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Creamy Mushroom Pasta
This mushroom pasta is quick to make and very delicious. With easy pantry ingredients you can make this creamy sauce recipe in less than half an hour making for a perfect vegetarian Valentines meal
I must admit, when I first had this pasta I realized my love for mushrooms even more. The first recipe was very saucy and as much as I love sauce I also didn’t want soup. So todays recipe is a perfect balance between a creamy sauce, chunky mushrooms and al dente pasta that is tied together with lemon and fresh parsley. When I say this recipe can be done in under half an hour, I promise you, it can be! It is a beginner recipe as we don’t use any fancy equipment, there aren’t major cooking skills needed and we don’t need a huge list of ingredients to whip this up. The recipe is straightforward and a great vegetarian option for those who avoid meat but also for those who love meat as you don’t miss it while eating. The mushrooms add a meaty element into the pasta as we leave them chunky.
What ingredients do you need to make the Creamy Mushroom Pasta?
I have used spaghetti to make this recipe today. In regards to mushrooms, I’ve used a combination of portobello mushrooms, button mushrooms and chestnut brown mushrooms. I like mixing them up as it adds a variety of textures and flavors into the recipe. We need white/golden onions, garlic, thyme, lemon juice and zest, fresh parsley, cream and parmesan cheese to make the sauce. To make the crumble I use bacon, walnuts, oregano and breadcrumbs. I like to garnish the pasta with more parmesan cheese, the crumble, fresh parsley and a little lemon zest. I also used some winter black truffle on the top, cause I wanted to be a little extra.
What substitutes can you use to make the Creamy Mushroom Pasta?
I love using spaghetti here, you can use spaghettini, tagliatelle, fettuccine or any pasta you have. I prefer using long pasta in this recipe but penne, fusilli or even pasta shells work fine in this recipe.
The beauty about this recipe is, you can substitute any mushrooms you have or like to use. I have used portobello, button, chestnut brown mushrooms. You can use enoki, oyster, shitaki or porcini mushrooms as well. If you are using dried mushrooms, make sure to hydrate them in warm water before chopping and using. Don’t throw the liquid away, use it in the sauce. Which will add a depth of flavor to the dish. I like keeping the mushrooms chunky in the recipe hence less chopping.
Olive oil & Butter-
I like using a little bit of both as they serve different purposes in the sauce. The olive oil helps with the caramelization of the onions and mushrooms with the garlic while the butter adds for a creamy texture and nutty flavor. You could use any oil you have, and if you would like to make it vegan, use a vegan butter spread.
The flavor of thyme and mushrooms are absolutely delicious which is why I love using fresh thyme here but you could use dried thyme as well. Even a little oregano works in this recipe.
For this recipe white or golden onions add a subtle hint of sweetness without the sharp pungent hit. If you can’t find them you can use regular red onions however you will need to cook them down a little longer to get rid of the sharpness.
Fresh garlic all the way. No powder or substitutes here. You don’t need a lot as the sauce isn’t heavy but refreshing and light.
There is quite a lot of parsley here. I like adding it into the sauce more as an ingredient than a flavoring herb. I use the stalks as well when making the sauce. Half the amount of parsley goes into the mushroom mixture while the other half is left aside for the garnish on top. If you don’t have fresh flat leaf parsley you could use curly parsley or a 2 tsp fresh tarragon as well. There is no other substitute, hence you would rather leave it out.
I use the juice and the zest of half a lemon in this recipe. The juice goes into the sauce, this cuts through the creaminess which balances it out. While the zest goes on top of the pasta once plated as a garnish. You can use lime juice but it must be fresh.
It is a creamy mushroom pasta hence you need the cream. Cooking cream or whipping cream is fine here. The recipe also works with half and half. If you want to keep this vegan, you can use coconut milk or any nut milk that is barista style (meaning it can handle top temperatures without splitting).
I love the flavor it adds to the dish but more so because it is subtle and not in your face. Which allows the mushrooms to shine through. You can use any cheese you have or like but I would prefer a subtle flavored cheese. You could use a vegan cheese here to keep the recipe vegan.
To keep this recipe vegetarian you can leave out the bacon and use 2 tbsp olive oil instead. If you are using bacon, make sure to chop it up before frying and cook it on low heat to render that fat. I have used walnuts but chopped almonds, hazelnuts or pine nuts also work well. The recipe calls for dried herbs and I love using oregano but any herb works well here. You need breadcrumbs, I sully grind the stale bread in my house into breadcrumbs but you can buy it as well, it cannot be replaced.
I garnish the pasta with lemon zest, more parmesan cheese a little freshly chopped parsley (that we saved) and the crumble. I also used a little grating of black winter truffle but you could use any truffle you can fine or a little truffle oil as well. It is not mandatory but if you can find it, the addition definitely takes the flavor of the pasta up a notch. It is an option so you could just as well leave it out.
What equipment do you need to make the Creamy Mushroom Pasta?
We need a large stock pot to cook the pasta. A saute pan to make the sauce and the crumble. I use the same pan to make both as I don’t wan to loose any of the flavors. We need a strainer to drain out the excess cooking pasta liquid. A grater for the lemon zest and the parmesan cheese. A chopping board and knife to get the ingredients prepped.
How to make the Creamy Mushroom Pasta?
We start by making the crumble. If you are using the bacon then add the chopped bacon into the pan however if you are using olive oil add that into the pan at this stage. Once the bacon has rendered its fat or once the olive oil is warm add the walnuts into the pan and toast in the hot fat. Stir around, add the dried herbs and stir again. Add the breadcrumbs and let this get toasted into a gold brown color. Take off the heat and transfer to a plate to cool down.
To make the pasta we start by adding our spaghetti into the salted boiling water. Cook the pasta as per the instructions on the packaging. Once the pasta is ready, save some of the cooking liquid for later and drain out the excess liquid. Set aside. Let us get started on the sauce, in the crumble sauté pan on medium heat we add the chopped mushrooms and let that cook until it is a little colored, around 4 mins. Add the chopped garlic and we go in with the olive oil and butter. Let this cook and bubble up for a couple of mins before adding the sliced onions. Stir everything around. Add the thyme, parsley and season well. Once it is all colored and cooked through, add reduce the heat add the cream with half the parmesan cheese. Turn off the heat and stir around. Pour the mushroom mixture over the pasta, add the lemon juice, remaining parmesan cheese and toss until combined. Add the reserved cooking liquid at this stage if needed or serve as it is.
I like serving the pasta with more cheese on top, a little lemon zest, chopped parsley and the crumble. Personalize it as per your likes based not the substitutes mentioned above.
Storing the Creamy Mushroom Pasta?
Once the pasta is cooked I wouldn’t recommend keeping it for long as it is best consumed immediately. You can store the mushrooms sauce on its own in an air tight container in the fridge for up to 1 week. When you are ready to serve, you can reheat it with a little water or cream before tossing with your pasta.
Now that we have covered how to make this Creamy Mushroom Pasta, let us get cooking. This recipe is honestly so simple and quick that you can make it anytime during the week to keep it simple and delicious. Happy Valentines Day Ninjas!
Creamy Mushroom Pasta
- Large stock pot
- Medium sauté pan
- Chopping board
- 3 tbsp Olive oil
- 2 tbsp Butter
- 2 sprigs Thyme
- 450 gm Mushrooms (chunks)
- 1 medium Onion (sliced)
- 3 cloves Garlic (chopped)
- 8 tbsp Fresh Parsley divided
- 1 tsp Lemon zest
- 1/2 Lemon juice
- 50 gm Parmesan cheese (divided)
- 30 ml Cream
- 300 gm Pasta (Spaghetti)
- 50 gm Bacon / 2 tbsp Olive oil
- 100 gm Breadcrumbs
- 30 gm Walnuts
- 1 tsp dried Herbs
To make the Crumble
- If you are using the bacon then add the chopped bacon into a sauté pan on medium heat however if you are using olive oil add that into the pan at this stage. Once the bacon has rendered its fat or once the olive oil is warm add the walnuts into the pan and toast in the hot fat. Stir around, add the dried herbs and stir again. Add the breadcrumbs and let this get toasted into a gold brown color. Take off the heat and transfer to a plate to cool down.
To make the Pasta
- In a large stock pot we boil around 8-9 cups of water. This amount will depend on the size of your pot. Ensure the water is double the amount of the pasta, hence 300gm pasta means we must have nothing less than 600ml water, I would use around 900ml just cause I like to save some of the liquid for later.
- Once the water is boiling add 1 tablespoon of salt to the water and add the pasta. Cook the pasta as per the instructions on the packaging. Once the pasta is ready, save some of the cooking liquid for later and drain out the excess liquid. Set aside.
To make the Mushroom sauce
- In a sauté pan on medium heat we add the chopped mushrooms and let that cook until it is a little colored, around 4 mins. Add the chopped garlic and we go in with the olive oil and butter. Let this cook and bubble up for a couple of mins before adding the sliced onions. Stir everything around. Add the thyme, parsley and season well.
- Once it is all colored and cooked through, reduce the heat add the cream with half the parmesan cheese. Turn off the heat add and stir around. Check the seasoning by tasting at this stage.
- Pour the mushroom mixture over the pasta, add the lemon juice, remaining parmesan cheese and toss until combined. Add the reserved cooking liquid at this stage if needed or serve as it is.
- Garnish the pasta with more cheese on top, a little lemon zest, chopped parsley and the crumble. Personalize it as per your likes based not the substitutes mentioned above.
- Do not over cook the pasta as it will break up later while tossing with the sauce.
- We start cooking the mushrooms in a dry pan with no fat to release its own juices and caramelize on its own.
- To keep the dish vegetarian, swap the bacon in the crumble for olive oil.
- If you want more sauce add more cream or more of the cooking pasta liquid that you saved. Always add less liquid as you cannot take it out once you’ve added it into the pasta.
- The garnish is optional and it can be customized to your liking.