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This quick (under 30-minutes) recipe is all about mushroom sauce for pasta! You get chunky, meaty mushrooms with a delicious light and creamy pasta sauce. It’s one of those perfect date-night or weeknight pasta dinner recipes.
Because I crave mushrooms at least once a week and pasta almost daily, I’m always creating a new mushroom pasta recipes, and this one is SO GOOD!
Mushrooms are an excellent source of nutrients, from B vitamins to zinc to folate. That means indulging in the daily mushroom fix is probably super good for you, right?
This simple creamy mushroom pasta dish is one to add to your rotation — I think it’s absolutely delicious.
Ingredients for mushroom pasta
The beauty of this dish is how a handful of ingredients come together to make an incredibly tasty restaurant-worthy dish.
In addition to extra virgin olive oil and kosher salt, here’s what you need to make the pasta:
- White button mushrooms and/or brown cremini mushrooms: I like to use half and half mixture of both
- Garlic: Depending on the size of your garlic cloves, you’ll need 2 or 3, to make 1 tablespoon finely chopped (or minced) garlic.
- Shallot: You can substitute with yellow or white onion if you don’t have shallots on hand.
- Fresh thyme: Use 1 teaspoon dried thyme instead.
- Dried long pasta: Linguine, spaghetti or fettuccine pasta, cooked until al dente — Learn how to cook pasta correctly
- Lemon: Freshly squeezed lemon juice adds brightness to the rich-tasting sauce.
- Creme fraiche (or sub with heavy cream)
- Crushed red chili
How to make mushroom sauce
- Heat olive oil a large saute pan, preferably non-stick, then add the mushrooms in one layer. The simple “chef trick” here is allowing the mushrooms to cook in the hot pan without stirring for about 5 minutes.
This process browns the mushrooms before they start to release water, which deepens the mushroom flavor and keeps them from getting mushy.
- After they brown, add salt along with shallot and garlic.
Another pro tip: Adding salt to food as it sautés encourages liquid to release, which is what you want at this point to soften the shallots quickly.
- Finish the sauce with some of the pasta water (generously salted so it adds more flavor), lemon juice and cream.
- If you’re not vegetarian, you can use use chicken stock instead of the starchy pasta cooking water for the sauce.
- Toss the cooked pasta directly in the pan to meld with the mushroom sauce.
Best cream to use for mushroom pasta sauce
I love creme fraiche for baking and cooking, especially in this recipe.
It almost tastes like a tangy combo of butter and heavy cream. It will keep for weeks in the coldest part of the fridge, so it’s good to have around 🙂
This is not an overly creamy or gummy sauce, which is kind of a pet peeve of mine in creamy sauces.
Light pan sauces like this one will naturally coat the pasta when you toss them together in the skillet. I tend to avoid using flour as a thickener because it can become pasty and unpleasantly starchy.
More easy mushroom pasta recipes
- Pappardelle Pasta with Portobello Mushroom Ragu
- Mushroom Bolognese Pasta
- Asparagus and Wild Mushroom Pasta
- Mushroom Gnocchi with Blue Cheese Sauce
Creamy Mushroom Pasta Sauce
- 1½ pounds white button or cremini mushrooms, or a mixture of both
- Kosher salt
- ½ pound linguine, spaghetti or fettuccine pasta
- 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- ¼ cup finely chopped shallot
- 1 tablespoon minced garlic
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme, or 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- ¼ teaspoon crushed red chili flakes
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- ⅓ cup creme fraiche or heavy cream
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
- ¼ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
- Prepare the mushrooms: Trim the stems off the mushrooms. Tear the caps into generous bite-sized pieces – you want a nice chunky texture.
- Bring a large (5-6 quarts) water to a boil along with 4 tablespoons kosher salt (use half the amount of regular table salt). Cook the pasta according to package directions, until al dente. Before draining the pasta, scoop out 1 cup of the cooking water and reserve.
- While the pasta cooks, heat the oil in a large (12-inch) skillet (preferably nonstick) over medium-high heat. Add the mushrooms to the pan and spread them out in one layer. Cook 5 minutes without stirring. Give the pan a shake and stir the mushrooms around. Cook another 5 minutes.
- At this point, the mushrooms should be taking on some color and releasing some liquid. Add 1 teaspoon salt, shallots, garlic, thyme and chili and stir well. Cook until the shallots are softened, about 2 minutes.
- Add the lemon juice, creme fraiche and parsley to the mushrooms. Simmer until the sauce thickens. Add 1/3 cup of the reserved water and stir, scraping the pan to release any browned bits.
- Put the cooked pasta in the pan and use tongs to toss in the sauce. Add a bit more pasta water if the sauce seems dry. Remove from the heat, sprinkle with the Parmesan and serve.
Karen’s Notes and Tips
- Crumble cooked, crisp smoky bacon over the finished dish if you want to add meaty heft.
- Add a few handfuls of tender spinach greens to the pan in the last step until they wilt into the sauce.