No, it doesn’t taste like carbonara. It tastes better than carbonara. I don’t have to pretend that I’m interested in following the pattern of the authentic recipe. I maximize the flavor by adding a bit of thyme, garlic, smoked paprika, and a piece of cold butter for a silkier sauce. The crunchy, smoked chickpeas are so addictive on their own that I would recommend doubling the portion to be able to snack on them wherever you want.
Vegetarian Carbonara with Crunchy-Smoked Chickpeas
makes 2 servings
1 can (400 g) chickpeas, drained
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
½ teaspoon salt
200 g spaghetti
2 egg yolks
⅓ cup (30 g) parmesan cheese
1 garlic clove, minced
1 tablespoon cold butter
freshly ground black pepper, salt
fresh thyme, for serving
1. Heat the oven to 220 C (425 F). Line a sheet with baking paper. Toss the chickpeas with olive oil, smoked paprika, and salt. Transfer into the baking sheet. Roast until golden and crispy, about 20 minutes.
2. Meanwhile, fill a large pot with water and season well with a few big pinches of salt. Bring to a boil. Cook the pasta until al dente. Drain, saving about ¼ cup of pasta water.
3. Combine the egg, yolks, parmesan, garlic, and about ½ teaspoon of freshly ground black pepper in a medium bowl; set aside.
4. Whisk in 2 tablespoons of pasta water. Add the cooked pasta and butter. Toss until the sauce thickens, adding more pasta water by tablespoons if needed. Stir in ¾ of the crispy chickpeas. Season with salt and pepper. Transfer onto plates. Top with remaining chickpeas, a bit of smoked paprika and fresh thyme.
Whisking pasta and eggs in a bowl is a safer way to make the sauce than making it directly in a pot.
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