Spaghetti Squash Carbonara with Peas
“I received free samples of Libby’s new Vegetable Pouches mentioned in this post. By posting this recipe I am entering a recipe contest sponsored by Libby’s and am eligible to win prizes associated with the contest. I was not compensated for my time.”
I am the queen of overcomplicating things.
I always make things more involved than they need to be. This applies to all aspects of my life, although it happens to come up mostly when I’m preparing food. The recipe has to feature the least findable ingredients, or I HAVE to try a new lengthy cooking technique, or the dish has to be the way I first imagined it, even if the time saving way would be just as good. Sometimes this works out, but really, most of the time it just makes things less convenient for me (surprise?).
Does this sound like you? Or, are you a big fan of making everything as simple and easy as possible, whenever possible? Either way, I think I have something you might like.
For the final sponsored contest of the year, Libby’s kindly sent the Recipe Redux bloggers some free samples of their new vegetable packets! The packets will be in stores starting in January, and I’m loving them for a few reasons. They’re precooked, packed in water without preservatives, easier to open and faster to use than canned veggies, and the packages fit nice and cozy into my packed kitchen cabinets! Ahhh, city living. Plus, because they’re precooked, they can be added to any dish in a snap!
Originally, when I read that we would be working with precooked veggies, my mind (as per usual) glazed over the entire point and went straight to recipe ideas that were complicated and involved. But, like I said, that was the opposite of the point. These veggies can be used to accomplish a quick, easy dish – so they should be! So, I made a lower-carb version of a dish many of us know and love: pasta carbonara. Or should I say, LOW-CARBonara. Heh. Dad jokes.
Spaghetti squash is an incredible, low-calorie alternative for pasta if you’re trying to watch your carbs. You don’t taste much of a difference when sauce is inolved, and the texture is shockingly similar. In fact, when roasted with some olive oil and seasoning, spaghetti squash has even MORE flavor than pasta. Whaaaaat? Mind blown.
While traditional carbonara is just made with parmesan, eggs, and bacon, I have had it with peas added, and it was oh so delicious. So, I threw a whole packet of Libby’s peas in there. Woops 😉 It was delicious, and I felt pretty good having snuck even MORE vegetables into the dish. It’s actually not that sneaky (in fact, it’s pretty obvious that the peas are there), but they make the dish even better. I promise!
The only thing about this dish that requires any type of “waiting” is the squash. Spaghetti squash only takes about a half an hour to cook, but if you want to make this dish EVEN quicker, prep and shred your spaghetti squash ahead of time, and store it in the fridge for a day or two before using. If you prepare the squash prior to cooking, all you have to do is reheat the squash when you’re ready, and the dish will take you about 10 minutes from start to finish. Pretty great, huh? Be sure though, that no matter what preparation you choose, that you drain the squash “noodles” well before mixing them into the sauce. Otherwise, the sauce may become a bit watery.
- 1 large spaghetti squash
- Olive oil
- Salt and pepper
- 6 oz. thick cut uncooked bacon, chopped
- 2 shallots, diced
- 1 1/2-2 tsp. crushed garlic
- 1 pouch Libby's peas, drained and rinsed
- 2 eggs, beaten
- 1 cup grated parmigiano reggiano cheese, plus extra for serving
- Pepper, to taste
- 2 tbs. Fresh Italian parsley, chopped
- Ahead of time, prepare the squash. Preheat oven to 400˚F.
- Cut the squash in half lengthwise and thoroughly remove seeds.
- Drizzle flesh with olive oil and season liberally with salt and pepper.
- Turn the squash flesh side down. Bake for about 25-30 minutes, or until flesh is easily shredded with a fork.
- Remove flesh and store in refrigerator if not planning to use immediately.
- Add chopped bacon to a pan over medium heat.
- Once mostly cooked through, add garlic and shallots to pan.
- Once bacon is crispy, remove from heat, and add peas to the pan.
- Combine cheese and egg in a separate bowl.
- If spaghetti squash has been prepared ahead of time or has cooled, reheat squash until very hot. Drain.
- Toss squash into the pan with the bacon and pea mixture.
- Transfer contents to a serving bowl, and toss with cheese and egg mixture, thoroughly tossing to ensure the egg mixture cooks and the cheese melts.
- Season with pepper as desired.
- Serve with chopped parsley and more shredded parmigiano.