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Photo Credit: Elizabeth Newman

The Lighter Carbonara

My new version of carbonara substitutes ribbons of
zucchini for some of the spaghetti and lean ham for the bacon. There's some cream in
there, but not too much, and it still has the same silky, indulgent texture of the original.
If you're like me, you may actually prefer this lighter version! 


The Lighter Carbonara



Prep Time

10 minutes

Cook Time

18 minutes




Giada De Laurentiis

Image of The Lighter Carbonara


  • 1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • 3 eggs (whipped)
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 2 tablespoons heavy cream
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 4 ounces lean smoked ham (1/4-inch dice)
  • 3 garlic cloves (chopped)
  • 1 shallot (minced)
  • 2 small zucchini (cut into long thin 'spaghetti')
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup frozen peas (thawed)
  • 1/2 pound spaghetti
  • 2 tablespoons chopped basil


  1. In large bowl, whisk together the Parmesan cheese, eggs, yolk, and heavy cream. Set aside.
  2. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the olive oil. To the hot oil add the ham, garlic, and shallots and cook for about 3 minutes, stirring often. Add the zucchini strands and reduce the heat to medium. Season the zucchini with 1/2 teaspoon of salt and cook, stirring gently, until the zucchini is just beginning to wilt, about 5 minutes. Stir in the peas and set aside.
  3. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the pasta and cook until al dente, about 8 minutes. Whisk 1/2 cup of the boiling pasta water slowly into the egg mixture. Using tongs, add the cooked pasta directly to the egg mix. Add the zucchini and ham mixture along with the remaining salt and toss until everything is well coated.
  4. Allow the pasta to sit for about 2 minutes then toss again. Serve garnished with chopped basil.



Nutrition Serving Size
per serving
Amount/Serving % Daily Value
54 grams
33 grams
25 grams
Saturated Fat
10 grams
196 milligrams
772 milligrams
4 grams
5 grams
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nut free

1 comment

  • Author's avatar image
    Carrie Peck

    It’s wonderful! We will made it again!

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