Calamarata is a ring-style pasta that resembles the shape of calamari. For this popular Napoletana pasta, calamari are sauteed in white wine along with cherry tomatoes to create a light and juicy sauce. The fun begins with our calamari substitute: king oyster mushrooms. Add some flavours of the sea, such as dried seaweed and lemon, and it will turn into a seafood lovers delight - but vegan!
MUSHROOM CALAMARI PASTA
Here’s a dish to really flex our creativity in the vegan kitchen. King oyster mushrooms create a surprising calamari-like texture. You can find vegan fish sauce in Asian grocers or vegan food stores. Bu if you can’t access vegan fish sauce, no worries. Just stick to lemon juice and a dried sea vegetable (such as nori). Feel free to substitute calamarata for rigatoni or other dried pasta.
SERVES 2 MAINS | 1 HOUR
⅓ cup vegan fish sauce (see above, if unavailable)
2 teaspoons crushed dried sea vegetables, such as nori, dulse, kelp or wakame
juice of ½ lemon
350g (8 large) king oyster mushrooms
3 tablespoons olive oil + extra to garnish
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 fresh chilli, finely diced
¼ cup white wine
400g cherry or mini tomatoes, halved
handful of parsley, chopped
250g dried calamarata or rigatoni pasta
dash of salt
First prepare the marinade. In a bowl combine the fish sauce, sea vegetables, lemon juice and ¼ cup of water.
Slice the mushrooms into rounds. Take a small apple corer or a round object and cut holes into the mushroom rounds to create calamari rings. I like using a piping tip or cannolo tube. Toss the mushrooms in the marinade and marinate for 20-30 minutes. Drain mushrooms but reserve the marinade.
Heat the oil in a frypan and add the garlic and chilli, frying for 1 minute on low, being careful not to burn the garlic. Add the marinated mushrooms and sauté for 1 minute, pouring in a dash of the reserved marinade to prevent the pan from drying out and the garlic burning.
Pour in the wine, turn up the heat and simmer for 5 minutes or until the wine has mostly evaporated. Stir through the tomatoes and parsley. Lower the heat and simmer for 10 minutes.
While the sauce is cooking prepare the pasta. In a large pot of salted boiling water, cook the pasta for 12 minutes or until al dente. Drain and reserve ½ cup of the pasta cooking water.
Transfer the pasta into the mushrooms, stirring through the pasta water to loosen and moisten the sauce. Add a few dashes of the marinade to taste. Check seasonings - you might need a dash of salt - but it will depend on how salty your vegan fish sauce is.
To serve, drizzle over olive oil and garnish with parsley.