This is a mushroom pasta that’s nice and juicy, in no way dry and dull even though it’s not made a tomato or cream sauce like this Creamy Mushroom Pasta. It’s buttery and garlicky, and it’s 6 ingredient magic at its best.
Plus my little trick to make extra buttery mushrooms using LESS butter!
Anyone who has sautéed mushrooms will know that the minute mushrooms hit the skillet, the bottom layer of mushrooms soaks up the oil, leaving the top layer dry.
So I used to think that the best way to sauté mushrooms was with loads and loads of butter or olive oil. As you sauté the mushrooms, they start to leech water, creating moisture. But still! That first layer of mushrooms lucky enough to hit the skillet first stole all the butter, leaving the remaining 80% of mushrooms butter free!
In a bid to even out the butteriness of mushrooms, my solution is to reduce the amount of butter melted in the skillet, add a bit of olive oil (so you can heat the butter more without it burning and get the mushrooms browned faster). Then AFTER the mushrooms are golden (i.e. water leeched so they are no longer butter-sponges), add a small knob of butter.
Boom! A big skillet of mushrooms that look and taste WAY more buttery than if all the butter is melted at the beginning! See??
What you need for mushroom pasta
Here’s what you need for this mushroom pasta. You can use any type of long strand or even short stand pasta you want (like orecchiette, penne, ziti, macaroni). Also, the parmesan is not just for serving. Tossing the pasta with parmesan before serving is a little trick I like to use for an extra flavour boost!
How to make mushroom spaghetti
Here’s how to make this mushroom pasta:
The two key steps here are:
- Butter added later – Hold back some of the butter until AFTER the mushrooms are golden – for extra buttery mushrooms with less butter!
- Pasta cooking water – Use some of the pasta cooking water to toss with the spaghetti and mushrooms. The starch in the water will emulsify (thicken) with the butter in the mushrooms, creating a slick juicy transparent “sauce” that clings to the pasta strands. Classic Italian cooking technique used for all pastas.
If you do this key step of tossing the pasta with some of the pasta cooking water, people will think you’ve made a mushroom pasta sauce. That’s how juicy and “saucy” it seems!
I know I keep going on and on about how juicy and slick this pasta is! It’s because this is hard to capture in photos and I feel like people see pastas like this one without a large pot of sauce and assume it’s dry and boring. When in actual fact, this is about as far from that as it can be!
If you’d like to add some extra greens into your meal, try this with a classic (super quick) Rocket/Arugula Salad with Balsamic Dressing. Otherwise, a juicy tomato salad, fresh crunchy cucumber salad, or have a browse through my Vegetable Sides and pick something using vegetables you have!
– Nagi x
Watch how to make it
- 200g / 7 oz short pasta like orecchiette, penne, macaroni (Note 1)
- 160g/6 oz long pasta – spaghetti, fettucine (Note 1)
Garlic Butter Mushrooms for pasta
- 400g / 14 oz mushrooms , sliced 1/2 cm / 1/5″ thick (Note 2)
- 50g / 3 tbsp unsalted butter , separated
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 2 garlic cloves , finely minced
- 1/2 tsp each salt and pepper
- 1/2 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese (or 1/4 cup store bought grated)
- Parsley , finely chopped
- Parmesan cheese , grated
Bring a large pot of salted water to the boil. Add the pasta into the pot when you start cooking the mushrooms.
Cook pasta per packet instructions minus 1 minute. RESERVE 1 mugful of pasta cooking liquid, then drain pasta.
Melt half butter and all oil in a large skillet over heat.
Add mushrooms and cook until water has leeched then evaporated, and the mushrooms start to turn golden around edges – around 5 minutes.
Halfway through cooking, add salt & pepper.
Add garlic and remaining butter, cook for 2 minutes until mushrooms and garlic are golden.
Add pasta, about 3/4 cup of reserved pasta water and parmesan. Toss gently or until water reduces and thickens into a saucy glaze that coats the pasta. If the pasta dries out, add more pasta water.
Taste and add more salt and pepper if needed.
Remove from stove and serve immediately, garnished with fresh parsley and parmesan cheese.
Orecchiette are shaped like mini bowls and are sold at all major supermarkets in Australia, same price as more common pastas. I like using them for mushroom pasta because I like to scoop up the pasta with the mushrooms – also fabulous with this Sausage Pasta in creamy tomato sauce.
2. Mushrooms – any slicable type fine here. Fabulous with plain button mushrooms, extra good with Swiss Brown/Cremini.
3. Variations: Thyme also goes really well with this pasta because mushrooms + thyme = best mates. Sometimes I will add a splash of cream to the mushrooms, but it’s not a make or break, just a “nice to have when you’re feeling indulgent”.
4. Butter – I provide a range for butter quantities because – well, the more the better. But the minimum is 2 tbsp of butter + 1 tbsp olive oil, otherwise the pasta starts to get dry. No need to measure accurately, just eye ball it!
5. Reheating – Pasta always dries out when refrigerated overnight. For the best reheating option, reserve about 1/4 cup of pasta cooking water. Sprinkle cold pasta with 2 tbsp, then microwave reheat, toss well. Resurrected to near perfect juiciness!
6. Nutrition per serving, assuming 2 (generous!) servings.
Originally published October 2016. Updated with sparking new photos and video!
LIFE OF DOZER
I have a 4WD car. It’s pretty big. Dozer is bigger.
And from the original publication date:
There is no such thing as a peaceful lunch in this household. Always eyes on you.