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Dairy free pasta carbonara?

I know, I know... part of the deliciousness of this dish is the butter and parmesan cheese! But can I substitute anything for the butter and cheese?

I LOVE this dish, but for the time being, I can't have anything made from cow's milk. What if I substituted some kind of oil for the butter an omitted the cheese? Blasphemy? I am really craving this dish....

I usually make this recipe and it's DIVINE:

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    1. You really do not have a problem here.
      Carbonara does not need to have Parm or Butter( many argue that it should not).
      It starts with Pork Fat (from the pork that is in the dish)
      and is finished with Pecorino Romano which is Sheep's Milk Cheese not Cow.

      9 Replies
      1. re: chefj

        I use Hazan's carbonara - NO butter, Romano - sheep, Parmagiano Reggiano - cow Double up on theRomano and you're home free. Butter in carbonara - not even if you could.

        1. re: c oliver

          As you well know people are all over the place on this dish.
          I am not sure what you are trying to say?

          1. re: chefj

            Agreeing with you! Definitely no consensus on this basic dish. But I've never heard of butter. Maybe a form of "cream" :)

            1. re: c oliver

              I think even the Wiki page mentions that some use Butter.
              Though not in my realm of Carbonara.

              1. re: c oliver

                I disagree. The lack of consensus comes from Americans deciding what they want to put in any traditional dish, rather than following the recipe.

                AFAIK, the only dairy in Pasta Carbonara is Pecorino Cheese, and that's made from sheeps milk.

                1. re: ChefJune

                  And I agree with you too!!! The lack of consensus I've seen is here on CH. I stick with M. Hazan's. No muss, no fuss.

          2. re: chefj

            Beautiful! Guess we're having carbonara for dinner tomorrow night.

            1. re: Croissant

              For me it is:
              Pecorino Romano
              Black Pepper

              1. re: chefj

                My version deeply browns whole garlic cloves in some oo, then cook the Pancetta in that. At the end, chopped parsley.


          3. I don't use butter or Parmesan cheese in Carbonara. Just bacon, the bacon drippings, eggs, black pepper, and pasta.

            1. Like others have pointed out, there's generally no butter or parm in carbonara.

              There are good non-cow subs for many cheeses. I cook for someone who is very allergic to cow. Manchego, pecorino are the two most common.

              There is also goat butter and goat and sheep yogurt.

              1. Perhaps just don't make it for the time being.

                1. You have two choices, the true, traditional carbonara, made with eggs, guanciale, and pecorino romano (sheep's milk), or make pasta alla gricia, with just guanciale and pecorino romano. In any case, you don't have a problem, since butter has no place in carbonara and parmigiano (cow) is a modern variation (on these dishes -- the cheese itself, of course, is centuries old). These are dishes from the sheep country of eastern Lazio/Abruzzo, and sheep's milk cheeses are the most authentic with them.

                  1. May I ask why you are dairy-free (or at least cow's milk) for the time being? I am because I am nursing my 2nd milk allergic baby, and can't have any animal milk proteins. Also, alternate animal dairy can still interact with medications/labs/etc. Just be careful if it's for an allergy of some sort! Hopefully, it won't be an issue for you though :)

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: LP808

                      Funny you should ask because that is the reason :). I'm nursing and my LO has a food protein intolerance to the protein in cows milk... So slightly Different than an allergy, but still a bummer that I can't eat my favorite cheeses, yogurt, or have good ol cream in my coffee!