Proper Pasta Carbonara is made with egg, Parmesan cheese, pasta water and prosciutto to create a simple creamy pasta dish. Many Americans know a bastardized version that often involves peas and mushrooms. It’s delicious, but it isn’t Carbonara.
This is my take on the latter (thus “Fakey Carbonara”). It’s one of my favorite indulgent dinners and makes fantastic leftovers.
- 1 package dry pasta (I like farfalle for this)
- 1/2 package bacon (could use 8 ounces of thinly sliced ham, but bacon is delicious)
- 1 package mushrooms (optional)
- 1/2 onion (optional)
- 2 cups frozen peas
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 2 garlic cloves, finely minced
- 1 1/2 cups milk
- 1 (8-ounce) light or regular cream cheese, cubed
- 1/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
- Black pepper to taste
Chop bacon into 1 inch strips, slice mushrooms and onions, mince garlic, and cube cream cheese.
Put well salted water (it should taste slightly briny) on to boil.
In a large skillet, cook bacon on medium/low until the fat has rendered but the bacon isn’t crispy. Set aside bacon in a large mixing bowl.
Saute the onions and mushrooms in bacon grease.
While the mushrooms and onions are sauteing, boil the pasta according to package directions. Add the peas during the last 3 minutes of cooking. Drain the pasta and peas in a colander and set aside with bacon.
Add mushrooms and onions to the bowl of bacon, pasta, and peas.
In the skillet or a medium saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute, stirring constantly. Stir in the cubed cream cheese, stirring until the mixture is smooth. Slowly whisk in the milk and Parmesan cheese and continue stirring and cooking until the mixture is bubbly and hot, 1-2 minutes.
Combine the sauce and pasta-pea-bacon-mushroom-onion mixture. Toss to combine. Add black pepper to taste and serve immediately!
Adapted from this recipe.
Use your leftover ingredients to make Bacon-Stuffed Mushrooms!