Swede Carbonara with Shiitake Mushroom Bacon
A while back I went to Fed By Water in Dalston, and ate their delicious carbonara. It was the first creamy pasta dish I had had as a vegan. Since then I have had quite a few, and have even created one of my own. But it totally opened my eyes to the idea of those classic pasta dishes being re-imagined for vegan taste buds. More recently I saw Luna LoveCow, an amazing blogger, post an amazing carbonara recipe of her own. All of this got me super inspired to create a carbonara of my own.
I've been wanting to get into more seasonal eating for a while now, and I googled when butternut squash is in season (I knew the UK season started in Autumn, but didn't know when it ended) and the web page I looked at said it was in season till February. And I naively believed it, upon further research I realised it is actually too late for butternut squash, (when I couldn't find any British grown butternut squash it should have a bit of a clue). But I had already created the recipe before I realised. So yeh back to the drawing board. Upon better googling I realised swede is still in season, it is just coming up to the end of the swede season so enjoy them while you can! Oh swede you got my back. And well I feel like this recipe actually ended up more individual for that. The swede is sweet yet has a distinctively rooty taste and I really love how the carbonara sauce ended up thanks to that.
I hope this is the start of me paying more attention to eating seasonally, it's hard when you shop in supermarkets and everything you could ever want is always there. But I reckon with a little more attention I can get it down. Let me know what you think about seasonal eating, any hints or tips? I have for a little while been thinking about getting a veg box, as this would help me eat seasonally, any recommendations, particularly one with Eco credentials would go down a treat.
Swede is an excellent source of vitamin C and A. It also provides a rich source of fibre, potassium and calcium.
I topped my pasta with deliciously smokey mushrooms. These can be done a couple of ways. I have liquid smoke that I found in Borough market (read about my trip to Borough market here) so I used that, but I also tried making them without as I understand this is an ingredient not many people have just kicking around. If making them without liquid smoke use 1 teaspoon of paprika and 1/2 teaspoon of ancho chilli (or whatever dried chilli you have in your cupboard). The first time I made them I also didn't have maple syrup (I say maple syrup I actually used this maple flavoured agave because it's cheaper!) , I used agave but any natural sweetener would do the job. The maple flavour does add to the bacony sensation though, so it is worth getting hold of some if you can. British Shiitake mushrooms are also in season right now.
I served my pasta with a pecan Parmesan. Real simple to make it's crushed pecans and nutritional yeast mixed together. This isn't essential but I love the crunch the pecans provide!
All in all this is a great dish, creamy sauce, paired with smoky and sweet mushrooms and of course everyone's favourite carb, Pasta! It is homely, yet sophisticated all at the same time. I've eaten it 3 times this week to get this recipe right, and well I've enjoyed it every single time!
For the sauce
1/2 a swede
3 shallots (or 1 white onion)
4 cloves of garlic
1/2 litre of stock
4 tablespoons of nutritional yeast
2 teaspoons of tahini
Pepper (to season to taste)
For the mushroom bacon
120g shiitake mushrooms
2 teaspoons liquid smoke (or use 1 teaspoon of paprika and 1/2 teaspoon of ancho chilli)
2 teaspoons tamiri
1 teaspoon maple syrup (I use this as it's cheaper than maple)
400g of gluten free tagliatelle (or any form of gluten free pasta)
1) Peel and dice the swede into cubes and then roast for around 25-30 minutes at 200'c, until the swede is soft.
2) Meanwhile fry your shallots and garlic until soft and browning.
3) Once the swede and shallots are cooked place them both into a blender. Add the rest of the sauce ingredients and blend until smooth.
4) Thinly slice your mushrooms and place in a tray. Cover with the liquid smoke, tamiri and maple syrup.
5) Cook the pasta according to the packet instructions.
5) Place the mushrooms in the oven for 5-10 minutes at 200'c. You want the mushrooms to have started to crisp a little.
6) Once the pasta is done drain and pour the sauce over it. Add the mushrooms. To serve I added a mix of crushed pecans and nutritional yeast to create a pecan Parmesan, and some fresh parsley.