your life with positive energy again, it’s hard not to want to shout it from the roof tops!! Six years ago I stumbled onto a new way of eating when I found the SCD diet (Specific Carbohydrate Diet) which I later transitioned to a more Low Starch Paleo diet, and this grain-free approach has been my saving grace against the autoimmune disease of ankylosing spondylitis. I also put my IBD into total remission with my delicious and energizing diet changes. And the best part? I eat like a rock star these days! I am more in love with food than I ever was before, as I actually feel amazing when I eat amazing!
This pasta recipe below was inspired by a meal that was served to me by a sweet young Italian couple who I met while on a backing trip across Europe some 18 years ago. I did the trip at 20 years old, when I was quite the rebel who was intent on proving to herself and the world that a girl can do anything she puts her mind to – including work on a commercial fishing boat in Alaska for the summer – to then make enough money to sponsor her trip overseas for a month.
This meal was one of my highlights on that trip. The couple who served it to me hardly spoke English, nor I Italian, but we all enjoyed each others company over the delicious meal they served to me. And while it was made in a punk rock squat in London, on their very modest budget, the flavors were so rich, you’d think you had just dined at an infamous Italian eatery. I will forever treasure that experience.
Nowadays I don’t eat any grains or wheat so I simply subbed in zucchini noodles for the spaghetti noodles that are used in a traditional carbonara pasta dish. This recipe is really flexible, when it was served to me the gal made it with small bits of chopped pancetta, but I have used bacon as I love cooking the other veggies in the remaining bacon fat. From what I have read carbonara pasta is normally made by tossing the fresh hot noodles in egg yolk to lightly cook the eggs that way, but since we are using zucchini noodles that are not very high heat tolerant, I suggest scrambling and cooking the eggs separately, and then them tossing into the completed dish. If zucchini is not your thing, feel free to use any cooked noodle in this recipe, and if you’d rather do it vegetarian style, sub in your favorite cooking oil for the bacon fat. This pasta makes a great addition to a weekend brunch, outdoor picnic, or weeknight dinner.
Zucchini Pasta Carbonara
- large sauté pan
- chopping knife
- small pan
- large bowl
- cheese grater
- 2 to 3 zucchini (med/large size)
- 8 asparagus spears
- ½ sweet onion
- 4 slices pastured bacon
- 2 pastured eggs
- 1 clove garlic
- spinach (or pea shoots)
- fresh dill
- fresh rosemary
- fresh basil
- sea salt (to taste)
- black pepper (to taste)
- 2 tbsp olive oil (optional)
- 2 oz shaved hard sheep's cheese (like Pecorino Ramano or Idiazabal)
- Cut zucchini into noodles using a spiralizer or special veggie peeler. Option: for all white noodles, you can peel the zucchini first.
- Cook bacon in a large saute pan over medium heat. While bacon is cooking, mince fresh herbs, chop garlic. When bacon is fully cooked, remove bacon, crumble after it cools, and set aside.
- Next cut asparagus into 2 inch long sections, and dice onion. Cook asparagus and onion in bacon grease over medium high heat. Alternatively, if you don't use the bacon, you can use your favorite cooking oil instead. Cook asparagus and onions for 7 minutes or so. Add in garlic for last 4 minutes or cooking time. Remove from pan.
- Scramble eggs in a small dish, then cook in bacon fat over medium low heat, then cut up the eggs with a spatula and set aside.
- Next gently warm up the zucchini noodles in bacon fat or a little olive oil. You just barely want to warm the noodles, so only heat a couple of minutes to prevent them from getting too soft.
- In a large bowl toss together zucchini noodles, bacon, asparagus, scrambled eggs, and fresh herbs. Season with sea salt & black pepper. Optional: shave a little hard sheep cheese over top. Serve.
- Note: if you plan to have leftovers it is better to not heat the extra zucchini noodles. You will want to keep the noodles separate from other ingredients until just before you are ready to eat.
About Andrea Wyckoff
Andrea Wyckoff shares her loves for the outdoors and adventures in real food cooking at ForestandFauna.com. She lives with her husband and three dogs in their woodsy little dream home nestled in the foothills of the Oregon coast range, where they grow a lot of their own food, and also enjoy foraging for wild foods, including truffles, greens, edible flowers, and berries in the woods that surround their house. Despite her diagnosis of ankylosing spondylitis and colitis, Andrea thrives on a low starch, grain-free, Paleo diet, and she shares many of her favorite recipes in her cookbook Pure and Simple Paleo. She would love to have you join her on her foodie adventures at ForestandFauna.com.