Cream..butter..eggs..minor heart attack.
Ok, we know those things are bad for us. So it is possible to have our cake, so to speak, and eat it too?
It seems some chefs think so, at least according to an article in the Wall Street Journal, you can, replacing salt and fat for more nutritional, yet as tasty, ingredients.
"So Mr. Armstrong began tinkering with preparations and proportions, experimenting with trading the calorie-dense and nutrition-light for more nourishing fare. In the process, he discovered that the flavors he could achieve without all the fat and salt weren't just passable; they were actually better."Better? Really? The articles includes a couple of recipes and I bravely decided to try the first, a vegan take off on Pasta Carbonara. An experiment and I will share the outcome, good or bad.
created by Cathal Armstrong of Restaurant Eve in Alexandria, Va
This vegan riff on a carbonara derives its deceptively meaty flavor from garlic that is roasted until it is mellow, complex and deeply savory. Puréed with white beans and vegetable stock, it makes for a rich tasting, but not heavy, sauce.
1 small head of garlic, plus 4 cloves, thinly sliced and lightly toasted
1 tablespoon olive oil
6 ounces canned, cooked white beans or 1/3 cup dried beans, cooked
¾ cup vegetable stock
8 ounces fettuccine
2/3 cup frozen peas, thawed or fresh peas, blanched
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Cut ½ inch off top of garlic bulb. Drizzle with oil and wrap in foil. Roast until tender, 45-60 minutes.
2. Squeeze roasted garlic cloves into a blender or food processor and discard skin. Add beans and purée. With the motor running, add stock in a steady stream, using only enough to yield a creamy, sauce-like consistency. Strain sauce through a fine-mesh sieve and set aside.
3. Meanwhile, cook pasta according to instructions on package.
4. In a medium-size pan, heat bean purée until warm. Add pasta and peas and stir to combine. Season with salt to taste. Divide among four serving bowls. Garnish with toasted garlic slices and season with pepper to taste.
So, how did it turn out?
Oddly, with all that garlic it does not have a strong garlic taste. As anyone who has roasted a head of garlic knows, it become a sweet paste, quite mild. And it was very easy.
And it does not look bad, does it?
Is there anything reminiscence of carbonara here, besides the fettuccine?
No, not really.
It is not bad but not something I can see pining for.
Those garlic chip...skip them IMHO. Bitter. Maybe I overcooked them.
And it is just cruel to have that photo of that panchetta at the top of the article and then give me garlic slivers. That is not panchetta!
I will also tell you, keep some of the pasta water on hand because once you add the sauce to the pasta that creamy looking sauce with tighten up something fierce. So just add a little pasta water, but by bit, until you like the texture.
|REAL carbonara, at a charming Rome restaurant.|
I guess this is why I am not a vegan. I like bacon and butter and cream. Sure, not every day, but every so often.....
Ya gotta die of something, right?
Why not panchetta and cheese?
This is my contribution this to this week's Weekend Cooking.
"Weekend Cooking is open to anyone who has any kind of food-related post to share: Book (novel, nonfiction) reviews, cookbook reviews, movie reviews, recipes, random thoughts, gadgets, fabulous quotations, photographs. If your post is even vaguely foodie, feel free to grab the button and link up anytime over the weekend."
Be sure to check out the other entries this week. As always, hosted by Beth Fish Reads.