Mushroom Pasta tossed in the most delicious, creamy garlic sauce on your table in 30 minutes!
Mushroom lovers rejoice! This Mushroom Pasta is loaded with garlic, buttery, caramelized mushrooms enveloped in a luxurious, Parmesan mascarpone sauce. It’s mega comforting, intoxicatingly creamy, exploding with flavor and guaranteed to become a new repeat favorite! This creamy Mushroom Pasta recipe is quick and easy enough for everyday but tastes gourmet enough for company or special occasions. This Mushroom Pasta is also is extremely versatile – use whatever mushrooms you like, add protein, add veggies, etc. I’ve also detailed my no-fail method of cooking the best mushrooms ever! This Mushroom Pasta also reheat beautifully for make ahead dinner or meal prep or lunches throughout the week.
MUSHROOM PASTA RECIPE
I love pasta recipes because they are so quick and easy – especially skillet pastas like Rigatoni in Tomato Cream Sauce, Linguine in Sun-Dried Tomato Sauce, Chicken Spaghetti, Tortellini Toscana, Buffalo Mac and Cheese, Lemon Garlic Shrimp Fettuccine, Weeknight Spaghetti Bolognese, Taco Spaghetti and now you can add this Mushroom Pasta recipe to the list!
This Mushroom Pasta recipe will make even non-mushroom lovers a believer! We love it for every occasion – from busy weeknight dinners, to serving company, to a serving as a side to our favorite proteins; honestly, we’ll take/or make up any excuse to indulge in this favorite way to devour mushrooms. This Mushroom Pasta is savory, garlicky, creamy but what set’s this Mushroom Pasta above the rest are 1) the caramelized mushrooms and 2) the glorious mushroom pasta sauce.
First, let’s talk mushroom. It’s a sad day when your Mushroom Pasta translates to bland, squishy, lackluster mushrooms – but not this Mushroom Pasta recipe! This recipe is bursting with the tastiest mushrooms you ever sunk your teeth into. They’re sautéed in butter until caramelized and almost crispy, and only then are they seasoned with salt and pepper for an explosion of flavor. They are also reserved and added to the pasta at the end of cocking so they retain all their tasty flavor and texture.
THE MUSHROOM PASTA SAUCE
The Mushroom Pasta Sauce is made with my secret ingredient – mascarpone cheese which makes it SO easy and SO luxuriously creamy as it cradles every nook and cranny of pasta. Mascarpone melts like a dream because it’s somewhere in between butter and cream in texture. It is mild and slightly sweet so it doesn’t overpower the mushrooms, just enhances the sauce.
QUICK & EASY TO MAKE!
To make the creamy Mushroom Pasta, you’ll start by sautéing shallots and garlic, then simmer chicken broth with a splash of Dijon and kisses of dried thyme, dried rosemary, dried basil and paprika. Finally, mascarpone and Parmesans are stirred into the broth until it’s luxuriously creamy. Stir in you your favorite pasta and you have decadently creamy, rich, hearty, satisfying, Mushroom Pasta bursting with layers of flavor made with minimal effort.
As delicious as this creamy Mushroom Pasta recipe is in its simplicity, it’s also fabulous with added proteins from Italian sausage and chicken to added veggies such as peas, asparagus, zucchini, artichokes, bell peppers etc. – add whatever suits your pantry, fridge or mood for your perfect Mushroom Pasta every time.
WHAT MUSHROOMS ARE BEST?
You can use virtually any flavorful mushrooms for this Mushroom Pasta recipe other than white mushrooms. I chose to use every day, easy-to-find cremini/baby bella mushrooms and elevate them with the cooking technique. Cremini mushrooms are a more mature version of the white button mushroom and therefore heartier, earthier and overall, more flavorful.
Cremini Mushrooms, are younger than the next mature variety, the portobello and that is why they are often called “baby bella” or “baby portobello” mushrooms. Once they reach about 4″ – 6″ in diameter, they are deemed a portobello. The younger cremini mushrooms still boast a deep savory flavor.
You are also welcome to use other flavorful mushrooms such as portobello, shiitake, or oyster mushrooms or more exotic mushrooms such as chanterelle, morel, enoki or king oyster mushrooms. You can even mix and match different varieties of mushrooms.
MUSHROOM PASTA SAUCE INGREDIENTS
The best Mushroom Pasta starts with the best Mushroom Pasta Sauce! This sauce takes just minutes to make. Most of the ingredients are probably stocked in your pantry right now aside from the mascarpone which is easy to pick up at any grocery store. You will need:
- Mascarpone: I use mascarpone cheese to add creamy volume to the Mushroom Pasta because the texture is luscious and creamy, and bonus, – it’s extremely easy! If you aren’t familiar with mascarpone, it’s an Italian cheese that is rich and creamy with a subtle milky, sweet, slightly tangy flavor, that is somewhere in between butter and cream, so it melts beautifully and tastes heavenly. It is also more mild than cream cheese (and melts better), so it doesn’t compete with the other flavors but truly lets the mushroom, garlic and Parmesan shine. Mascarpone can be found at any grocery in the deli/specialty cheeses section in a round tub.
- Parmesan cheese: infuses the sauce with its fantastic salty, nuttiness. For best results and the BEST Mushroom Pasta recipe, use ONLY freshly grated Parmesan cheese. It is much more flavorful and melts into silky oblivion unlike powdered or pre-shredded cheese.
- Shallots: you will need two medium shallots which are more mildly sweeter than onions. One shallot is considered the entire bulb, regardless of how many cloves the bulb contains.
- Garlic: I use 6 cloves garlic and it is divine but feel free to use less if you prefer. You may also use 1 to 1 1/2 teaspoons garlic powder – but the real stuff is so much better!
- Red chili pepper flakes: awakens the flavor of the entire Mushroom Pasta Sauce. Use more or less to taste.
- Dijon mustard: adds a slight tanginess to complement the robust mushrooms.
- Seasonings: This Mushroom Pasta recipe is seasoned to perfection with dried thyme, dried rosemary, dried basil, salt and pepper. You are welcome to use fresh herbs if you prefer. The general rule of thumb is 3 to 1, fresh to dried.
- Chicken broth: is more flavorful than just milk or half and half. Make sure you use low sodium broth so we can control the salt.
- Butter: use unsalted butter so we can control the salt.
- Olive oil: use extra virgin olive oil for superior flavor. A mixture of butter and olive oil when cooking the mushrooms adds extra flavor and the olive oil prevents the butter from burning.
- Cornstarch: helps thicken the sauce to gorgeously thick and creamy.
What Pasta is best for creamy mushroom pasta?
Just about any shape or kind of pasta will work well in this Mushroom Pasta. I particularly love spaghetti, but you can also use:
- Long pasta: spaghetti, fettuccine, pappardelle pair particularly well with creamy sauces because they carry the sauce well and add delightful texture to balance the smooth sauce.
- Short tubular pasta: penne, rigatoni, ziti, cavatappi and campanelle pair well with creamy sauces because their tubular shape catches the creamy sauces.
- Tortellini: I am a huge fan of tortellini. Any type of tortellini would be delicious here from sausage filled to chicken, cheese, or spinach.
CAN I MAKE THIS RECIPE GLUTEN FREE?
To make this Mushroom Pasta recipe gluten free, you will need to use your favorite gluten-free pasta. The Mushroom Pasta sauce is gluten free because it uses cornstarch instead of flour as the thickening agent.
HOW TO COOK the Best MUSHROOMS
Mushroom Pasta, Mushroom Risotto, Beef Stroganoff, Chicken Stroganoff, etc. all depend on beautifully cooked mushrooms. Cooking mushrooms correctly will change how you see – and how enthusiastically you eat – mushrooms. Here are a few simple tricks for gorgeously browned, flavorful mushrooms every time:
- Don’t wash mushrooms. You should never rinse your mushrooms or they will absorb water like a sponge and become waterlogged. Waterlogged mushrooms will not brown as well or become as flavorful, and instead will emerge soggy and squeaky. Instead, clean your mushrooms with a damp paper towel.
- Slice to a uniform size. As with all cooking vegetables, try and slice your mushrooms so they are similar in size so they cook evenly. If you are using a variety of mushrooms, try and slice all of them to a similar size, chopping larger mushrooms down before slicing if needed.
- Don’t crowd mushrooms in the pan. This is key! Mushrooms need enough space so they can sear instead of steam. If you pile raw mushrooms on top of each other, they will become soggy instead of caramelized. By spreading them out in a single layer, the entire surface area of the mushrooms comes in contact with the sizzling buttere in the hot pan so they can caramelize and become crispy around the edges.
- Be patient. It is tempting to not cook your mushrooms to the point all the liquid is absorbed, but keep cooking until they are browned all over for maximum flavor and there isn’t any liquid remaining.
- Don’t cook mushrooms with the sauce. Once the mushrooms are golden, remove them from the pan and don’t continue to cook them with the sauce or the mushrooms lose color, flavor and texture.
- Salt mushrooms at the end. Add salt and pepper when instructed at the end of cooking the mushrooms. If you salt your mushrooms while cooking, it will prevent them from browning in the pan.
HOW TO MAKE MUSHROOM PASTA
Now that we’re all masters at cooking mushrooms, it’s time to make our creamy Mushroom Pasta. You are going to LOVE how easy this pasta is! Here’s how to make it:
- Cook mushrooms. Cook the mushrooms in two batches by spreading mushrooms in an even layer and cooking for 3 minutes without touching, then continuing to cook and stir an additional 3-5 minutes, until all the liquid is evaporated and mushrooms are golden. At the of cooking, season with salt and pepper.
- Sauté aromatics. Melt 2 tablespoons butter in a pan over medium heat. Add the shallots and sauté for 2 minutes or until softened. Add garlic and red pepper and sauté for 30 seconds.
- Make sauce. Add chicken broth mixed with cornstarch and all seasonings. Simmer until thickened, stirring occasionally.
- Make it creamy! Whisk in mascarpone until completely melted followed by Parmesan until melted.
- Assemble. Add mushrooms to the sauce and stir to combine. Add pasta to the sauce and stir until evenly coated, adding additional pasta water if needed to reach desired consistency. Stir in the parsley just before serving.
TIPS FOR MAKING MUSHROOM PASTA RECIPE
This Mushroom Pasta recipe is pretty straightforward, but here are a few tips and tricks for fool proof pasta every time:
- Mushroom variety. Use baby bella/cremini mushrooms or more exotic mushrooms such as maitake, oyster, and/or shiitake for the most intense mushroom flavor.
- Salt to taste. If your Mushroom Pasta tastes like it’s missing something – it is probably salt. Salt enhances all of the other flavors. Add additional salt to taste a little at a time if needed.
- Use room temperature mascarpone. Room temperature mascarpone melts seamlessly into the sauce. If you forget to take it out of the fridge, microwave it for 20 seconds or so.
- Don’t simmer mascarpone. Just like all cheeses, you should not simmer the mushroom pasta sauce once you add the mascarpone or it can curdle.
- Thin sauce if needed. If the sauce becomes too thick once the mascarpone is added, simply stir in a little reserved pasta water until it reaches desired consistency.
- Salt pasta water. You should always salt your pasta water – it is the one chance you have for the flavor to penetrate the pasta and enhance the flavor – you can taste the difference. Use 1 tablespoon salt for 6 quarts of water.
- Reserve water. Even when a recipe doesn’t specify, it is always a good idea to reserve some of the pasta water before draining the pasta. The starchy, flavorful water can be stirred into the sauce to help reach desired consistency.
- Don’t overcook pasta! Nothing ruins pasta faster than mushy pasta! I recommend testing your pasta about 2 or 3 minutes before the box recommends – pasta should be al dente– meaning it should still be a little firm in the center/ have a “bite” to it.
- Stop pasta from cooking. Strain and rinse your pasta with cold water to prevent it from continuing to cook if your pasta isn’t immediately ready to receive it.
- Prevent pasta from clumping. If you’re not using the cooked pasta right away, toss it with a little olive oil to prevent it from sticking together.
MUSHROOM PASTA RECIPE VARIATIONS
This Mushroom Pasta can be a springboard for all sorts of yummy recipes! Here are a few ideas:
- Add protein: hot or mild Italian sausage, ground beef, ground turkey, sliced sausage, rotisserie chicken or bite-size chicken would all be delicious. Roasted shrimp or butter garlic shrimp would be fabulous.
- Add veggies: peas, asparagus, zucchini, bell peppers, carrots, spinach etc. would all be delicious additions. You can even add leftover roasted veggies such as roasted broccoli, cauliflower etc.
- Add roasted tomatoes. Toss cherry tomatoes in olive oil, salt and pepper and roast at 400 degrees F for 10-12 minutes. Toss into the mushroom pasta sauce at the end of cooking with the mushrooms.
- Add sun-dried tomatoes: purchase the sun-dried tomatoes in a jar packed in oil, not water. They are usually located near the olives or pickles at your grocery store. Don’t be tempted to buy the dry shriveled ones that come in a package. Rinse, pat dry, chop and sauté with the shallots.
- Add artichokes: are tender, slightly sweet and nutty. Purchase artichoke hearts in water NOT marinated. The marinated ones often have an acrid taste. Chop and sauté with the shallots.
- Make it spicy: the red pepper flakes in the recipe at a little kick but if you really want to spice things up, add an additional 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes. You can add even more to taste at the end cooking.
- Make it cheesy: add some mozzarella cheese for extra creamy decadence.
- Use different herbs: swap out the herbs for your favorites such as fresh sage or tarragon. You can also swap the fresh parsley for fresh basil.
- Make it gluten-free. use your favorite gluten-free pasta. The Mushroom Pasta sauce is already gluten free.
HOW LONG IS MUSHROOM PASTA RECIPE GOOD FOR?
Mushroom Pasta should be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator. When properly stored, it is good for up to three days.
HOW DO I REHEAT CREAMY MUSHROOM PASTA?
This creamy Mushroom Pasta reheats well so you can enjoy leftovers for days! Just be aware you always want to make sure your pasta is cooked al dente, especially if you are going to be reheating.
- Microwave: Microwave for one minute, stir, then continue to heat at 30 second intervals until warmed through.
- Stove: For larger portions, reheat pasta on the stove. You may need to add a splash of milk to thin the sauce as it will have thickened in the refrigerator.
CAN I FREEZE CREAMY MUSHROOM PASTA RECIPE?
I do not recommend freezing this Mushroom Pasta recipe because the creamy sauce can break and become a funny texture.
CAN I MAKE MUSHROOM PASTA IN ADVANCE?
You can completely make and assemble your creamy Mushroom Pasta ahead of time and gently warm or prepare elements in advance so it can come together super quickly at dinner time. That being said, it already is a super quick meal!
- Prep ingredients: slice mushrooms, chop shallots, garlic, and measure seasonings, etc. for a meal that comes together in minutes.
- Make Sauce: alternatively, you can go one step farther and make the sauce 100% ahead of time and gently warm in a skillet with a splash of chicken broth or milk when you’re ready to use. You can cook and add the mushrooms to the sauce and store but they are even better fresh, having never been reheated.
- Pasta: cook the pasta al dente, drain with cool water and toss with a drizzle of oil to prevent it from sticking together. Store in the refrigerator until ready to use.
- Combine: When ready to make, cook the mushrooms, remove from the skillet, warm the sauce, then combine.
WHAT TO SERVE WITH CREAMY MUSHROOM PASTA?
We love this Mushroom Pasta recipe with a big salad, crusty bread and/or any of the following:
- Bread: Garlic Bread, Dinner Rolls, Garlic Parmesan Butter Breadsticks or Pesto Pull Apart Bread.
- Salad: This Mushroom Pasta pairs beautifully with a fresh, crunchy salad. Some of our favorites include Wedge Salad, Apple Salad, Pear Salad, Green Bean Salad. Strawberry Salad, Strawberry Avocado Broccoli Salad, Cucumber Tomato Salad.
- Vegetables: You can skip the salad, and instead opt for cooked veggies – but we like both! Roasted Parmesan Asparagus, Roasted Butternut Squash, Roasted Carrots, Sautéed Brussels Sprouts, Roasted Brussels Sprouts or Roasted Root Vegetables are all fantastic.
- Fruit: Bright, fresh fruit is a must either in the form of fresh grapes, melon, etc. or in fruit salad form. We love Fruit Salad with Honey Lime Vinaigrette, Winter Fruit Salad and Berry Salad in Honey Mascarpone.
HELPFUL TOOLS TO MAKE THIS MUSHROOM PASTA RECIPE
- Deep Saucepan: this Le Creuset Braiser is one of my favorite pans! It is deep and wide which allows you to combine all of the ingredients in one pan. This less expensive deep Stainless Steel Saucepan is also wonderful for this purpose.
- Pasta Pot and Strainer: I LOVE this pasta pot with a removable strainer and use it every time I make pasta! The set allows you to simply lift out the strainer when the pasta is done cooking. The stainless steel also does not discolor, react with food or alter flavors.
- Garlic press: I use this every single day! It is the ultimate garlic press- it is easy-to-use, easy-to-clean and minces garlic with one squeeze.
- Quality Knives: a chef’s knife will be your most used kitchen tool by far! Quality knives make prep time much quicker and are important for safety as well. If you’re concerned about moola, please remember that your best chef knives, depending on how hard you use them and how well you take care of them, can easily last 25 years or more. I love my Wusthof but there are hundreds of less expensive knives with great reviews such as this one.
- Cutting Board: I use my big solid cutting board daily so it’s worth the investment. This extra-large cutting board allows you to prep all your veggies on one surface and the bamboo is easier on knives than plastic.
- Cheese grater: I use this kitchen tool constantly because FRESHLY grated cheese is always the way to go especially in this Mushroom Pasta! Using freshly grated cheese also saves money, tastes better, and MELTS better.
LOOKING FOR MORE PASTA RECIPES?
- Fettuccine Alfredo
- Cheesy Chicken Bacon Ranch Pasta
- Sun Dried Tomato Pasta
- Skillet Cheesy Meaty Penne
- Skinny Fettuccine Alfredo
- Italian Spaghetti and Meatballs
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