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Pasta Carbonara

This image courtesy of Del Nakamura

Pasta Carbonara is a rich, decadent dish that's steeped in tradition. The sweet notes in this dish's sun-dried tomato cream sauce complement the smokiness of the vegan bacon perfectly. This is sure to satisfy everyone at your dinner table.

Cooks' Notes: Carbonara is traditionally served with spaghetti noodles, but you can use any kind of pasta you like. It works very nicely with campanelle or farfalle, for example.

If you're having trouble getting the sauce to thicken, add some nutritional yeast, 1 tablespoon at a time. Nutritional yeast helps sauces become creamier and conveys a cheesy richness.

Variation: You can easily make this dish gluten free by using your favorite gluten-free dried pasta, substituting rice flour for the all-purpose flour, and substituting chopped, toasted walnuts for the seitan bacun.

Serves6 entrée servings

Cooking MethodSauteeing

CostModerate

Easy

Make Ahead RecipeYes

Kid FriendlyYes

One Pot MealYes

OccasionCasual Dinner Party

Recipe CourseMain Course

Dietary ConsiderationEgg-free, Kosher, Lactose-free, Peanut Free, Tree Nut Free, Vegan, Vegetarian

Five Ingredients or LessYes

MealDinner

Taste and TextureSavory

Type of DishPasta, Pasta Sauce, Sauces

Ingredients

  • 16 ounces (454 g) dried pasta, any shape
  • 1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2-1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 (12-ounce [341-g]) package (18 strips) vegan bacon (try the Lightlife brand, or homemade
  • 1/4 cup (56 g) + 2 tablespoons vegan margarine (we like Earth Balance)
  • 1/4 cup (121 g) + 2 tablespoons unbleached organic all-purpose flour
  • 4 cups (948 L) vegetable stock
  • 3/4 cup (42 g) chopped sundried tomatoes
  • 2 tablespoons soy milk
  • 1 1/2-2 teaspoons red pepper flakes
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 2 cups (268 g) chopped (1/2-inch [13-mm] pieces) fresh asparagus
  • 1 1/4 cups (181 g) green peas
  • 1/4 cup (14 g) chopped sundried tomatoes, for garnish
  • 1/4 cup (8 g) chopped fresh parsley, for garnish

Instructions

  1. 1.?In a large stockpot over medium heat, cook the pasta according to package directions. Remove from the heat, drain, and rinse with cold water. Toss with the olive oil to prevent sticking. Return the pasta to the stockpot and set aside.

  2. 2.?In a large skillet over medium heat, warm the vegetable oil. Add the bacun and pan fry it for 2 to 4 minutes, until browned. Remove from the heat. Once the bacun is cool enough to handle, chop it into bits and transfer it to a small bowl. Set aside.

  3. 3.?In a large, heavy saucepan over medium heat, melt the margarine. Add the flour and cook for 3 minutes, stirring well to avoid clumps.

  4. 4.?Slowly add the vegetable stock to the saucepan, stirring constantly. Reduce the heat to low and let simmer, uncovered, for 20 minutes.

  5. 5.?Add the 3/4 cup sundried tomatoes, soy milk, red pepper flakes, salt, and black pepper. Remove from the heat. Using an immersion blender (or transfer to a regular blender), purée until smooth and creamy.

  6. 6.?Return to the heat (and, if using a regular blender to purée, the saucepan). Add the asparagus and peas to the saucepan and simmer for 10 minutes, until the sauce takes on the thickness and consistency of spaghetti sauce. Remove from the heat.

  7. 7.?Transfer the sauce to the stockpot containing the pasta and toss well. You may need to restore to medium-low heat to thicken the sauce and really coat the noodles. The sauce should not be runny.

  8. 8.?Place 6 shallow entrée-sized bowls on the counter. Place 2 cups (76 g) of the pasta in each bowl. Garnish with the remaining sundried tomatoes and parsley.

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