Pasta alla carbonara

There are several stories about the origins of spaghetti alla carbonara. The name is derived from carbonaro (the Italian word for charcoal burner), so some people believe this dish was first made as a hearty meal for Italian charcoal workers. The etymology gave rise to the term ‘coal miner’s spaghetti’, which is still used to refer to spaghetti alla carbonara in parts of the US. However, there are no historical records of spaghetti alla carbonara before World War II. So another story is that this dish was the Italian interpretation of what American and Canadian soldiers ate while they were in Italy during WW II; a typical North American breakfast based of eggs and bacon – but with pasta!

My vegan version is a little different I guess, but hearty nonetheless! First I cooked the pasta. I used a packet of Rosso e Bianco Farfalloni Pasta – Italian artisan produced pasta bows coloured with beetroot. While the pasta was cooking, I fried some Realeat VegeBacon and some Redwood Cheatin’ Ham in a large frying pan with some olive oil until it was beginning to go crispy at the edges. I strained the cooked pasta and added it to the pan. I then added most of a carton of Alpro cream, stirring gently to reduce it. I added plenty of freshly ground black pepper and served it with a green salad with thinly sliced red onions and capers. Marc said it was like eating in a restaurant! High praise indeed!

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