Sometimes you need a really super special pasta dish. A dish for a celebration with someone special, or to bring out on a date night. Or just to to treat yourself for being you. One with some gorgeous ingredients that when put together create a glorious and slightly indulgent stunner of a dish. In which case, you need to make this Vegan Smoked Garlic & Wild Mushroom Pasta.
Ok so maybe the ingredients for this dish might seem a little 'extra' but they are completely worth it. A whole bulb of smoked garlic gets roasted, then the smoky, creamy insides get squished out & mixed with a gorgeous mix of wild mushrooms, some soya cream and tossed through pasta.
So simple. But so so delicious.
Smoked Garlic is somewhat of a revelation. It's made by smoking whole heads of garlic which means that it is slightly pre-cooked. This mellows the garlic flavour & adds a smokey delicious dimension that is utterly addictive. The nicest way to use it is probably to roast it whole, then squeeze out the garlic cloves & use on toast or in super posh garlic bread, squished through some mash or, like in this recipe, to add a yummy garlic hit to some pasta.
Yes it seems a bit mad to turn the oven on just to roast a head of garlic, however if you plan ahead, you could cook the garlic the day before with something else you are oven baking. Or chop some root veggies up & roast with herbs ready to make some sandwiches or to toss into salad the next day. Or bake a cake or some brownies.. after all, this is supposed to be an indulgent dinner!
Just like regular garlic, smoked garlic has a particular affinity with mushrooms. You could of course use any kind of mushroom you like in this dish, however I found a gorgeous punnet of mixed wild mushrooms at the market & couldn't resist buying them. A yummy mix of mushrooms creates extra layers of flavour as well as texture. I think the mix I had included shimeji, oyster, shitake, beech & enoki mushrooms, but whatever you can find would be delicious.
I also added fine strips of young cavolo nero leaves (which is a kind of kale) which adds to the overall beauty of the dish. Their slightly bitter earthyness also adds a delicious counterpoint to the creamy smokyness of the dish. You could add other greens instead. Spinach or regular kale that has been finely shredded, or even mini florets of broccoli would work.
(P.S.- This recipe is for two, but makes enough for 3. So you can have some leftovers to take to work, or to accidentally eat in the middle of the night.)
Handy Shopping Hints for Vegan Smoked Garlic & Wild Mushroom Pasta:
- Smoked Garlic: I found mine at a market, but you can also buy it online.
- Great Wild Mushrooms - Try getting a mixed pack from a super market or market.
- Nutritional Yeast- This creates a savoury cheesy flavour & is great for sprinkling on all kinds of pasta
- Soya or Oat Cream - these come in long life packs so are handy to keep in the cupboard
Vegan Smoked Garlic & Wild Mushroom Pasta
- 1 head smoked garlic
- 250 g mixed wild mushrooms
- 3 Tbsp olive oil
- ½ glass good white wine (optional. Use water if you don't want to add wine)
- 200 ml soy cream
- 1 Tbsp nutritional yeast use more if you like a cheesier flavour
- 150 g Cavolo Nero leaves or other leafy green veggie. Finely chopped!
- 1 mild chilli (or 1 tsp chilli flakes) optional but yummy if you like heat!
- 1 tsp dried thyme
- Salt & Pepper to taste
- 200 g dried spaghetti or other long thin pasta
For the Roasted Smoked Garlic
- Roast the garlic head whole for around 30 mins in a moderate oven (around 180C) . Remove from the oven when the garlic is squishy & soft (poke the outer clove a bit to find out!)
- Once cooled down a bit, squeeze & squish all the lovely smoked garlic out of their papery exterior ready to use in the pasta sauce
For the Pasta & Sauce
- Put the water on to boil for the pasta. Salt it well.
- Clean & trim the mushrooms. Cut any large ones into fine strips. Chop the Cavolo Nero, discarding any hard stems. Chop the chilli if using.
- In a large pan, sautee the mushrooms in the olive oil, so they start to sizzle & brown. (add the chilli here if using too)
- By now the pasta water should be boiled. Add the pasta in & cook according to packet (around 8-10 mins usually)
- Add the garlic, herbs & wine to the mushrooms and mix well & let the wine cook off for a few seconds.
- Add the soya cream, herbs, and nutritional yeast. Sizzle well & mix to combine.
- Add the Cavolo Nero & mix so it cooks down a bit. Season to taste.
- By now the pasta should be cooked. Reserve a cup of the pasta water and drain the rest of the pasta.
- Mix the drained pasta in with the mushroom & garlic mixture. Stir well. Add a little of the reserved pasta water to loosen it up.
- Drizzle extra good olive oil over & add some extra nutritional yeast.
- Serve! Delicious with a glass of white wine & some salad.