This garlicky creamy mushroom pasta is a weeknight saviour. It’s restaurant style and quality, but made with everyday ingredients and ready in 30 minutes. It’s healthier and lighter than a regular cream sauce and it’s packed with juicy, golden brown mushrooms and spinach.
This mushroom pasta would have been perfect for meatless Monday, but why wait for Monday. It’s pasta after all. Everyone’s favourite weeknight (& weekend) saviour. It’s the “go-to”, the “comfort food”, the “quick and easy”, of the dinner world. It doesn’t matter what kind of mushrooms you use. All that matters is that you get them golden and brown.
Chef’s pro tip: To get mushrooms golden brown, start with a very hot pan. Add some vegetable oil (because of it’s neutral flavour and high smoke point) and don’t crowd the mushrooms. A single layer with lots of room to get those mushrooms nice and hot.
And let’s get real. Every creamy mushroom pasta starts one way and one way only. Garlicky. With onions and maybe some white wine if you’re feeling fancy. I personally skipped the fancy in this recipe and kept it simple.
- Garlic & Shallot (onions are fine)
Yep. That’s simple. Because I want this recipe to get you to focus on the star of the show. Garlicky golden mushrooms. Creamy, silky sauce. Tangy, earthy spinach. That’s where the beauty of this dish lies… In the simple everyday process and the basic-ness of the ingredients.
Before we get going, it’s REALLLLLYYY important to make sure that your mushrooms are clean. You can check out the best way to do that here.
Creamy Mushroom Pasta Step By Step:
Brown the mushrooms. I cut the mushrooms into slices rather than quarters so that there’s LOTS of surface area to get lots of colour. Mushrooms are full of umami flavour and when they hit heat and get golden brown, that flavour is turned up by a factor of A LOT!
I wanted to keep this pasta lower on calories, so I skipped the butter and used oil only. But if you’re feeling wild, use some butter too!
Add the aromatics to the hot pan. Because onions are so high in water, you can add them to the pan with some salt and turn the heat down. As the moisture comes out of the onions, it will deglaze the pan at the same time. Be sure to mix and move the onions and scrape up all the brown bits left from the mushrooms. Add garlic, thyme and salt.
Add the stock and let it all reduce for about 5 minutes. Wilt the spinach in the stock and add the mushrooms back in.
Add the single cream. This is how we’re saving big on fat and calories. BUT!!!!!! This is where you need to pay attention. You do not want the sauce to boil at all after you add the single cream. Otherwise it will split. The higher the fat content in a cream, the more stable it is. So, double cream and whipping cream can be added to hot sauces and boiled without issue.
A single cream, or light cream, and sour cream are more delicate and lower in fat, so they can be exposed to heat, just don’t get them boiling or they will split. There is a wealth of information about dairy and how they are best used here.
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Simple One Pot Lighter Healthier Creamy Mushroom Pasta
- 1 pound chestnut mushrooms sliced
- 2 Tablespoons vegetable oil
- 2 shallots or 1 onion diced
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 3 sprigs thyme leaves picked
- 1 1/2 cups vegetable broth
- 1 cup single cream
- 2 cups packed spinach
- 4 cups pasta cooked according to package directions
- Pour the oil into a medium skillet over a high heat. Once the oil is hot add the sliced mushrooms in a single layer over the bottom of the pan, taking care not to crowd them. Cook for about 3 minutes, or until the mushrooms are brown. Turn them over and brown the other side. Once the mushrooms are golden, remove them to a plate or bowl and set aside while you finish the sauce.
- Turn the heat down to medium and add the onions or shallots. Use a tablespoon more oil if needed. Season the shallots and as the moisture starts to release from the onions, scrape up any brown bits from the mushrooms. Add the garlic and thyme and sauté for a further 2 minutes.
- Add the vegetable stock the pan and bring to the boil. Reduce the stock for about 5-7 minutes, until the amount has reduced by about 1/4. Add the spinach and turn the heat off. Leave to cool for about 5 minutes. Gently add the single cream and whisk into the sauce. Add the mushrooms back into the pan and give a final stir.
To finish the creamy mushroom pasta:
- Add 4 cups of cooked pasta to the sauce and mix together, coating all the noodles. Plate into 4 bowls and top with grated parmesan cheese and chopped parsley if desired.