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WICKED SERIOUS CARBONARA

Carbonara, an Italian classic, is now a plant-forward masterpiece. We’re banging it out with cashews for creaminess, mushrooms for meatiness and pasta because, PASTA! — We’re wicked serious!  Our belief holds true: plants can do anything!

There’s nothing more delicious than a warm pasta dish that’s done right. We know it’s one of our favorite go to’s. If we can recreate the comforting memory of creamy pasta with cashews, why use dairy-based cream? If we can add that little hit of smokiness+crispiness with shrooms and paprika, why use bacon? This dish is an example of how you, (yes YOU!) can make plants the center of the plate, taste great and impress … it’s wicked healthy in one shot.

Scale

Ingredients

For the Alfredo-style Cream Sauce

For the mushrooms

For the Carbonara

Garnish

Additional recommended garnishes (optional)

Instructions

To make the Alfredo-style sauce (can be made ahead of time and chilled)

  1. In large sauce pot add cashews (if you didn’t soak them), cauliflower, garlic, pinch of salt, bay leaf and 3 cups of water. Cover and bring to a slow boil on medium-high heat.
  2. Cook for 10-15 minutes or until the cauliflower easily breaks apart. Strain and remove bay leaf.
  3. Transfer mixture to a high-speed blender (add cashews at this point if you pre-soaked them).
  4. Add pine nuts, miso and salt. Begin blending on low-speed while slowly adding the soy milk. Once incorporated, blend on high for couple minutes until the mixture is silky smooth.
  5. This will yield more than 2 quarts of alfredo-style sauce. Set aside 1 quart of the mixture for this recipe and save the remaining mixture in a closed container in the fridge for up to a week for other use.

To make the mushrooms

  1. Preheat oven to 375.
  2. Add sliced shiitakes to a small bowl and toss with 1 T of the oil, smoked paprika and pinch of black pepper.
  3. In large oven-safe skillet, heat 2 T oil on stovetop over medium high heat.
  4. Add shiitake mushrooms and sauté for 2 minutes, then transfer pan directly to oven and finish roasting for 10 minutes.
  5. Remove and transfer the mushrooms to a paper towel to allow to drain and crisp up.

To complete the dish

  1. Cook fettuccini al dente according to the package instructions, set aside.*
  2. Heat large sauce pot on medium heat until hot, then add oil, onions and sliced garlic cloves and sauté for 3 minutes until they begin to brown.
  3. Add a splash of water (or white wine if handy) to loosen, then add in 1 quart of the alfredo-style sauce, peas and mushrooms.
  4. Heat for 1 minute then add pasta and stir to coat.
  5. Remove from heat and garnish with the parsley, black pepper and salt, to taste.

Notes

*Helpful Tip: while preparing this, we cooked the pasta ahead of time, and when it was time to add the pasta to the sauce we boiled a small pot of water and poured it over the cooled pasta to loosen and bring it up to temp before adding to the heating sauce.