Vegetarian Pasta “Carbonara” with Roasted Asparagus, Mushrooms and Tomatoes

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All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2014

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I am a HUGE fan of homemade pasta.  I love the process of making it.  I like looking at it on my counter drying and, more than anything, I love eating it.   Homemade pasta is more different from boxed pasta than you expect & easier to make than you might think.  It is especially easy if you have a Kitchenaid stand mixer & the pasta cutting attachment.  This blog today will not get into making pasta because I have covered that a great deal already over the years.  Click HERE to see a partial list of recipes I have blogged about that used homemade pasta.  They will all contain info or links to info on the wonder that is homemade pasta.

One of my most successful pasta dishes was so awesome – it didn’t even need the homemade spaghetti to push it over the top.  It was my smoked salmon carbonara.  Is it gorgeous or what?

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I really love salmon & smoked salmon in pasta is hard to fuck up but – alas – I gave up seafood this year.  Still – I found myself craving this simple & smokey dish so I dug through my fridge & came up with today’s version of carbonara.  Traditional carbonara uses eggs & some form of pork – ham or bacon.  It should not involve cream & it has nothing to do with the Americanized alfredo-like dish so many places serve up.  It should be clean & light & flavorful.  This vegetarian version lives up to those standards.

I used tomatoes because I had a few that were on their last legs & I did not want them to go to waste.  They add a nice color to the photos but I think they might be too sharp in taste to really serve the others flavors in this dish so – in the future – I will omit them.    Use PASTURED eggs.  Only pastured eggs are genuinely cruelty-free   They cost about a buck apiece but they are so worth it.  This dish is very easy to pull together once you have roasted the veggies so do not be intimidated.

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Vegetarian Pasta “Carbonara” with Roasted Asparagus, Mushrooms and Tomatoes

Serves 2

INGREDIENTS

1/2 pound dry pasta (or homemade) – spaghetti is traditional

1 bunch asparagus – tough ends trimmed (see and easy way HERE) and sliced into 1-2 inch pieces

4 Roma tomatoes – diced (optional & I actually suggest skipping them)

6-10 mushrooms – sliced

4 garlic cloves – chopped

Olive oil

2 eggs

1/2 cup grated Parmesan

1/4 cup chopped parsley

Smoked mozzarella for grating

S&P

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DIRECTIONS

Heat the oven to 400 degrees.

Toss the mushrooms, asparagus & tomatoes (if you are using tomatoes) and garlic in about 1-2 TBS olive oil.  Toss in some S&P.  Roast for 30-45 minutes – stirring every 15 minutes until the vegetables look about like this & have released most of their moisture.

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You could do this in a saute pan, too, but the oven is effortless & dries the veggies out well so – yeah.

Whisk the eggs & Parmesan & most of the parsley & some salt & pepper in a bowl.

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When you think the vegetables are almost ready, cook the pasta.  Drain it & toss it immediately with the hot vegetables & the raw egg mixture.  The heat from the pasta & veggies will cook the eggs – I promise.

Serve the pasta with the extra parsley & grate some smoked mozzarella over the top.  The smokey cheese will replicate the missing ham just a bit.

Add more Parmesan, if you like, and lots of freshly ground pepper.  Mmmmm!

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