16 May 2013

Quorn Simply Add - Carbonara [by @Nli10]

I love Carbonara - it's my baseline Italian dish.  If I want to see if a restaurant 'gets' what Italian food should be like then I choose the Carbonara.  If I've had a long day and just want something I know that I will enjoy I make it myself.  I've concocted veggie versions too - I replaced the bacon/ham with with either quorn bits or sun-dried tomatoes.  When I saw that Quorn themselves had a go I thought I should be open-minded and try it.

Turns out it's a bit different from carbonara's accepted recipe.  There is cheese in the actual sauce, which isn't supposed to be there - and they even declare that it's got 4 kinds as if it's a bonus.  There is pepper in the sauce, but it's a small amount of white pepper - the 'carbon' in the carbonara is generally considered to be the cracked black pepper.  This has none.  This leaves us with a sachet of Quattro Stagione sauce, which doesn't really have many herbs at all, but does have little pink cubes.

I've not seen pink Quorn before.  I didn't think to see how they coloured it, but it does psychologically help to make you think this is a meat based dish.  Unfortunately this has probably been taste-tested by people who haven't understood that the saltiness of the bacon is it's only reason for being there.  The zing of this in the creaminess of the sauce creates a lovely contrast and none of that is here.  

The texture of the Quorn cubes is good, and these are very edible, but even Mabel the cat wasn't fooled into thinking these were meat.

If you want an instant, lightly cheesy cream sauce to go with pasta for a vegetarian meal then this is fine.  Be prepared to season it heavily to get any real flavour out of it (Schwartz to the rescue!) but it's edible and it's 1 portion claim is a little generous if anything - I think with sufficient pasta this could be shared.

I added one sun-dried tomato which I had left over to the bottom and it brought the thing alive.  I suggest cutting them into thin strips and stirring them liberally so that the flavour comes alive.  If Quorn did the little pink cubes separately you'd probably just be better off buying and frying those with some cream and black pepper then adding any cheese you want to the top of the dish as intended.  

I guess the point of this is quick and convenient though so it fails in that respect if you want authenticity, but not if you want speed.


Anonymous said...

Its not meant to replicate the real version, it only offers a replacement (as an alternative to meat) so don't expect magic x i really enjoyed this, sure it isn't exactly like the real version i.e. no meat-(that cat ain't stupid) but really tasty and full of flavour! Yumyum x however didn't like the tomato and basil (now that was too bland haha each to their own) x look forward to more reviews xx

cinabar said...

Thanks for your comment, yes the cats were on to it! No doubt we will give some other quorn goodies a try soon. :-)