Carbonara is a dish that I grew up on and nobody makes it like my mum. Sadly I had to give it up several years ago when I stopped eating dairy. Although I now do eat a bit of dairy here and there, I still avoid creamy based pastas sauces. I have read that traditional Roman Carbonara is made with just eggs, pancetta and Pecorino Romano and no cream. Although I think nearly every dish of Carbonara Marco ordered when we travelled around Italy was cream based. In the past, I had tried to make Carbonara without cream (or creamy substitute), but it just wasn’t very good. The egg would scramble, it wasn’t creamy enough and the taste just wasn’t there.
However, I came across this video of Molly from Bon Appétit making a more traditional Carbonara with Mushroom. It looked so creamy and delicious and the perfect way to celebrate Octavia and my love of mushrooms. You can find the recipe here, but I recommend also watching the video below. Molly does a great job of showing how easy it is to make and gives some great tips along the way. It made me realise some of the little mistakes that I had been making, which made my own Carbonara so terrible.
So I tried my hand at Molly’s Mushroom Cabonara and it was so good. I did switch a few of the ingredients for things I already had. I used white and shiitake mushrooms, farfalle pasta, Pecorino Romano, scallions instead of shallots, and basil instead of parsley. These changes didn’t matter so much because the key ingredients are what brought it all together. These include plenty of egg yolks, perfectly seasoned pasta water, hard Italian cheese and flavourful mushrooms. It was also little things like adding pasta water to the eggs before adding to the pan and pushing the mushrooms to caramelise that really made the difference.
The result was a light creamy sauce that perfectly coated the pasta, which was right on point in terms of flavour and seasoning. I honestly didn’t expect it to taste this good and no extra salt was needed to bring out the flavours. My little family also really enjoyed it, which was a bit surprising. O isn’t a fan of pepper and Marco doesn’t love mushrooms, but they both gobbled up the two serves.