Fiddlehead Pasta Carbonara

Fiddleheads, garlic and tomatoes pasta

Fiddleheads, garlic and tomatoes pasta

Carbonara recipes traditionally include pancetta or bacon which makes it a hard dish to make for vegetarians or people who don’t eat pork. In this version, we make the same delicious creamy egg-based sauce but we flavor it with garlic and leeks. The fiddleheads add texture and a subtle spring flavor. The tomatoes add tart juiciness.


Fiddlehead pasta carbonara

by Soumeya | May 2019

  • Prep time: 10 minutes
  • Cook time: 30 minutes
  • Inactive time: 0 minutes
  • Total time: 40 minutes

Servings: 4


  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 8 ounces fiddleheads
  • 2 medium leeks, diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • Salt
  • 8 ounces spaghetti
  • 1 egg plus 4 yolks *
  • 2 tablespoons pecorino romano, grated *
  • 1 tablespoon parmigiano-reggiano, grated *
  • 4 ounces cherry tomatoes *
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper (ground medium-coarse), plus more for serving
  • Grated cheese for serving


  1. Heat the olive oil in a large frying pan over medium heat, until shimmering. Add the fiddleheads, leeks and garlic. Saute until wilted and slightly golden, 10 minutes. Set aside.
  2. Cook pasta in salted water until it is at the desired doneness (follow manufacturer instructions). Remove from the heat but do not drain.
  3. In a heat-proof mixing bowl or saucepan whisk the eggs and yolks, pecorino romano and parmigiano reggiano and black pepper. Set aside.
  4. Using tongs, take out the pasta and add it to the fiddleheads mixture and mix, folding everything together. (see note)
  5. Add the pasta and fiddleheads mixture to the eggs mixture and combine. Add one ladle of the pasta water to the mixture, about 3 tablespoons. Add the tomatoes.
  6. Set the heat-proof mixing bowl or saucepan with the pasta over the boiling pasta water (add more if the water is too low but don’t let it touch the bowl or saucepan).
  7. Mix the pasta mixture quickly until it thickens to a creamy silky consistency, about 12 minutes.
  8. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  9. Serve hot, sprinkle with cheese prior to serving.


  1. You can add the vegetables to the pasta after making the thick carbonara sauce.