This mushroom pasta recipe is all about the creamy sauce and just letting the ’shrooms do their big savory umami thing. For the most robust flavor, use a variety of mushrooms like feathery maitakes, meaty oyster mushrooms, and woodsy shiitakes. Crimini mushrooms (a.k.a. baby bellas) or even larger portobello mushrooms can stand in too, though they can be a bit one-note. Their less-mature siblings, white button mushrooms, simply won’t deliver the intensity of flavor you’re looking for here.
Searing the mushrooms over medium-high heat intensifies their flavor, so don’t rush this step. Make sure the pieces have space to breathe in the pan, allowing the steam to cook off and those crispy brown bits to develop; waiting to salt them until you remove them from the pan also helps.
Be sure to pull the pasta from the (very well-salted) boiling water when it’s still slightly undercooked—it’ll finish cooking in the creamy mushroom sauce. And remember to set aside some of the pasta cooking water, which is the key to bringing that sauce together.
Garnish the dish with red pepper flakes and extra Parmesan cheese if you like, and serve with a big salad.
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Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
lb. mixed mushrooms (such as maitake, oyster, crimini, and/or shiitake), torn into bite-size pieces
medium shallots, finely chopped
lb. spaghetti or bucatini
cup heavy cream
cup finely chopped parsley
Zest and juice of ½ lemon
Tbsp. unsalted butter, cut into pieces
oz. Parmesan, finely grated (about ½ cup), plus more for serving
Freshly ground black pepper
Heat 2 Tbsp. oil in a Dutch oven or other large pot over medium-high. Cook half of mushrooms in a single layer, undisturbed, until edges are brown and starting to crisp, about 3 minutes. Give mushrooms a toss and continue to cook, tossing occasionally, until all sides are brown and crisp, about 5 minutes more. Using a slotted spoon, transfer mushrooms to a plate; season with salt. Repeat with remaining 2 Tbsp. oil and mushrooms and more salt.
Reduce heat to medium-low and return all of the mushrooms to the pot. Add shallots and cook, stirring often, until shallots are translucent and softened, about 2 minutes.
Meanwhile, cook pasta in a large pot of boiling salted water, stirring occasionally, until very al dente, about 2 minutes less than package directions.
Using tongs, transfer pasta to pot with mushrooms and add cream and 1 cup pasta cooking liquid. Increase heat to medium, bring to a simmer, and cook, tossing constantly, until pasta is al dente and liquid is slightly thickened, about 3 minutes.
Remove pot from heat. Add lemon zest and juice, parsley, butter, ½ oz. Parmesan, and lots of pepper and toss to combine. Taste and season with more salt if needed.
Divide pasta among bowls and top with more Parmesan.
Editor’s note: This recipe was originally printed in our September 2019 issue. Head this way for more of our best mushroom recipes →