Carbonara is a very well-known yet misunderstood recipe, as so many people get it wrong, either adding milk or cream or letting the eggs become scrambled. Traditionally, the Italians use dried cured unsmoked pork called pancetta, however I have substituted mushrooms which offer an earthy flavour, especially when sauteed in olive oil.
Other than the swap of mushrooms for pancetta, I have kept the sauce very traditional, using only eggs, parmesan cheese and freshly ground black pepper. I have also substituted butternut squash and courgette spaghetti for the pasta to increase the vegetable content and health benefits further. I have however used exactly the below carbonara recipe with my homemade pasta tagliatelle I posted a few weeks back. I think next time I will use half pasta spaghetti, half vegetable spaghetti to get best of both worlds!
The key to no scrambled egg effect is to take the pan off the heat once the spaghetti and mushrooms have been mixed BEFORE adding the egg. The heat of the spaghetti will lightly cook the egg to make the perfect glossy sauce. Parmesan and pecorino are made with rennet, which is not vegetarian so look out for the V on the packet, you may need to buy “Italian hard cheese” instead of the real deal. Serves 2.
- 500g butternut squash & courgette spaghetti OR 220g Spaghetti OR a mix of both
- 75g Button Mushrooms
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 2 eggs
- 50g Parmesan/ pecorino/ Italian hard cheese, freshly grated
- Freshly ground black pepper.
- If you are using pasta, cook in a large pan of boiling salted water until al dente (check packet instructions as cooking time varies).
- Slice the mushrooms in half then into thin slices. Heat the oil in a large pan and fry the mushrooms until browned, about 5 minutes.
- If you are using the vegetable spaghetti, add to the mushrooms and heat for 5 minutes.
- Lightly beat the eggs in a large bowl with the grated cheese and pepper, saving a small amount of cheese to serve.
- If using pasta, drain and add to the pan with the mushrooms. Mix well to coat everything.
- Take off the heat. Allow to cool slightly. Then add the egg and cheese mixture. Stir to coat the spaghetti and serve immediately with the remaining cheese scattered on top.