Say Carbonara and you think Italy! We’ve already talked here about how the birth of the most famous Italian pasta in the world may have had something to do with the English, Americans and war rations… After all, who knew more about eggs than them – Bismarck aside?!

And it is precisely the eggs – and the delicious cheesy sauce – that characterise the Carbonara we’re going to look at today, which replaces the pork with a generous serving of courgette to transform it into a delicious veggie version.

I find it particularly delicious with the Trombetta variety of courgette from Liguria. With a sweet flavour and a compact flesh, it is named after its typical elongated shape that ends with a kind of round bulb – like a trumpet.

But don’t panic, I know they are not easy to find (neither in Italy nor around the world). You can prepare my veggie Carbonara with any regular courgettes you can source from your local supermarket!

You’ll see, it really doesn’t take much to prepare an excellent veggie Carbonara!


Preparation time: 25 minutes

Ingredients [serves 4]

  • 6 medium courgettes
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • 320 g of pasta – ideally spaghetti or a long pasta shape
  • Extra virgin olive oil to taste
  • 1 bunch of fresh thyme (but dried is fine too)
  • 4 fresh egg yolks
  • Grated pecorino cheese to taste (but Parmesan is fine too)


  • A large pan
  • A sharp knife
  • A bowl
  • A fork (or hand whisk)


Let’s set the record straight right away: the only difficult part of this recipe (as with a regular Carbonara) is creating a creamy sauce and avoiding the egg from curdling at all costs.

But with a few minor precautions, we’ll get there together!

Let’s get started! Heat a drizzle of oil in the pan and fry the garlic clove in its skin – leaving it whole and with the peel still on. This is a great trick to preserve its aroma while avoiding heaviness.

Wash the courgettes and cut them into thin slices. Brown them over high heat, adding salt and pepper. Don’t worry if they burn slightly but don’t overdo it! Cook them for a few minutes; they shouldn’t start to fall apart.

Turn off the heat, flavour them with thyme and leave them to rest.

Meanwhile, boil the water for the pasta.

In a bowl, beat the yolks with a pinch of salt, the grated cheese and a few tablespoons of the pasta cooking water. You want to obtain a cream that is thick but not gluey and not too liquid. Eyeball the amount of water you need to add, little by little. Remember you will always have the opportunity to add more water, but if the mixture is too liquid it won’t be so easy to fix. Season with a little pepper.

In the meantime, cook the pasta and drain it a minute earlier than the cooking time indicated on the packaging, keeping a ladle of cooking water aside. Pour the pasta into the pan with the courgette and let the flavour combine by stirring well. I recommend doing all this without turning on the heat but making sure that the courgettes stay warm.

Quickly pour in the cream of yolks and cheese, continuing to stir vigorously. The egg shouldn’t curdle too much because it will only be “cooked” by the heat of the pasta. This is the trick to achieve the right creamy consistency. If everything is too dry, add the cooking water you have kept aside.

Finish with a little more cheese and pepper and serve. It is a dish best enjoyed warm and is perfect for summer evenings. The courgettes will release all their flavour, while the thyme and pecorino will add seasoning and aroma. And the creamy sauce will transform it all into something sublime!

Buon appetito! 💗