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RECIPE: Spaghetti Carbonara

I’ll admit that I did get behind on my posts there for awhile. I made this recipe for Valentine’s Day 2011. It was something I’ve never tried before and the fact that it usually has bacon in it didn’t scare this vegetarian at all. I’ve got my substitutes for nearly everything non-vegetarian and this was no exception. I originally found mention of this meal in one of my magazines and then changed the recipe so much that it’s not theirs anymore. 🙂

I admit that even though the ingredient list isn’t that threatening I wouldn’t consider this a recipe that I would make on a regular basis. It does require some finesse and I think I actually didn’t do it justice.

The idea of converting a recipe from a meat based one to a veggie based one is always alluring to me. So many people think that if you’re a vegetarian you can’t enjoy the foods that everyone else does. I am here to tell you that’s a false notion. ANYTHING that a meat eater makes I can convert to a healthier, vegetarian option. I’ve been doing it for over 20 years now. I don’t deprive myself of cravings that I have. Yes, I still crave the bacon in BLT sandwiches and I have a healthy, vegetarian alternative for that that I quite enjoy and so does everybody that I make it for.

My message is this: if you think that you are going to be deprived if you decide to go meatless your fears are unfounded. Maybe 20 years ago that was the truth…okay, it was 20 years ago, trust me I know from first hand experience, but I can tell you that today there are so many vegetarian alternatives for meat that you can make just about anything you want by converting the ingredients. Having said that here are the ingredients for this recipe.


1/2 Cup of Tempeh Fakin’ Bacon (just use the real thing if you’re a meat eater)

1 Small Onion

1 Garlic clove,  peeled

1 1/2 Cups of Half and Half

1 Bay Leaf

2 Sprigs of Thyme

1/4 Cup grated Parmigiano

Salt and Pepper to taste

2 Egg Yolks

1/4 Cup fresh or frozen Peas

In a large pan, saute the bacon until lightly browned. Add the onion and garlic and sweat until they are soft. At that point you can add the Half and Half, bay leaf and thyme and cook until the sauce is reduced by half.

Cook your pasta as directed. (If you’re really handy or really Italian or both you could even make your own pasta to use in this recipe. I know some of you do this but I am not mentioning any names…Camille! 🙂 Me, I am not that handy and dough intimidates me so I opted for the boxed stuff.)

Now add the parmigiano cheese to the cream mixture and at salt and pepper to taste. Take the mixture off of the heat and whisk in the egg yolks and add the peas. Toss the sauce with the pasta and serve.

I made served this recipe with a nice green salad, garlic bread and a nice Mouton Cadet red wine. (See my review of this wine here.) For dessert we had Creme Brulee (You can check that recipe out here).

Overall this was a nice meal. I will admit that when it comes to whisking in raw egg yolks to a hot mixture sometimes I get a little leery and cook the ingredients some more which is what I did here. It made the end result a little too dry and the cream solidified a bit. However the taste of the meal was really good and we had a lovely Valentine’s Day