We’re wild about this new approach to a classic, yet easy pasta recipe. Indulge your culinary senses with MUSHROOM CARBONARA.
This vegetarian take on one of my favourite pasta recipes is exceptionally delicious, and I have every confidence you’re going to love it. I started out planning it as a lesson on how to make pasta carbonara, a cheese and smoked bacon noodle dish. Then, a simple substitution turned it into an unexpected journey with surprising and exciting results.
Faithful WATC viewers know I go on (and on, and on) about the importance of sourcing quality ingredients. This is especially important in this recipe, so try to source locally grown organic ingredients. In this case, the eggs should be farm fresh and the cheese and dried pasta of the highest quality.
This recipe is all about the mushrooms. My dear cousin Linda gets all the love for bringing me the mushrooms we used in this post. She worked alongside me to create this post.
Without further delay let’s make MUSHROOM CARBONARA!
Although you can make this dish using virtually any pasta, we find long noodle varieties work best. The creamy egg and cheese sauce clings better to them – more fun to eat too, just saying. Fettuccine, linguine and even capellini will all do the trick, but the traditional pasta of choice is spaghetti or spaghettini, a thinner version.
As with all our pasta recipes, the usual suggestions: cook your pasta al dente in salted water. This plays a key part later in the recipe when we use some of the pasta water to create the creamy sauce.
Carbonara is traditionally made with guanciale, which is smoked pork cheek. Swapping out the meat for mushrooms is a superior substitution. Although you can make the recipe using nothing more than white or brown mushrooms, I do think wild mushrooms add a more robust flavour profile, making them the perfect replacement for the smoked meat.
Gathering a variety of wild mushrooms makes every bite different and memorable. Look for speciality and wild mushrooms at local markets or from a trusted purveyor. We used: Yellow Oyster, King Trumpet, lobster, chanterelle and Lion’s Mane.
Most experts agree that although you can make this dish with Parmesan, you’ll get best results using pecorino cheese. We tested the recipe a number of times and couldn’t agree more. The pecorino also melts perfectly into a creamy sauce and has just the right level of saltiness to complement the mushrooms.
Much of the success of this creamy pasta dish is the simplicity of it all. Three finishing touches happen moments before it’s served. A light sprinkling of both black pepper and chopped flat-leaf parsley add interest and flavour, as does the final drizzle of white truffle oil which adds an appetizing aroma to the finished dish.
This MUSHROOM CARBONARA will be loved by all yet we know the vegetarians in your midst will be especially captivated. Enjoy it as an appetizer for six guests or as the main course to serve four. Present it with additional cheese and black pepper, and don’t forget to include spoons with your place settings for twirling. Fantastic.
Things that pair perfectly with our MUSHROOM CARBONARA? Begin your meal with a memorable cocktail like this TANQUERAY MALACCA. Enjoy this SIMPLE SALAD and then for dessert, something fresh and fruity like our PLUM CLAFOUTIS or PEACH COBBLER.
Perfectly prepared pasta in a fragrant creamy, cheese sauce, this MUSHROOM CARBONARA is truly, magical!
1 pound of spaghettini
2 tablespoons of butter
1 tablespoon of white truffle oil
5 cups of mixed wild mushrooms, about 1¼ pounds
4 eggs, room temperature
1 cup of grated pecorino cheese
additional grated pecorino cheese
chopped flat-leaf parsley
a drizzle of white truffle oil
1) Cook mushrooms: Melt butter in a large skillet on medium heat. Add a drizzle of truffle oil. Add mushrooms and cook until wilted and slightly golden, about 10-15 minutes.
2) Whisk eggs and cheese together in a small bowl. Reserve.
3) Cook the pasta al dente in a pot of salted water. Reserve 2 cups of cooking water before draining pasta. Return drained pasta to pot.
4) Assemble: Place pot of pasta onto your work surface. Add 2/3 of the mushrooms and 1 cup of the pasta water in with the cooked pasta and stir to combine. Add the eggs and cheese and stir to create a creamy sauce. Add more pasta water if necessary.
5) Transfer to a serving plate or serving dish. Garnish with reserved mushrooms, a drizzle of truffle oil, black pepper, parsley and cheese.
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