Creepy Spaghetti Carbonara with Fungi (Mushrooms)

spooky pasta carbonara
Black pasta carbonara with exotic beech mushrooms. Food photography and recipe by Jackie Alpers developed for Taste Cooking.

To help us carbo-load for the long trek through the neighborhood, my mother would prepare her standard pre-trick-or-treat meal of Kraft’s boxed spaghetti dinner. We loved it. This recipe is almost as easy to throw together before going out. It’s also quite a bit spookier looking, yet elegant enough to serve at a Halloween themed adult dinner party.

For the black pasta I used Asian Organic Black Bean Spaghetti , which I found at my local market. It is considerably less expensive than the traditional black squid ink pasta, plus it’s gluten free, with only 17 carbs per serving, making it a nice counter-balance to all of the sugar you’ll probably be eating later on. 

Try challenging kids who thinks “weird” mushrooms and black pasta are too creepy to eat to a fun Halloween game where they have to try it anyway. I’m betting that this spooky Carbonara, (or “Bacon and Egg & Cheese Pasta” as I like to refer to it), is sure to be a hit. 

Makes 6-8 servings. 

Ingredients

1 pound dry black spaghetti

1/4-teaspoon salt 

100 grams (about 1 cup) exotic looking mushrooms, such as the Beech mushrooms pictured below.

1/2 pound thickly sliced, good quality bacon, cut into 1/2-inch pieces

3 large eggs

2 cloves garlic, minced 

1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese, plus more for serving

Salt and pepper to taste 

Instructions

Fill a large pot or Dutch oven 3/4 full with water, (about 4 quarts). Add the salt and bring to a boil. Add the pasta and cook stirring frequently until al dente, about 6 minutes for black bean spaghetti, and 9-11 minutes for squid ink spaghetti. 

Meanwhile cook the bacon, mushrooms and garlic in a large saucepan over medium heat, until the bacon is cooked throughout but not too crispy, and the mushrooms are tender and slightly browned, about 5-10 minutes, depending on the thickness of the bacon. Be careful when stirring so that you don’t break the mushrooms. If necessary drain some of the bacon fat from the pan, leaving enough of it to coat the pasta, about 3 tablespoons. 

Drain, but do not rinse the pasta reserving ¼ cup of pasta water. Break the eggs into a large bowl and whisk them with a fork. Throw in the pasta and reserved water and mix to coat. The hot pasta will cook the eggs. Then toss in the bacon, garlic and reserved fat. Stir in Parmesan cheese and add salt and pepper to taste. Gently swirl 2 or 3 small portions of the pasta with tongs or a fork per person, and artfully arrange them on each plate to serve, along with additional Parmesan cheese.

Food photography of exotic beech mushrooms by Jackie Alpers for Tastebook.

Dry Black Bean Pasta