A quick and easy vegetarian pasta recipe — pappardelle with portobello mushrooms and rosemary.
A meaty portobello mushroom sauce combined with ribbons of pasta noodles make this a very satisfying plate, and you can make it on the fly.
The sauce is much like a traditional ragu or Italian meat sauce, except it’s meatless.
It’s perfect with dishes like soft, cheesy polenta as well as over pasta – of course!
Portobellos with pasta
Portobello mushrooms have abundant earthy, woodsy flavors that match up perfectly with piney, aromatic fresh rosemary.
Thick ragus and tomato sauces like this one are best mates with pappardelle — the flat, wide strands coil and curl easily around a fork, catching all the juices and chunky bits of sauce.
What are portobello (or portabella) mushrooms?
Portobello mushrooms (or portabellas) are actually overgrown, giant cremini mushrooms.
Portobellos became all the rage in the 1990s, when mushroom growers realized the potential in allowing white button mushrooms to mature a few extra days.
First they’re marketed as “baby” portobellos called “cremini” before growing into the oversized beauties we call portobellos.
Tips for preparing portobello mushrooms:
- Choose firm mushrooms with unbroken caps.
- Wipe the mushrooms gently with a towel if they seem dirty — don’t soak them in water or they’ll become soggy.
- The underside of the mushrooms, or the gills, should be tight, dry and light brown in color.
- If the gills are moist and/or turning black, scoop them out with a spoon and discard before slicing and cooking over medium-high heat.
Is pappardelle the same as egg noodles?
Pappardelle is a pasta cut into wide, long noodles.
You can find it as fresh egg pasta, and it’s also available as a dried egg pasta and durum wheat pasta without eggs.
The nice, chunky size of the pasta makes it ideal to pair with rich, hearty sauces like this mushroom ragu, or with creamier sauces like the sauce in Pappardelle al Limone.
Pappardelle Pasta with Rosemary Portobello Mushroom Sauce
- 3 tablespoons (45 ml) extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 shallots, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced
- Kosher salt
- 3 (350 g) portobello mushroom caps (10 -12 ounces), sliced into 1-inch pieces
- 8 ounces (225 g) pappardelle pasta, fresh or dried
- 1 garlic clove, finely sliced
- 2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh rosemary leaves
- 1/2 teaspoon red chili flakes
- 2 tablespoons (30 g) tomato paste
- 1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
- 2 tablespoons (30 g) unsalted butter
- 1 chunk (50 g) Parmigiano Reggiano or Parmesan cheese
- Put the oil, shallots and a pinch of salt in a large skillet and place over medium heat. Cook, stirring frequently, until the shallots are softened, but not browned.
- Add the mushrooms to the pan. Cook the mushrooms for a few minutes until they take on some color, then stir and add 1/2 teaspoon salt. Continue cooking until the mushrooms become tender and their liquid evaporates.
- Meanwhile, bring a large pot of water to a boil and add 2 tablespoons kosher salt. Cook the pasta until al dente. Scoop out and reserve 1/2 cup of the pasta water, then drain the pasta.
- Add the garlic, rosemary, chili, tomato paste, vinegar and butter to the mushrooms. Add 1/3 cup of the pasta water and stir over medium heat until the mixture becomes saucy. Add the pasta to the pan and toss gently with tongs to coat with the sauce, adding more water if it seems too dry. Taste for seasoning.
- Shave curls of Parmigiano cheese over the pasta with a vegetable peeler and serve.