Mushroom Pasta with Parmesan – A Couple Cooks


You won’t want to stop eating this mushroom pasta recipe! Its savory, buttery flavor pops with garlic, lemon, and Parmesan.

Mushroom pasta

Calling all mushroom lovers! Here’s the meal for you: this Mushroom Pasta with Garlic Butter Sauce! It’s creamy and savory, harnessing the power of lemon, butter and Parmesan cheese. It makes the most of the intense umami of mushrooms: one of the most powerful ingredients in all of cooking. This dish has just the right proportion of ‘shrooms to pasta, so that each bite has a generous pop of flavor. We couldn’t stop shoveling in bites. In fact, our 4 year old told us he wanted to eat it forever (the best compliment).

3 elements to this mushroom pasta recipe

This mushroom pasta combines three elements to get the very best, mushroom-studded pasta recipe you can find! Here are the essentials:

  • Short cut pasta: Long noodles look lovely, they can clump together and make it hard to get bites mushrooms. Short cut is your best bet here. We used casarecce pasta, which has a lovely twisted shape. Other options: penne, rigatoni, bowties, orecchiette, and gigli.
  • Sauteed mushrooms: This riff on our sauteed mushrooms brings peak flavor! Baby bella or cremini mushrooms have great flavor, but you can use other types too (see below). We also threw in a few breadcrumbs to add texture.
  • Garlic butter sauce: All you need is olive oil, butter and garlic to make a killer sauce. Add grated Parmesan cheese at the end and bam! You’ve got an incredible simple pasta sauce that pairs perfectly with these ‘shrooms.
Mushroom pasta

Best types of mushrooms for pasta

What are the best mushrooms for pasta? Some of our favorites are the standards, but there are lots of more unique varieties to try as well. A mix of mushrooms makes for an even more interesting pasta! Here are our top types of mushrooms to pair with pasta:

  • Baby bella (cremini): Baby bella, aka cremini mushrooms, are a younger version of the portobello; they have a savory, meaty flavor and a lovely shape. They’re one of our top choices for mushroom recipes.
  • Portobello: You can go super-meaty with slices of portobello mushrooms.
  • White button mushrooms: Button mushrooms are younger versions of the baby bella; they have less robust flavor, but work if it’s all you can find.
  • Shiitake: Shiitakes are great for mixing in for texture and have a super meaty flavor. Make sure to remove the tough stems before you use them.
  • Oyster: Oyster mushrooms also add great texture in a mix of mushrooms.
  • Maitake: Maitake or Hen of the woods mushrooms have a peppery flavor and feathery texture that works well in a mix.

How to cook pasta to al dente

The key to this mushroom pasta recipe? Cook the pasta to al dente. Al dente means “to the bite” in Italian: it’s pasta that’s cooked until it’s perfectly tender but with a firm center. Over-cook your pasta and it’s not only rubbery: it actually has less nutrients and makes you less full. Here are a few tips on how to cook pasta perfectly:

  • Check before the package instructions indicate. Most pasta packages have timing that results in overcooked pasta. Start tasting the pasta a few minutes before the package indicates.
  • Taste often! You want to catch it right when there’s a small white fleck at the core, or just when it disappears.
  • Move quickly! Pasta can go from al dente to overcooked in a matter of seconds.
Mushroom pasta

Variation: Creamy mushroom pasta

Love creamy mushroom pasta instead? You can easily make this pasta creamy using our favorite trick: goat cheese! Crumble in up to 4 ounces soft goat cheese (chervre) at the end of the recipe. It combines with the butter sauce and forms a creamy sauce that perfectly coats the pasta. You could also make our Creamy White Sauce instead of the garlic butter sauce.

A note on portion size

This mushroom pasta recipe is for half pound of pasta. Depending on you and your family, this makes about 4 modest sized servings. But if you’ve got big eaters, you may want to increase the amount of pasta. Or, you may want to just make sure you have a few filling side dishes to go with it.

We served this with a few side dishes and it served 2 adults and 1 child. But if you’re serving it as your only vegetarian protein or for teenagers, you might want to make double the recipe and go for 1 pound.

Mushroom pasta

Make it a meal: sides for mushroom pasta

How to make this mushroom pasta recipe into a filling meal? You’ll want to find side dishes that are veggie-filled to infuse fiber and vitamins, and protein-packed sides to make the meal more filling. Here are a few ideas:

  • Easy salad like Arugula Salad, Pomegranate Salad, Celery Salad with Apples, Simple Carrot Salad, or Spinach Apple Salad
  • Veggies like Pan Fried Broccoli, Lemony Broiled Asparagus, Sauteed Green Beans, Brussels Sprouts with Maple Glaze, or Ultimate Sauteed Vegetables, or Sauteed Peppers
  • Beans like Borlotti Beans, Easy White Beans, or Easy Cannellini Beans

This mushroom pasta recipe is…

Vegetarian. For gluten-free, use gluten free pasta.

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Description

This mushroom pasta recipe is all about savory, buttery, creamy flavor! Mushrooms pair perfectly with garlic, lemon, and Parmesan. 


  • 8 ounces* short pasta, like penne, rigatoni, or casarecce, plus saved pasta water
  • 16 ounces baby bella (cremini) mushrooms (or a mix of other types)
  • 1/2 small sweet onion or yellow onion
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
  • 3 tablespoons salted butter, divided
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons Italian breadcrumbs or panko (optional)
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes (or sliced fresno pepper)
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • Creamy variation: 3 to 4 ounces soft crumbled goat cheese

  1. Cook the pasta (and save the pasta water!): Bring a large pot of heavily salted water to a boil. Add the pasta and cook until al dente. Set the timer for a few minutes less than the package instructions and then taste: the pasta should be just done, still with some firmness. The pasta should also taste salty from the salted water. Drain the pasta and save out 1/2 cup pasta water (you’ll likely only need a few tablespoons).
  2. Meanwhile, start the mushrooms: Clean the mushrooms, then slice them. Thinly slice the onion. In a skillet, heat 2 tablespoons olive oil over medium high heat. Add the onion and sauté for 2 minutes. Then mushrooms and cook for 2 minutes, stirring often. Add 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt and cook another 3 to 4 minutes, stirring occasionally, until most of the liquid is cooked out and the mushrooms are tender (taste to assess doneness). Add 1 tablespoon butter and lemon juice and increase heat to high. Cook 2 minutes until the edges of mushrooms are golden brown. Taste and add a few more pinches of salt until the flavor pops. Stir in the Italian breadcrumbs or panko and remove the mushrooms to a bowl. 
  3. Make the garlic butter sauce: Mince the garlic. In the same skillet, heat 2 tablespoons olive oil and 2 tablespoons butter over medium low heat. Add the garlic and red pepper and cook 2 to 3 minutes until fragrant and garlic just starts to turn golden. Remove from the heat before garlic browns.
  4. Serve: Toss with the pasta, grated Parmesan cheese, the remaining 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt, and just enough pasta water until saucy (we used 2 to 3 tablespoons pasta water). Taste again and add a few more pinches of salt if desired. If using, stir in the soft crumbled goat cheese at the end until it makes a creamy sauce. Enjoy warm. 

Notes

*Double this amount for a larger, more filling plate of pasta. Or, complete your meal with a filling vegetable side dish or salad.

  • Category: Main dish or side dish
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: Pasta

Keywords: Mushroom pasta, mushroom pasta recipe



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