Creamy Mushroom Pasta
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.
Servings 4 - 6 servings
- 12 oz. spaghetti or favorite pasta
- 1 pound cremini/baby bella mushrooms or shiitake Portobello or oyster sliced 1/8-inch thick - divided
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter divided
- 2 tablespoons olive oil divided
- 1/2 tsp EACH salt, pepper divided
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 2 medium shallots finely chopped
- 4-6 cloves garlic minced
- 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes more or less to taste
- 2 cups low sodium chicken broth
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
- 1 1/2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
- 1/2 tsp EACH dried thyme, dried rosemary, dried basil, paprika
- 3/4 cup mascarpone cheese at room temperature
- 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese plus extra for serving
- 1/4 cup fresh parsley chopped
PASTA: Cook the pasta according to package directions in generously salted water. Reserve 1 cup pasta water. Drain then toss with a little olive oil to prevent it from sticking.
MUSHROOMS: Meanwhile, cook the mushrooms in two batches. Melt 2 tablespoons butter with 1 tablespoon olive oil over medium heat in a large heavy bottom skillet. Increase temperature to medium-high and add half of the mushrooms.
Spread mushrooms into an even layer and let cook for cook for 3 minutes without touching, then continue to cook and stir an additional 3-5 minutes, until all the liquid is evaporated and mushrooms are golden.
Add 1/4 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon pepper and cook 30 seconds; remove to plate. Repeat with remaining mushrooms.
SAUCE: Melt 2 tablespoons butter in the pan over medium heat. Add the shallots and sauté for 2 minutes or until softened. Add garlic and red pepper and sauté 30 seconds.
Turn heat to low and add a splash of chicken broth (to stop garlic from cooking). Whisk the remaining chicken broth with cornstarch then add to the pan followed by Dijon and all remaining seasonings. Bring the sauce to a simmer; simmer until thickened, stirring occasionally.
Tun heat to low and whisk in mascarpone until completely melted followed by Parmesan until melted. Add mushrooms and stir to combine.
ASSEMBLE: Add pasta to sauce and stir until evenly coated, adding additional pasta water if needed to reach desired consistency. Stir in the parsley. Garnish with additional Parmesan and freshly cracked salt and pepper if desired. Serve immediately.
TIPS AND TRICKS
This Mushroom Pasta recipe is pretty straightforward, but here are a few tips and tricks for fool proof pasta every time:
- Mascarpone: 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. Mascarpone can be found at any grocery in the deli/specialty cheeses section in a round tub.
- Parmesan cheese: use ONLY freshly grated Parmesan cheese. It is much more flavorful and melts into silky oblivion unlike powdered or pre-shredded cheese.
- Shallots: one shallot is considered the entire bulb, regardless of how many cloves the bulb contains.
- 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.
- Don’t crowd mushrooms in the pan: 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 butter 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.
- Salt and pepper 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.
- 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.
- Add veggies or protein: you can add any protein such as Italian sausage, chicken, etc. or veggies such as zucchini, asparagus, etc. as well as sun-dried tomatoes, artichokes, etc. See post for lots of recipe variations.
How to Store and REHEAT
- Storage: Store pasta in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to three days.
- 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.