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This scrumptious carbonara with mushrooms is rich, indulgent, and has beautiful depth of flavour. We love it because it’s easy, meatless, ready in 25 minutes, but it tastes like restaurant comfort food.
Truth to be told, I love the classic Italian pasta carbonara, but I’m not a beef lover. And though this meatless version swaps bacon, pancetta and the Italian guanciale (cured pork) for hearty mushrooms, believe me… it won’t disappoint!
For the bacon, I had to figure out how to replace those smoky, chewy bites, and the delicious mushrooms are simply perfect. I cook them with smoked paprika and garlic to enhance their deep umami flavor.
And I don’t add tons of butter to the skillet, as I want the mushrooms to hold their shape and have a bite without being too mushy or greasy.
For the sauce, I simply let the eggs and savory Italian cheese do the magic, coating the pasta in a silky, delicious sauce. Serve with chopped parsley and freshly ground black pepper, and everyone will come back for second!
List of the ingredients
- Spaghetti (or other long pasta shapes)
- Mushrooms (Portobella, cremini or shitake…)
- Pecorino cheese (or Parmesan cheese)
- Smoked paprika
- Olive oil
- Fresh parsley
- Salt & pepper
How to cook carbonara with mushrooms
(Note: this is a quick description with step-by-step photos, the full recipe is at the bottom of the page).
- Rinse and pat dry the mushrooms.
- If they are medium-sized mushrooms, cut them into quarters. But feel free to use pre-sliced mushroom if you wish.
- Saute’ the mushrooms in olive oil until soft. Use a large pan (I love this one!).
- Meanwhile, cook your spaghetti and reserve 1 cup of pasta cooking water.
- In a small bowl, beat eggs, grated cheese, salt, pepper and 1 Tbsp of pasta cooking water until you get a smooth mixture.
- Add garlic, smoked paprika, and another Tbsp of olive to the pan.
- Toss until well combined.
- Drain and add the spaghetti to the pan. Turn the heat off.
- Stir spaghetti, mushrooms, parsley and a touch of pasta water.
- Add the egg mixture, and toss until spaghetti is well coated and silky. Enjoy!
Recipe notes & tips
Ingredients for carbonara with mushrooms
What’s pasta for carbonara? You can’t go wrong with spaghetti, the traditional pasta shape for this recipe. But you can use whatever pasta you prefer.
Mushrooms: I’ve made this recipe with Portobella mushrooms, cremini and shitake mushrooms and they all work just fine. Feel free to choose what type of mushrooms is on offer at your local grocery store.
Garlic and smoked paprika: flavor, flavor, flavor… let’s forget the bacon! : )
Eggs: the traditional pasta carbonara recipe calls for at least 1 egg yolk per serving, while this recipe uses both egg yolks and whole eggs.
Cheese: the traditional recipes call for grated Pecorino cheese, a hard, hearty sheep’s milk cheese with a strong, tangy flavor. I love it, but Parmesan cheese works just fine if it’s what you have on hand.
Fresh parsley: this is not the typical ingredients for carbonara, but it works beautifully in this carbonara with mushrooms!
Salt and pepper: they’re essential to make the flavor pop in.
Tips to make carbonara sauce
These simple tips will help you to make a creamy mushroom carbonara:
- Use eggs at room temperature: this will prevent your carbonara sauce to form clumps.
- Save the pasta cooking water: this is a must, especially for a moist carbonara.
- Add pasta water to the egg mixture: this avoid the eggs to scramble when you add the egg mixture to the hot skillet.
- Turn the heat off: make sure the heat has been off for 1 minute before you add the egg mixture. The skillet has to be warm enough, but not too hot.
- Toss your pasta: this reduces contact with the hot pan and aerates the eggs. Make sure you take the pan off the heat and toss the pasta until the eggs turn to a thin, smooth sauce.
Is it safe to eat raw eggs? This method of cooking does not kill all bacteria that may be present in the eggs. For this reason, it’s advisable the use of pasteurized eggs for the safety of this preparation.
More easy Italian pasta recipes
In the mood for easy pasta recipe? I’ve got you covered with these easy recipes, perfect for midweek busy nights!
- Pasta Napoletana
- Penne arrabbiata
- Spaghetti with garlic and olive oil (aglio e olio)
- Penne with pesto and potatoes
- Spaghetti with marinara sauce
If you make this meatless carbonara with mushrooms or if you have any questions, let me know! Leave a comment, send me a message, or rate it.
I would love to hear from you!
Carbonara with mushrooms.
- ½ lb (8oz/220 grams) spaghetti (or linguine, penne, fusilli…)
- 1 pasteurized egg
- 3 pasteurized egg yolks *(see notes)
- ½ cup (50 grams) pecorino cheese, grated (parmesan is fine too)
- ¼ ground black pepper
- 1 Tbsp pasta cooking water
- 2 Tbsp olive oil, divided
- 1 lb (450 grams) mushrooms (portobello, cremini or shitake)
- 2 large garlic cloves, minced or pressed
- 1 heaped tsp smoked paprika
- ¼ fine salt, plus more to taste
- ¼ black pepper, plus more to taste
- 3 Tbsp parsley leaves and tender stems, chopped
- Bring a large pot of salty water to a boil.
- In order to have pasta and mushrooms ready at the same time, start cooking the pasta when the mushrooms are browing in the pan.
- Cook pasta until al dente, drain it, and reserve 1 cup of pasta cooking water (this will be used when you toss the pasta with mushrooms and egg mixture).
- Add one egg, egg yolks, grated cheese and black pepper to a small bowl.
- Stir in 1 Tbsp of pasta cooking water and beat until well combinedl. Set aside.
- Heat 1 Tbsp of olive oil in a large pan over medium heat. When the oil starts shimmering add the mushrooms, stir and cook them over medium-high heat. The mushrooms will release their water, than the water evaporates and the mushrooms slowly get brown. The whole process take from 10 to 15 minutes.
- When the mushrooms are tender and brown, add again 1 Tbsp of olive oil (the second one), salt, pepper, garlic and paprika. Stir to enhance all the flavors.
- Add the drained pasta, the chopped parsley (reserve some for garnishing), toss well to combined, turn the heat off and remove the pan from the stove.
- After 1 minute, add the egg mixture to the pan and toss to combine. You need some of the reserved cooking water during this step, add it gradually until the pasta creamy and moist. Before serving make sure you're happy wth the seasoning.
- Serve straigh away with more freshly ground black pepper, chopped parsley and grated pecorino cheese. Enjoy.