Thursday, February 12, 2015
9 Days of Valentine's: Part 4...
For day 4 of our Valentine’s Week Celebration I decided to go Italian again with another dish from Chloe Coscarelli's book "Chloe’s Vegan Italian Kitchen." I ordered this book pretty much as soon as it came out but with all the cook books I own I haven’t had much chance to use it. I was particularly happy to pull it out for Valentine’s Week, and Chloe’s Pasta Carbonara with Shiitake Bacon was one of the first recipes I set my sights on.
To be honest I’m not sure if I’ve ever eaten a non-vegan Pasta Carbonara before. I sure ate a lot of pasta growing up, and all different kinds but I can’t recall if Carbonara ever made it into rotation. Considering it uses a lot of bacon, and my family never ate much pork it’s probably safe to say I didn’t. I have however made vegan carbonara’s, and I’ve always enjoyed them.
Chloe’s version is a little different then Carbonara’s I’ve made in the past. Most of the ones I’ve made have contained peas, and a rich non-dairy cheese or cream substitute, also some kind of store-bought vegan bacon. The most obvious difference in Chloe’s version is that she makes her own Shiitake bacon which is super easy and way more delicious then most store-bought vegan bacon. The only thing I did different to the recipe was add a touch of liquid smoke for added smoky flavor. Otherwise this was perfect.
The Carbonara sauce too is a little different. It’s very simplistic in it’s ingredients using tofu as the base. This makes it somewhat less rich then the vegan versions that use fancy diary subs but it doesn’t make it any less satisfying. What I always love about Chloe’s dishes is that they’re packed with flavor and yet so simple. The ingredients list is usually short, the cooking method is relatively simple, she makes vegan food easy, and accessible and she can make it as fancy or as comforting as you want. One of the greatest things about this dish is how quick the sauce comes together, you basically just blend it all up, then pour it on the hot pasta and let it sit for a few minutes to warm through and thicken. Voila, dinner done!
Seriously, this is a damn good dish, that shiitake bacon is so worth it! If you’ve never had shiitake bacon you need to make some now!
Check back tomorrow, we’re going French again, and there’s dessert!
PS: Before you ask, I put a whole ton of parsley into my bowl, that's why it looks so green! and it's topped off with a nice home-made Nooch based Parmesan.