Is there any meal as romantic as a bistro style pasta with hearty mushrooms and a white wine sauce? I can still fondly recall an incredible pasta with wine sauce that I had at a bistro when I was 12, so that’s saying a lot for the sensory memory of taste. This style of pasta often has butter, cheese, and cream, and even pine nuts or other nuts. My recipe, of course, has none of those ingredients. To make this dish truly dairy free, it has to be made not only without butter, cream, or cheese, but with a vegan wine too.
I used to drink any wine, assuming they were all fine for me. I had heard that wines could contain fish or egg, but I didn’t know that casein, skim milk, or whey powder were often used during processing too. As wine legally does not have to be labelled (in Canada) with ingredients or allergens, I found out the hard way. I had always been a rosy-cheeked wine drinker (I assumed it was the alcohol) but one evening I took a sip of a new (for me) brand of red and started to feel really weird; off balance. I went to the washroom and saw that my face was puffy and hivey, and very pale with a red tinge. It didn’t appear to be an anaphylactic reaction so I took antihistamines and was fine, though I was on the fence as it seemed borderline. I did have my Epi Pen ready to go, just in case.
This wasn’t the first time my face puffed up from wine but it was the most severe. It led me to do some research, where I learned that dairy use in wine production is becoming more common. Perhaps I had been lucky for so many years because it wasn’t as common previously. Now I generally avoid wine unless I know that the brand is safe for me, and mainly I just use it for cooking or to drink at home. If allergen labelling on wine ever becomes law, I would be a very happy camper, and would gladly start drinking it again. There are many online lists of the best or most popular vegan wines, so they are becoming easier to find. Some brands do not consider there to be dairy in the final product because it is filtered out after use in processing, so ensure that you are buying a brand that does not use dairy at any stage if you have a dairy allergy. If you are unsure, just call the winery and ask. When I find a good brand I tend to buy it by the case to keep in my pantry.
Free from: peanuts, nuts, dairy, soy, egg, fish, shellfish
Options: Gluten-free pasta can be used instead of a durum wheat semolina pasta
1 clove of garlic, finely chopped
2 shallots, thinly sliced
500g assorted chopped mushrooms
2 servings of your preferred allergy-safe or gluten free pasta
2 tbsp olive oil
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/3 cup vegan white wine
2 tbsp chopped parsley
1 tbsp chopped chives
2 tbsp lemon juice
Sautee the shallots and garlic in the olive oil on medium heat until softened, then add the mushrooms all at once. Season with salt and pepper. Saute for about 20 - 25 minutes on medium heat, stirring often, until golden brown. Add the chives, parsley, lemon juice, and white wine and stir well, then let simmer on medium-low heat for about 10 - 12 minutes until reduced. Add the cooked pasta along with 1/4 cup of pasta water, then simmer for another 3 - 5 minutes. Toss well and serve hot. Season with salt and pepper to taste.