We are a huge fan of the Wall Street Journal’s Food & Drink Section. WSJ covers some vegan and vegan-friendly recipes occasionally, however there is one article that caught our eye this summer. In the June 8-9th, 2013 article, “This is Not a Carbonara” (by Elizabeth Gunnison), Cathal Armstrong, Chef & Owner of Restaurant Eve in Alexandria, Va., created a vegan dish, Fettuccine Carbonara without relying on animal products and fats. His vegan recipe was pretty good and we made it twice so far, but we would like to share an important tip: In the last step, add slightly more broth, because the sauce will thicken & dry up quickly when heated. I will include that note in the recipe below.
Chef Armstrong uses the white-bean purée for the “traditional egg-based cheesy sauce” and the toasted garlic for the “bacon” to provide a savory depth and texture. He believes that dishes can be made with other ingredients without relying on just butter and animal fat. I really appreciate his honesty and beliefs in cooking.
Chef Cathal Armstrong’s recipe calls for fettuccine and we are unable to find them at our local markets. So we used linguine, which works well with the dish. So this dish will be called, Vegan Linguine Carbonara with Peas and Toasted Garlic (hehe)! You can use any pasta with the carbonara sauce, preferably fettuccine, spaghetti or linguine. For pasta, we use the brand Montebello. They are organic and imported from Italy, plus taste better and authentic.
Also, there wasn’t any directions to prepare toasted garlic slices, so I included the step in the recipe below. It is optional to add crushed red pepper flakes, we like our dishes mildly spicy.
Linguine Carbonara with Peas + Toasted Garlic
Yield: 4 servings
- 1 small head of garlic, plus 4 cloves, thinly sliced and lightly toasted
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 6-ounce canned, cooked white beans or ⅓ cup dried beans, cooked
- ¾ cup vegetable broth + extra for the last step (¼ cup)
- 8-ounce linguine or fettuccine
- ⅔ cup frozen peas, thawed or fresh peas, blanched
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
- 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes for garnish
- Olive oil for the toasted garlic slices
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Cut ½ inch off top of garlic bulb. Drizzle with oil and wrap in foil. Roast until tender, 45-60 minutes. Squeeze roasted garlic cloves into a blender or food processor and discard skin. Add beans and purée. With the motor running, add stock in a steady stream, using only enough to yield a creamy, sauce-like consistency. Strain sauce through a fine-mesh sieve and set aside.
Meanwhile, cook pasta according to instructions on package. In a skillet, turn the heat to medium-high and add half a tablespoon of olive oil into the skillet and heat the oil up for a minute. Reduce the heat to medium-low. Add all the garlic slices to the skillet. Allow the garlic to simmer in the oil, while gently stirring them with the spatula. Cook the slices until they are toasted to a golden color for about 2 minutes. Set them aside to cool.
In a medium-size pan, heat bean purée and slowly add ¼ cup of broth until warm. Add pasta and peas and stir to combine. Season with salt to taste and top with crushed red pepper flakes for garnish. Divide among four serving bowls. Garnish with toasted garlic slices and season with pepper to taste.
Adapted from Chef Cathal Armstrong of Restaurant Eve in Alexandria, Va.
Add a bit more broth in the last step because the sauce will dry up quickly with the pasta.