Now this is what I like to see.

Portobello and Leek Carbonara I

Eggs and bacon… not being used in breakfast.

I mean, don’t get me wrong – I find bacon and eggs in the AM to be one of life’s simple pleasures. I adored the Sunday mornings while I was growing up that my mom would make a “big” breakfast with all the good stuff, which is seriously saying a lot since the only things I really adored at that time were my hair crimper (still got it) and my hot pink (like, literally HOT pink) fanny pack.

Portobello and Leek Carbonara I

Crimping hair was such a total pain because you had to do it piece by piece and layer by layer and it never was even and what SEEMED like would totally turn out to be Seventeen magazine material, really yielded just one massive fro. And that whole fanny pack thing? Please tell me WHAT I carried in there at age 8 besides three crusty lip glosses and my Nano pet. I always wonder this when I see super young girls with purses strapped across their chest. What did we keep in there that was just so… necessary?! Total child of the 90s problem.

I can tell you one thing though… pasta made with raw eggs would have never graced our dinner table in my youth. I feel extremely deprived. I always prayed I’d wake up Italian. Not joking.

Portobello and Leek Carbonara I

Last year sometime, a mucked-up version (read: whatever ingredients lived in my fridge) of carbonara became one of my go-to meals while my husband traveled for work. This is sorta huge since my other go-to meals when the cat’s away are like, wine, cheese, crackers and wine. Sometimes together, sometimes not.

So while I feasted on pasta laced with bacon every other month or so, I never actually made it for that guy in my life. I knew he wouldn’t eat it just as is – “where’s the meat?” he’d whine while I simultaneously rolled my eyes. Apparently, bacon doesn’t qualify as meat for him. what.ever. And to make some chicken and throw it in the pasta and make more of a mess and blah blah blah… just too much going on.

But last week changed all that, as I declared while on a little evening stroll that I was surely “making pasta carbonara tonight!” Since I don’t ever do anything I say I’m going to do, I didn’t do it. But I had an excellent reason as I had some cream that needed to be used or losed (yes losed) and then I accidentally deglazed the pan with cognac. Accidentally. Not gonna work with carbonara. That pasta totally DID have portobellos and leeks strewn throughout, and it was excellently devoured in minutes which led to a quite similar meal being made the next night. Like this one. Total flavor explosion.

Give me bacon or give me death.

Portobello and Leek Carbonara I

Portobello and Leek Carbonara

[adapted from Tyler Florence]

serves 2-4

4 slices thick-cut bacon, chopped

2 leeks, trimmed, cleaned and patted dry

12 ounces baby portobello mushrooms, quartered

1/2 pound whole wheat linguine

2 large eggs

3/4 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese

Bring water for pasta to a boil.

Heat a large skillet oven medium heat and add bacon. Cook until fat is rendered and bacon is crispy – about 6-7 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon and place on a paper towel to drain. Reduce heat to low.

Add in leeks with a pinch of salt, then toss mushrooms on top. Stir everything together to coat, then let cook until ingredients are softened – about 5 minutes. At this time, throw the pasta in the water to cook – it is really important that the pasta is hot. While the pasta is cooking, mix eggs and cheese together in a large bowl. The mixture will be thick.

As soon as pasta is finished, reserve 1/2-3/4 cup liquid, drain pasta and immediately throw into the skillet. Toss with the leeks and mushrooms to coat, then remove from heat. With a large spoon in one hand, add the egg mixture right on top and immediately begin stirring the pasta together. I usually stir for a good minute or two. At this time if desired, add the pasta water to the skillet to make things a bit more creamy and saucy. Toss in bacon. Serve immediately with extra cheese!

Portobello and Leek Carbonara I

Put this in your Monday and eat it.

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113 Responses to “Portobello and Leek Carbonara.”

  1. #
    chelsey @ clean eating chelsey — April 16, 2012 @ 6:59 am

    Oh this looks incredible – don’t smite me, but do you think that eggs and a nutritional yeast mixture will work just as well?


    • Jessica — April 16th, 2012 @ 7:06 am

      I definitely think it’s a possibility… I am obsessed with nutritional yeast but haven’t tried that. The only concern of mine is the texture difference between it and the parmesan… so I’m not sure of amounts, etc.


  2. #
    Kathryn — April 16, 2012 @ 7:01 am

    There isn’t much better in life than a big bowl of pasta carbonara. Love the addition of leeks too.


  3. #
    Jessica — April 16, 2012 @ 7:03 am

    Jess – this. is. incredible. I love everything about it – going on the list this week!


  4. #
    Rachel @ Not Rachael Ray — April 16, 2012 @ 7:10 am

    Oh my goodness–this is pasta heaven!


  5. #
    Erika - The Teenage Taste — April 16, 2012 @ 7:19 am

    Wow, this looks fabulous! That 3rd picture from the top is absolutely stunning! I want to eat everything! :-P


  6. #
    Mary-Where's the Zoom — April 16, 2012 @ 7:22 am

    The pictures. Oh my gosh. So so beautiful. Raw eggs never looked so good.


  7. #
    Sally @ sally's baking addiction — April 16, 2012 @ 7:32 am

    this pasta dish looks incredible Jessica… so many great flavors all in one. i just love portobellos. and your pictures, as always, are beautiful!


  8. #
    Meg @ Peaches and Cake — April 16, 2012 @ 7:34 am

    jealous!! i always wanted my own hair crimper!


    • Jessica — April 16th, 2012 @ 7:42 am

      It was… in a word… AMAZING.


  9. #
    Kristen @ notsodomesticated — April 16, 2012 @ 7:38 am

    Looks awesome! The one time I tried making carbonara, I ended up with bits of scrambled eggs … despite stirring really fast when I added the eggs. Any thoughts?? Or perhaps I should just stick to ordering my carbonara from a restaurant … ? ;)


    • Jessica — April 16th, 2012 @ 7:44 am

      Hmmm did you remove the pan from the heat before adding the eggs? I was always worried about that but it’s never happened for me. I think it always help to also have a fairly large pan/pot, so you can really stir quickly. Another thing is to make sure the veg/pasta is on the bottom of the skillet so when the egg is added, it hits that instead of the bottom of the hot pan. And then just stir, stir, stir quickly!


      • Kristen @ notsodomesticated — April 16th, 2012 @ 12:08 pm

        Thanks for taking the time to write out that whole reply, Jessica! I really appreciate it. I do think you’re right about removing the pan from the heat before adding the eggs. I did not do that. My other issue was that the recipe I used made A TON of pasta, so although I used a big pan, it wasn’t big enough … so it was slopping all over the place when I was trying to stir. ;) Maybe I’ll get brave enough to give it another shot. Thanks again for your suggestions! :)

  10. #
    Kim in MD — April 16, 2012 @ 7:53 am

    Yum! I love carbonara, and this version looks so delicious!


  11. #
    Angela @ Eat Spin Run Repeat — April 16, 2012 @ 7:54 am

    Ditto on the lip glosses and Nano pets. Mine were Bonne Bell Lip Smackers and I had some sort of strange affinity with the lime sparkly one that made my lips look like they were completely frostbitten in a gooey sort of way. Eww. Oh, and instead of the pink fanny pack, my bag of choice was those mini backpack things that were so cool back then. Ohhhh the 90s.


  12. #
    Yammie @ Yammie's Noshery — April 16, 2012 @ 7:55 am

    Sometimes I look at my own ten ton purse and wonder… what do I have to have in here that is so necessary? Bahaha. Anyways, this pasta obviously looks amazing.


    • Jessica — April 16th, 2012 @ 10:00 am

      I still do that as well. It’s sad.


  13. #
    Catalina @ Cake with Love — April 16, 2012 @ 7:58 am

    OMG everytime I read ur blog I want to run to the kitchen and make whatever u did!!! This dish is amazing!!


  14. #
    Natalie @ Cooking for My Kids — April 16, 2012 @ 8:01 am

    Oh my goodness…I always wanted to be Italian, too! :) And, I could totally eat this for breakfast right now. It looks amazing!


  15. #
    Caroline @ chocolate & carrots — April 16, 2012 @ 8:12 am

    Yes, please!!! Eggs and bacon for ANY meal! ;-)


  16. #
    shelly (cookies and cups) — April 16, 2012 @ 8:27 am

    So that miniature plate in your picture is an appetizer portion, yes? Because in my life, carbonara goes hand in hand with a 2 quart sized bowl, a fork and elastic pants.
    Just me?


    • Nancy C — April 16th, 2012 @ 9:21 am

      Amen! Glad I’m not the only one :-)


    • Jessica — April 16th, 2012 @ 10:00 am

      Obviously an app!


  17. #
    Gen — April 16, 2012 @ 8:46 am

    This looks incredible!!! :D


  18. #
    Maria — April 16, 2012 @ 9:16 am

    this looks awesome!

    also, I just saw this food and wine slide show and after my head exploded, I thought of you :) Healthy Bacon Recipes? deam.come.true.


    • Jessica — April 16th, 2012 @ 10:00 am

      Oh my.


  19. #
    Nancy C — April 16, 2012 @ 9:20 am

    Thank you, thank you, thank you…for making carbonara the RIGHT way. If I see someone put cream in it one more time I will scream! This look FABULOUS!! :-)


  20. #
    Ashley — April 16, 2012 @ 9:42 am

    Love how piled that plate is with pasta! Nano pets…ahhhhahahaaa


  21. #
    Amanda @ The Dormestic Goddess — April 16, 2012 @ 9:46 am

    You literally combined 5 of my favorite things in one dish. I’ve never tried carbonara before, maybe it’s time to do something new! And, speaking of new, if you loved you’re hair crimper I’m curious if you’ve seen those three-barrel wavers? They’re like a grown up crimper. So much fun! Such big hair!


    • Jessica — April 16th, 2012 @ 9:59 am

      I bought one of those a few years ago and agree – it was really fun! Still just so time consuming – at least for me because I have a lot of hair!


  22. #
    Heather (Heather's Dish) — April 16, 2012 @ 9:56 am

    anything with leeks totally wins my heart…they’re so buttery!


  23. #
    Lauren — April 16, 2012 @ 10:06 am

    OMG! This is exactly my kind of dinner!!


  24. #
    Nicole @ Sweet Peony — April 16, 2012 @ 10:06 am

    This looks like perfection. I loooove pasta carbonara and I bet it’s even more amazing with mushrooms. Deeeelish!


  25. #
    Ryan @ Spicy Richmond — April 16, 2012 @ 10:09 am

    Bacon AND mushrooms? I’m in!


  26. #
    Rachel — April 16, 2012 @ 10:33 am

    Thinks looks incredible. I love carbonara but have never been able to make it successfully. I also love mushrooms (which my fiancee does not) but he can pick his out! ;) This recipe may be a reason to try again! :)


  27. #
    Gina @ Running to the Kitchen — April 16, 2012 @ 10:34 am

    My mom would make legit carbonara at least 3-4 times a month growing up so I always thought it was just a “normal” pasta dish until I got to college and realized most people don’t think the whole raw egg thing + pasta is ok. They obviously don’t know what they’re missing. Adding portobellos and leeks is just icing on an already delicious cake :)


  28. #
    stacy t — April 16, 2012 @ 10:41 am

    i just died and went to pasta heaven.


  29. #
    Averie @ Averie Cooks — April 16, 2012 @ 11:00 am

    Did you know that today is national Day of the Mushroom Day! I am posting about it in about 10 mins with shroomy recipes :)

    This looks so good. Love the 1st pic; stunning with the black background and contrast from the yellow in the egg and green leeks.


  30. #
    Nancy @ CouponClippingCook — April 16, 2012 @ 11:35 am

    This looks and sounds amazingly delicious. Love how you displayed this pasta. When I try to swirl pasta on a plate like that it looks like one of those balls made with rubber bands.


  31. #
    Caroline~the wanna be country girl — April 16, 2012 @ 12:00 pm

    You’ve taken me back in time with your crimper, fanny pack and Seventeen magazine. If you had mentioned basting in bain de soleil mega tan with the radio blaring, the transportation would have been complete! Back to today … your pasta dish looks wonderful. The 14 year old me wouldn’t have eaten the potobellos and leeks, but the 43 year old me thinks it sounds like perfection! Thanks for sharing.


  32. #
    natalie (the sweets life) — April 16, 2012 @ 12:39 pm

    i am ALL ABOUT bacon & eggs not in breakfast!! recently made a risotto featuring bacon and eggs inspired by a restaurant dish i had…it was not a bad idea! :)

    happy Monday!


  33. #
    Moni Meals — April 16, 2012 @ 12:40 pm

    Wow, I know a lot of folks that will love this! I love mushrooms too. YUM. Thanks Jessica. :) Have a great Monday.


  34. #
    green beans & grapefruit — April 16, 2012 @ 12:46 pm

    Love carbonara! Thank you for sharing!


  35. #
    Ashley @ Wishes and Dishes — April 16, 2012 @ 12:53 pm

    Mmmm yum. I love carbonara! I just posted a pasta carbonara recipe on my page. Great minds think alike! :)


  36. #
    Sarah — April 16, 2012 @ 1:06 pm

    Was that a subtle Downton Abbey reference at the end?? “Put that in your pipe and smoke it!”


  37. #
    Sabrina @ Radioactive Runner — April 16, 2012 @ 1:10 pm

    wow.. this looks amazing.. and so do your photos. Wish I could eat some right. now.


  38. #
    naomi — April 16, 2012 @ 1:40 pm

    OMG- I sort of need this in my belly-STAT!


  39. #
    Adrienne @ Midwestern Belle — April 16, 2012 @ 2:06 pm

    Ok when are we going to see a cookbook, because I need somewhere better than Pinterest and bookmarks to store all these recipes :) Ahh and I’m trying to block the fanny pack from my memory, especially since it paired it with white Keds and hot pink socks.


  40. #
    Bev Weidner — April 16, 2012 @ 2:29 pm

    I really need to snuggle that right now.


  41. #
    Katrina — April 16, 2012 @ 2:59 pm

    I am in loooooove!!


  42. #
    Kelli H (Made in Sonoma) — April 16, 2012 @ 6:15 pm

    Your photos are so good, I’m sure you could make anything and I’d want to eat it…


  43. #
    Liz — April 16, 2012 @ 6:57 pm

    This looks good!
    BTW I really like your blog, it reminds me of Joy the Baker…and I love her recipes!


  44. #
    Sara N. — April 16, 2012 @ 8:18 pm

    Your pictures are awesome! How do you get your pasta so beautifully tangled without it looking like a clumpy mess? Just curious. Anyhow, I don’t remember what I was sporting in my fanny pack, but I know I was probably wearing it with some awesome stretch pants:)


  45. #
    Barbara | Creative Culinary — April 16, 2012 @ 9:33 pm

    This is one of my favorites for those ‘Uh oh what’s for dinner?’ moments. Easy, elegant, delicious.


  46. #
    Kristina — April 16, 2012 @ 9:38 pm

    Made it this evening – it was really wonderful. Thank you for posting it!


    • Jessica — April 16th, 2012 @ 9:47 pm

      So glad you liked it!


  47. #
    Quiche-ing Queen — April 16, 2012 @ 9:42 pm

    I have something similar on the menu for tomorrow night. This looks so delicious. Crave worthy! I, thankfully, was not a fanny pack wearer.


  48. #
    Colleen @ Culinary Colleen — April 16, 2012 @ 9:57 pm

    Carbonara is one of my absolute favorite quick dinners. The addition of leeks and mushrooms sounds lovely!


  49. #
    Hannah — April 17, 2012 @ 11:37 am

    I made this for dinner last night and it was amazing! I switched the leeks for shallots and used capellini. Drooling just thinking about it.


  50. #
    Karriann — April 17, 2012 @ 12:23 pm

    I thought I was the only one who prayed that I’d wake up Italian HAHA! Anyway, the pasta looks stunning. I could eat that for dayssss.

    “Happy Cooking”



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