Sunday, February 12, 2012

Get-well Vegetarian Pasta Carbonara

So we've all been sick this week.  The kind of sick that makes you want to crawl into bed and re-emerge only once the chain saw has safely exited your throat.  I'm not going to lie.  Feeling sick is definitely a one way ticket to the drive-through or delivery drawer in my house.  No shame in calling in the reserves.  The trickiest days, however, seem to be the ones when you are resurfacing to the world of the living but have yet to find your energy---not sick enough to justify the expense of ordering yet not well enough to put together something fancy. What do you make on those days?

When I'm sick, meat seems more disgusting than usual.  Just the idea of it, even sitting here now, gives me the chills. Weird, I know. In contrast, pasta, especially involving cheese, seems to always be desirable.  Adapted from this vegetarian pasta carbonara recipe from Food and Thrift, this Meatless Monday is not only thrifty, but also chock full of the kinds of comforting flavors that are welcome on a cold evening when, let's face it, you would rather be in bed. Definitely adding this one to the rotation of go-to get-well dinners.

  • 1 bag of whole wheat spaghetti
  • 3 Tbsp EVOO
  • 1/2 onion chopped (I used red onion since it's what we had)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 package mushrooms, sliced
  • 1/2 bag peas, defrosted
  • 1/2 cup half and half
  • 2 eggs
  • 3/4 cup grated parmesan
  • salt and pepper
  • enough lemon wedges for one per person.
  1. Chop your onion, mince your garlic, and slice your mushrooms.
  2. Set 1 Tbsp EVOO to heat in a pan and sauté the mushrooms with a little salt and pepper until soft and aromatic.  Place in bowl and set aside.

  3. Bring a pot of water to a rapid boil and drop in your whole wheat spaghetti.  (I prefer al dente, which usually takes 10-11 minutes.)
  4. Set another 1 Tbsp EVOO to heat in pan and sauté onions and garlic until they begin to appear translucent and smell dee-licious.

  5. Add in peas and mix until combined, adding salt and pepper to taste.  Stir occasionally until peas have been warmed. (3-4 minutes).  Set to low once warm and integrated.

  6. Meanwhile, make the carbonara sauce by mixing the half and half, eggs, and 1/2 cup of the grated parmesan in a medium bowl with a whisk until combined.  (Careful not to over mix.)  Grind some pepper into the mixture. (I am pretty liberal with the pepper here since I love the zing but as always, flavor to your taste.)

  7. Once pasta is done, turn off heat, strain in a colander, and immediately return pasta to to pot. Reserve 1/2 cup cooking liquid just in case your sauce needs thinning.
  8. Grab your favorite pasta tongs and mix in the last Tbsp of EVOO to keep the pasta from sticking together.
  9. Add in the carbonara sauce, tossing into the pasta so that the sauce is cooked by the heat of the noodles.  Allow to sit for a few so that pasta can soak in all of the yumminess.
  10. Add in the pea mixture and the mushrooms and continue to toss until integrated.
  11. Portion into bowls or plates, top with the remaining grated parmesan and serve with a wedge of lemon to drizzle over the top.

  12. Enjoy!

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