A hearty mushroom-based pasta dish, mushroom pappardelle is made with a mix of white wine, cream, and Parmigiano Reggiano. This dish isn't too creamy or saucy and really lets the mushroom flavor shine!
Ready in about 20 minutes, this is a great weeknight dinner. For more quick meals, try my za'atar chicken thighs, bruschetta pizza, or Sicilian pesto pasta, all with less than half an hour of cooking time.
With just a dozen ingredients including salt and pepper, these ingredients are easy to find in most grocery stores. Be sure to get a mix of mushroom types for the best taste.
Ingredient Notes and Substitutions
- Pasta: although pappardelle is right there in the name, tagliatelle is a good substitution, as are some other hearty, thick cuts of pasta like fettuccine. Some smaller pasta shapes like cavatelli or orecchiette work too. Choose a high-quality brand, like Rummo egg pasta or Garofalo.
- Mushrooms: you can use wild if you want to have a wild mushroom pappardelle. A blend is fine if you can find one, and typical wild varieties like porcini and chanterelle are excellent. Don't use canned mushrooms.
- White wine: use a dry white wine or vermouth, not a sweet wine. It doesn't need to be expensive, but you will taste it in the final dish.
- Heavy cream: this is 36-40% fat content, but slightly lower fat whipping cream can also be used.
How to Make This Recipe
If you can multitask a bit and start making the pasta while the sauce is cooking, this recipe will only take about 20 minutes from start to finish, including prep time. Even without that, it can be ready in half an hour. A perfect busy-day dinner!
1. Prep the mushrooms: slice or quarter the mushrooms, depending on size.
2. Cook mushrooms: melt butter in a hot pan, then add the prepared mushrooms and cook until fragrant. Do this in batches if needed.
3. Add thyme: stir in the thyme leaves and cook for another couple of minutes.
4. Add shallots: stir in the shallots and garlic, and cook for 2-3 minutes to soften.
5. Deglaze: add the white wine, scraping the pan as needed, then stir in the cream and lower the heat to simmer.
6. Taste: the sauce should be ready, but taste and adjust seasoning as needed.
7. Cook the pasta: prepare the pasta as directed on the package. Don't forget to reserve some cooking water. Transfer the cooked pasta to the mushroom sauce and toss to combine. Serve immediately.
8. Serve: Serve the pasta with grated parmesan.
Make Ahead, Storage, Freezing
- Make Ahead: the sauce could be made slightly in advance and gently reheated before cooking the pasta, but it shouldn't be prepared days in advance. Think a few hours at most.
- Storage: the mixed pasta dish won't store well, and the pasta will absorb the sauce as it rests. The sauce can be stored separately in the refrigerator for a day or two but is best fresh.
- Freezing: a creamy mushroom sauce like this doesn't freeze particularly well. I don't recommend freezing any part of this dish.
While this is a fantastic vegetarian mushroom pasta dish as is, you can make some easy changes to best suit you or your family's needs.
- Add more protein: roasted or baked chicken is a good addition and can be added to the finished sauce if the meat is already cooked. A pork chop goes well with the pasta, as does thinly sliced tenderloin.
- Mix in some vegetables: frozen baby peas can be added for the last minute of the pasta cooking time, or mix in some asparagus. Baby spinach or kale can be stirred into the still-hot sauce to wilt before mixing with the pasta.
- Make it without cream: if you don't have heavy cream on hand, ricotta cheese makes a good sub, but it might need to be thinned slightly with the pasta water. A vegan cooking cream can be used if needed but the taste will change.
This is a quick and easy recipe to make at home, but there are a couple of things to keep in mind, especially when cooking mushrooms. Be sure to read through all the tips and notes to make this creamy mushroom pasta perfectly the first time.
- Don't skimp on mushrooms: the mushrooms will shrink a lot during cooking, so don't be hesitant about the large quantity called for! They contain a lot of water, and most of that will evaporate, so the mushrooms will decrease by about three-quarters.
- Cook the mushrooms first: the point here is to sear the mushrooms and evaporate the water present in them because this is what causes a rubbery texture. Cooking them before the shallots will ensure the best result.
- Don't crowd the pan: much like short ribs, if the pan is crowded, the mushrooms will steam rather than sear. Use the largest frying pan you have for the sauce.
- Reserve cooking water: this is the best thing you can use for thinning out a pasta sauce, as it's seasoned and starchy, meaning it will stick to the cooked pasta. This isn't a thin, saucy pasta dish, but you can add a splash of water if needed.
For mushroom pasta dishes, a meaty mushroom variety like portobello, cremini, shiitake, and porcini are all excellent. Some mushrooms like shiitake will have a much stronger flavor and should be balanced with milder types.
While any onion can technically be used in place of shallots, yellow is best, with the closest flavor similarity. Try to use an equal volume of onion, so about ¼ onion for each shallot.
The main difference lies in the width of the pasta, with pappardelle being the slightly wider of the two. Both are usually made with eggs rather than water.
More Delicious Mains
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- 1 lbs Mushrooms - Assorted (portobello, cremini and shitake)
- 1 tablespoon Butter
- Kosher salt
- 5 sprigs Thyme
- 2 Shallots - Finely diced
- 2 Garlic cloves - Finely minced
- ½ cup White wine
- ½ cup Heavy cream
- Kosher salt and fresh cracked pepper to taste
- 8 oz Pasta - Pappardelle (or pasta of choice)
- Parsley and grated Parmigiano Reggiano for garnish
- Slice large mushrooms into strips, about ½ inch wide. Small mushrooms can be quartered.
- In a large pan or skillet set on medium-high heat, melt 2 tablespoons of butter and add the mushrooms. Sautee for a few minutes until mushrooms soften, shrink and become aromatic. Do this in batches if needed until all the mushrooms are softened.
- Strip the leaves off 5 sprigs of thyme and add them to the mushrooms. Sautee for 2 minutes.
- Add the shallots and garlic. Sautee for 2-3 minutes.
- Deglaze with the white wine, scraping any bits stuck to the bottom of the pan. Add the cream, lower the heat to low and simmer for 2 minutes.
- The sauce should be ready. Taste and adjust the seasoning to your liking.
- Cook the pasta per package instructions, making sure to reserve some of the pasta water. Once ready, carefully transfer the cooked pasta to the pan with the mushroom sauce. Toss to combine. If you feel the sauce is a little thin, add pasta water. Note: this is not a saucy pasta dish.
- Plate the pasta and garnish with fresh chopped parsley and freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano.
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