Let me just say as a disclaimer: I know this recipe bears little resemblance to traditional eggy, cheesy carbonara. As a staple for our date nights we know this pasta recipe in and out. I mean it has the word carb in it what’s not to love?
One of the reasons we love this is it gives us the chance to catch up after we’ve been working all weekend. This allows Izzie and I time to talk, drink and laugh while “people who can’t buy food” (Eat Well For Less on BBC) or re-runs of The L Word play in the background of my kitchen. It’s actually very quick to make and genuinely delicious. However what is a 20 minute recipe can actually take our unfocussed minds 3 hours to make.
It has several variations depending on what we feel like eating. Sometimes we leave out the parsley, sometimes we use a different kind of tofu/bacon. Sometimes we make cashew cream if we’re feeling showy.
This recipe is the one we use most frequently.
Serves 2 starving vegans after 3 hours cooking.
200g marinated tofu (you can substitute for smoked tofu, vegan Quorn ham pieces etc)
1 green pepper
300g spaghetti or other long pasta (Yes. That much.)
2 cloves garlic
1 250ml soya cream
2 tbsp nutritional yeast
1 small bunch of parsley
A little olive oil for frying
Salt and pepper to taste
If it isn’t already the correct size cut the tofu into thick 2-3cm long matchsticks. Deseed the pepper and chop into half centimetre square pieces. Trim the parsley stalks and roughly chop the bunch. Crush the garlic.
In a frying pan add the oil and allow it to heat up then add the tofu. While stirring occasionally allow it to become brown and crispy. Transfer the tofu to a plate and try not to eat too much of it while you prepare the rest of the dish.
The timing is quite important as you want sauce to be ready at the same time that the pasta is ready to add to it. I like the peppers still quite crunchy and fresh to counteract the heaviness of the rest of the dish.
Bring a pan of hot water to the boil and add the pasta. I don’t add any salt to the water as the smoked tofu is already quite salty. Cook the pasta until it is al dente but don’t drain.
While the pasta is cooking add the peppers to the still hot frying pan and cook for about 3 minutes. Crush the garlic and add to the peppers and cook for 1 minute. Add the cream and nutritional yeast to the peppers and allow to warm through for about a minute. Add the tofu. Using tongs or a pasta claw add the pasta directly form the water to the sauce. If it seems a little dry add a little more of the pasta water. Stir for about 1 minute to finish cooking the pasta and to warm the cream through.
Finally add the chopped parsley reserving a little for a garnish. Season the pasta with salt and pepper. Serve and finish with the remaining of the parsley a little vegan cheese if you like.