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It’s not really a carbonara. There’s no cream, no rich egg yolk, no panchetta. Forgive me while I gluttonly remember how that simple, lovely pasta carbonara tasted, bite by creamy bite. One of the first things my husband ever cooked for me… A bit of richness and sophistication, presented on chipped plate in a ratty kitchen of a squat in Wimbledon. Ok, I’m done now. I enjoyed that little memory, but those lovely irresponsible days are gone, and I just don’t eat like that anymore. For whatever reason you might be looking for a vegan carbonara pasta recipe, this one here is straight up delicious. Even to the non vegans!

Serves two (double recipe for more)
Prep time: 5-10 min.
cooking time about 15 min

1/2 lb of pasta of your choice
1/2 can coconut cream
Assorted mushrooms, sliced (the more, the merrier)
3-4 cloves garlic, minced
olive oil and extra virgin olive oil
1-2 dried chilies
1 tbs of mushroom seasoning (from an asian market) or a pinch of mushroom liquid or powder stock
pasta water as needed
Sea salt and fresh ground pepper

1) Start with your fried garlic topping. This will add so much flavor to the finished pasta. Heat up about 2 tbs of extra virgin olive oil in a wok or frying pan and gently fry garlic till light golden brown. Do not burn. Poor olive oil and garlic into a bowl and set aside.
2) Heat up a tbs of oil and fry the mushrooms on high heat with generous sprinkling of salt and pepper. The panchetta in carbonara is super salty and we’re trying to replicate that creamy, salty flavor. I used 1/2 a box of button mushrooms and 1 cup of porcini mushrooms, but any will do. Stir and fry until cooked down a bit.
3) Start cooking the pasta according to directions. You will need some of the starchy pasta water to thicken the sauce. Also, remember that the pasta will finish cooking in the mushroom sauce.
4) When the pasta has cooked about halfway, go back to the mushrooms to finish the sauce. Add the coconut cream, 1-2 dried red chilies if you want a tiny kick (as long as they are not broken and the seeds stay inside, the pasta will not be spicy), mushroom stock or seasoning and stir. Cook down for a couple minutes, and add in 1 small ladle of the pasta water if needed. It’s ok if it is soupy, as the noodles will absorb a lot of liquid when you add them.
5) Taste the sauce and add salt and pepper if needed.
6) Before the pasta reaches even al dente, use a slotted spoon to transfer them to the mushroom sauce. Cook down until pasta is perfectly al dente, stirring so that all the noodles absorb the stock. Add a bit more coconut cream or pasta water as needed.
7) Serve with fried garlic oil on top!