Hands-down the BEST mushroom pasta recipe without cream! Rich and velvety with loads of mushrooms, garlic, shallots, a little parmesan, and a lighter silky-smooth sauce. Grab the tips and watch my video below.

A skillet with pasta and mushrooms, finished with parsley

Mushroom pasta for mushroom lovers

If you're a serious mushroom lover, this recipe is calling your name.

There is not a drop of heavy cream in this mushroom pasta goodness, but no one will even miss it! This pasta dinner is every bit as comforting and it plays up the earthy, umami taste of mushrooms in the best way possible!

The secret to the best mushroom pasta

The key to this savory, rich mushroom pasta lies in the perfect 3:1 mushroom to pasta ratio.

Yes, you read this correctly, you will be using three times the amount of mushrooms to the amount of pasta in this recipe.

And for lots of earthiness and depth of flavor, I use three kinds of mushrooms: white buttons, baby bella, and meaty portobello mushrooms. Like I said in the video below, it will feel like we are using a mount of mushrooms but they will cook down in your pan to the perfect amount you need for an appropriately mushroomy pasta.

The flavors from a bit of garlic, shallots, and piney rosemary are the perfect complement to the earthiness of mushrooms. And a simple sauce that relies on extra virgin olive oil, a splash of red wine, and a bit of the pasta starchy water is all you need (I will tell you a bit more about the sauce later).

In most recipes, the finishing touches are optional, but I highly recommend you do not skip the Parmesan and chopped walnuts.

pasta with mushrooms served on plate

How to cook mushrooms

Cooking mushrooms for pasta is simple. My preferred method is to sauté the mushroom. Here are a few tips to keep in mind when sautéing mushrooms:

  • Make sure the mushrooms are dry before you start. To clean off the dirt, use a lightly damp paper towel to wipe the mushrooms clean. If you wash them or submerge them in water, they will absorb water like a sponge and the final result will be squeaky mushrooms, not the texture you want.
  • Do not slice them too thinly. You want the mushrooms to hold their shape, and if you slice them too thinly, as they cook they will shrivel down to nothing. In this recipe, I do use three kinds of mushrooms: white buttons, baby bella, and large portobello mushrooms. The white buttons and baby bellas should not be sliced no thinner than ¼ inch (closer to ½ inch in thickness is good). And for the portobello mushrooms, chop them roughly to bite size pieces but do not mince them or chop them too finely.
  • Use a combination of extra virgin olive oil and just a little bit of butter to sauté the mushrooms. In this recipe I started with ⅓ cup of extra virgin olive oil and 1 tablespoon of butter to cook a good pound and half of mushrooms with a bit of onions and garlic. If you use butter only, you will end up using too much butter because the bottom layer of the mushrooms will drink it up quickly, leaving the rest of the mushrooms dry. Allow them to cook for a little while then you can add another drizzle of olive oil.
  • Season the mushrooms. Once in the pan, give the mushrooms a good toss in the hot pan and cook briefly, then season. A good pinch of kosher salt helps coax out the moisture for savory and tender mushrooms. You can add other spices at this point too, I added some black peppers and rosemary.

The starchy pasta water makes the sauce!

A typical pasta with mushrooms would involve a heavy cream-based sauce that you would likely cook separately and then spoon all over the pasta. I find that often times, the creamy sauce drowns the pasta and mutes the natural taste and richness of the mushrooms. That is why I personally prefer my sauce without cream.

Making a hearty garlic mushroom pasta without cream or too much butter is fairly simple. The secret ingredient is: A little of the starchy pasta water!

Don't underestimate that little bit of the pasta cooking water. A small amount of the starchy pasta water acts as a thickener, and with just a bit of cooking fat (mostly olive oil), shallots and garlic, and a little red wine and tomato paste for umami, it creates a silky sauce for this pasta, eliminating the need for heavy cream. And it helps to finish with a bit of freshly grated Parmigiano reggiano.

For best results, I like to use a pasta that is short and has some textured ridges to hold on to the sauce and grated cheese.

Ingredients including pasta, mushrooms, grated cheese, parsley, shallots, walnuts, and tomato paste

How to make mushroom pasta

This mushroom and pasta recipe is an easy one with two main components: the pasta and the mushroom sauce. Once you cook the pasta and sauté the mushrooms, everything will come together with a light sauce in one pan. For my visually inclined friends, here is how this recipe goes (friendly recipe with ingredient measurements below):

  • Cook the pasta
    Get you water boiling in a large pot and make sure you salt it very well. Follow the pasta package instructions to cook the pasta to al dante. Mine took 9 to 10 minutes. Before you drain the pasta, make sure to reserve at least 1 cup of the starchy pasta cooking water for later use. Drain the pasta well.

    Mushrooms sautéed in cast iron skillet
  • Make the mushroom sauce
    Use a large pan or a well-seasoned cast iron skillet here. Start by sautéing chopped shallots and minced garlic in a good bit of extra virgin olive oil (I used ⅓ cup) and just a little bit of butter (1 tablespoon is all you need). Add your mushrooms (it will look like a big mountain of mushrooms in your skillet, but do not worry, they will cook down nicely. Toss the mushrooms around to coat and season them with kosher salt, a little black pepper and some rosemary.
    Once the mushrooms release their juices and gain some good color, add tomato paste, red wine, and about ½ to ¾ cup of the pasta cooking water. Cook over medium heat for about 4 minutes, and your gorgeous sauce is ready!

    Mushrooms cooked in cast iron skillet
  • Put the pasta together
    Now, combine the pasta and the mushrooms in your large pan. Toss well to make sure the pasta is coated. Grate some Parmesan on top and finish with a handful of fresh parsley, crushed walnuts (the walnuts add some great texture and a nutty flavor). For a little heat, add some crushed red pepper flakes, but that is totally optional.
Mushroom pasta in a cast iron skillet

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4.94 from 398 votes

Garlic Mushroom Pasta Recipe

Suzy Karadsheh
A skillet with mushroom pasta
This is hands-down the best rich and velvety mushroom pasta recipe without cream. Loads of mushrooms, garlic, shallots, and a little parmesan, tossed with perfectly cooked pasta, and a lighter silky-smooth sauce!
Prep – 10 minutes
Cook – 20 minutes
Cuisine:
Italian
Serves – 4 people
Course:
Dinner

Ingredients
  

  • 8 ounces dry pasta I used Toscani-shaped pasta
  • Kosher salt
  • cup extra virgin olive
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 2 shallots minced
  • 5 garlic cloves minced
  • 8 ounces Baby Bella Mushrooms sliced
  • 8 ounces white mushrooms sliced
  • 8 ounces portabella mushrooms roughly chopped
  • black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon rosemary
  • 3 tablespoons of tomato paste
  • ¼ cup merlot wine
  • ½ cup of grated Parmigiano-Reggiano (Parmesan)
  • ½ cup packed parsley
  • cup chopped walnuts
  • Red pepper flakes to taste optional

Instructions
 

  • Cook the pasta to al dante in boiling salted water according to box instructions. Keep 1 cup of the pasta cooking water then drain the pasta.
  • In a large skillet, heat the olive and butter over medium-high heat, add the shallots and garlic and cook, tossing regularly for 2 to 3 minutes (manage the heat so that the garlic does not burn).
  • Add all the mushrooms and toss them around in the pan for a couple of minutes, adding another drizzle of extra virgin olive oil. Season with a good pinch of kosher salt, black pepper and the rosemary. Cook the mushrooms for about 7 to 10 minutes, tossing occasionally, until they turn color and release their juices.
  • Add the tomato paste, wine and about ½ to ¾ cup of the pasta cooking water. Cook over medium heat for about 4 to 5 minutes (this becomes your mushroom pasta sauce).
  • Add the cooked pasta to the mushroom sauce. Toss to combine. If needed add a little bit more of the pasta cooking water.
  • Stir in Parmesan cheese and finish with a sprinkle of parsley, walnuts and red pepper flakes. Serve immediately!

Video

Notes

  • If you're following the Mediterranean diet strictly, use whole wheat pasta. For a vegan option, omit the butter and use a vegan parmesan alternative or omit the cheese altogether. 
  • Visit our shop to browse quality Mediterranean ingredients including olive oils and spices

Nutrition

Calories: 448.7kcalCarbohydrates: 49.1gProtein: 13.2gSaturated Fat: 2.8gTrans Fat: 0.1gCholesterol: 0.4mgSodium: 120.8mgPotassium: 1011.4mgFiber: 4.7gSugar: 7.9gVitamin A: 822.6IUVitamin C: 16mgCalcium: 57.6mgIron: 2.6mg
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I'm Suzy; born and bred right on the shores of the Mediterranean. I'm all about easy, healthy recipes with big Mediterranean flavors. Three values guide my cooking: eat with the seasons; use whole foods; and above all, share! So happy you're here...
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Comments

  1. 5 stars
    This pasta is absolutely wonderful!! I couldn’t stop eating it!! I omitted the white mushrooms and made up the difference with the Baby Bella’s and Portabello’s. I’ll definitely be making this again!!! Thank you Suzy!!!

  2. 5 stars
    I made this recipe last night and it was simply remarkably good! Thank you. My wife loved it and appreciated the "night off" from my typical protein meals. The flavors were deep and rich. It was just so satisfying.

  3. 5 stars
    Made this tonight with what I had on hand. Portobello mushrooms and beef broth for the wine. Everyone loved it! Definitely will make again

  4. 5 stars
    My husband is very difficult to feed. He doesn't like anything and criticizes everything. Today I made pennes with brown mushrooms following your recipe, although I had to skip the garlic and shallots, because he wouldn't eat it. Well, he tried the dish and his first words were: mmm, this is delicious. I almost fell off my chair, because he never praises food. He devoured it and asked me to do it again. Thank you very much.

  5. 5 stars
    Made this today. Made just like what the recipe called for. My husband is a picky eater, I was surprised when he said " you can make this again ". It is very tasty and I will be making again. Going to check out more of your recipes. Thank you!!!!

  6. 5 stars
    Absolutely delicious and presentation is beautiful with the suggested type of pasta! Had a Costco sized package of baby Bella mushrooms to use and so excited to try this recipe. New family favorite but I think it’s going to be perfect for entertaining this fall and winter too. Added sautéed zucchini and petite peas just before serving for color and more veggies in our diet. Will make this again very soon. Thank you for sharing !!!!

  7. 5 stars
    Just made this and it was delicious! I’m following a Mediterranean diet for heart health! I absolutely love the rich flavor of the sauce. It’s simple and oh, so good!

  8. 5 stars
    Wow!!!! This was the ultimate comfort food. We served it with the suggested salad and couldn't wait for leftovers the next day. Delicious!!

  9. 5 stars
    Excellent!!! Wouldn't change a thing and we made it with the suggested radicchio salad and finished off the merlot! Perfect dinner...thank you for sharing?

  10. 5 stars
    Really outstanding results. A rather busy recipe but worth it. Be sure to have all your ingredients prepped and in place before starting. Would serve it to anybody, along with a salad. You could add a protein if wanted, I’m thinking shrimp for one but it stands on its own.

  11. 5 stars
    Thank you Suzy
    I had a variety of mushrooms ( shiitake portabellas and creminis) and wanted to make pasta dish without dairy and your recipe appeared. I substituted rose and a homemade bbq sauce and thyme since I didn’t have what you had suggested. It was delicious. I am going to further look for more recipes.
    Thanks again

  12. Tasted delish - we had foraged hen of the woods and lion’s mane mushrooms. My problem was when I added my Parmesan it glued all the mushrooms together!! How to prevent that?

  13. 5 stars
    Delish— although I had to improvise a bit-
    Used red wine vinegar instead of merlot
    Only had the white mushrooms
    And cur recipe I half-
    I also doubled the tomato sauce.

  14. 5 stars
    I have been trying different recipes and this one, by far, is an instant hit for me and will be one of my regulars. Especially as we move into fall.. It is warm, deep, and the sauce was PERFECT!!!!!! Thank you for this. For the pasta, I used whole wheat penne and it was perfect as the sauce settled right in the center of the pasta for a burst of yummy in every bite!

    1. Can I ask what shape of gluten free pasta you used? We are a gluten free home as well. I was thinking penne or elbow pasta for this recipe.

      1. Amy, our family has used Tinkyada for years. Excellent bite, and can order on Amazon or we get it at our local store!

  15. 5 stars
    Husband and son are harsh critics and both LOVED this pasta. Sooooo delicious! Will be adding this into our rotation!