With all the creamy mushroom pasta recipes out there, you start to wonder if it's even possible to make mushroom pasta without cream. Well, I'm here to report that, SPOILER ALERT, it's more than possible. In fact, it's encouraged.
Actually, I find that cream sometimes dilutes the flavor of pasta dishes. And the last thing you want is to subdue the mushroom's inherently umami characteristics. So instead of cream, this mushroom pasta has a luscious red wine sauce. The best part is that it takes just 30 minutes to cook. (40 including prep time)
Though you can certainly enjoy this easy mushroom pasta recipe all year round, this version, with all its glorious red wine, is particularly cozy in the fall and winter.
It's a really great vegetarian alternative for those of you who love my Red Wine Ragu Recipe but want something quicker and meat-free.
How to make Red Wine Mushroom Pasta
This mushroom pasta recipe is especially easy because the sauce cooks at the same time as the pasta. The whole process takes about 30 minutes.
This mushroom pasta recipe only has 9 ingredients (plus salt and pepper) and you probably already have most of them on hand.
- Good-quality tagliatelle or other long flat pasta (check out Yummy Bazaar for all your International Grocery needs)
- 2 kinds of mushrooms (I used shiitake and cremini mushrooms because they're easily found at grocery stores)
- Tomato paste (really adds to the umami flavor of the mushrooms)
- Red wine
- Olive oil
- Red pepper flakes
- Fresh thyme
- Kosher salt
- Black pepper
See recipe card for quantities.
The basic process of making this cream-less mushroom pasta is to first sauté the mushrooms while the pasta water comes to a boil. Then deglaze the mushrooms with lots of red wine right as you drop the pasta in the water. If all goes as planned, the timing works perfectly.
Step 1: Sauté the mushrooms on high heat for 8 minutes, until most of them have browned. DO NOT STIR until the 3 minute mark. And DO NOT SALT THEM YET.
Step 2: After 8 minutes (once the mushrooms have crisped up nicely) add the shallots, salt, black pepper, and red pepper flakes, and sauté for 1 minute. Then add the tomato paste and sauté for another minute. Just until the tomato paste darkens and sticks to the bottom of the pan.
Step 3: Deglaze the pan with the red wine. Then immediately drop the pasta into the salted boiling water. (the water should taste about as salty as soup) Simmer the sauce for about 8 minutes, or until reduced by about half.
Step 4: Mix the butter into the sauce and taste for seasoning.
Step 5: Transfer the cooked al-dente pasta directly from the water to the sauce using tongs. Toss to combine, adding ¼ cup of pasta water only if the sauce dries up.
- Using 2 types of mushrooms creates more depth of flavor and texture. But you can choose just one if it's easier. I love the texture of shiitake mushrooms, but they're a tad expensive. So for the type I chose a cheaper option: cremini/ baby Bella mushrooms.
- To achieve well-browned mushrooms, sauté them using high heat. And don't salt them until they're done sautéing. Salt draws out moisture, which works against browning.
- There's no need to remove the shiitake mushroom stems for this recipe. They soften a lot as they simmer in the wine.
- If the sauce finishes cooking before the pasta, simply add the butter and turn off the heat until the pasta is ready.
- Don't over-reduce the sauce. It should reduce into a thick liquid, but not a paste.
- The recipe is easiest with dry pasta that takes about 10 minutes to cook.
- If your pasta's package instructions say to cook for 7 minutes, for example, you would deglaze with the wine, then drop the pasta in the water 3 minutes later.
- If the package says 12 minutes, you would drop the pasta, then deglaze with wine 2 minutes later.
- If using fresh pasta, which only takes 2 minutes to cook, drop it in the water at the same time as you add the butter to the wine sauce.
Variations on this Mushroom Pasta
- Type of alcohol: This recipe also works using white wine. It turns out less dark, but but still tastes delicious.
- Pasta shape: Long flat shape work best in my opinion. But many short shapes Ould work too. For example, cascatelli, farfalle, and mezzi rigatoni would be excellent substitutions.
- Vegan: If you came here because you thought a mushroom pasta without cream would be dairy free, I guess you're wrong because it calls for butter. Butter is an excellent emulsifier. However, you can substitute vegan butter to emulsify the sauce and make it shine.
- Gluten free: Simply use gluten free pasta
- Spicier: add a teaspoon of Calabrian chili paste or 1 dry Chile de Arbol at the same time as the tomato paste.
- Extra umami: Add 3 anchovy filets at the same time as you add the shallots. Or add a tablespoon of fish sauce when you add the red wine.
Make it ahead of time
You can make the mushroom wine sauce a day or 2 ahead of time. Then just boil the pasta right before you're ready to eat.
Reserve ¼ to ½ cup of pasta water, drain the pasta and return it to its pot, then add the sauce to the pasta along with ¼ cup of pasta water. If it's still too thick or dry, add another ¼ cup.
Refrigerate leftovers for up to 1 week. Reheating works best in a non stick pan with a splash of water.
What kind of wine should I use? Any red wine works, as long as it's not a dessert wine. Dessert wines are too thick and sweet.
Is the butter necessary? Yes. I mean, no, but yes. Before adding the butter, you'll notice that the sauce already tastes very good. But the butter is what creates that saucy, glossy texture. It really turns "tasty reduced wine" into a true pasta sauce.
Red Wine Mushroom Pasta RecipePrint
A delicious mushroom pasta recipe that tastes meaty despite not having any meat, and rich despite not having any cream.
- 1 pound of Tagliatelle or other long flat pasta
- 1 pound of mushrooms, sliced (see note 1)
- 2 Shallots, diced
- 2 tablespoons of tomato paste
- 1.5 cups of red wine
- 4 tablespoons of butter (half stick)
- ⅛ cup of olive oil
- A pinch of red pepper flakes
- 4 sprigs of fresh thyme
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- Mine en place: Wipe clean and slice your mushrooms and set them aside. Dice the shallots and set them aside as well.
- Fill a pot with water and place it over medium-high heat, with enough salt for it to taste as salty as soup. Meanwhile heat olive oil in a sauté pan over medium-high heat. Add the mushrooms in an even layer and sauté for 8 minutes. DO NOT STIR for the first 3 minutes.
- After the mushrooms have been sauteeing for 8 minutes, add the shallots, thyme, salt, pepper, and crushed red pepper, and saute for 1 minute. Then add the tomato paste and sauté for 1 more minute.
- Deglaze the mushrooms with the 1.5 cups of red wine and reduce heat so the sauce simmers. Then immediately drop the pasta (assuming it takes 10 minutes to cook) into the now-boiling water.
- After about 8 minutes, the wine sauce will have reduced by half. Stir in the butter, taste for salt, then add the cooked pasta directly from the boiling water. Use tongs.
- Toss the pasta until well coated with the mushroom wine sauce. Add ¼ cup of pasta water if the sauce seems too thick or dry. It should still be saucy.
note 1: use 2 kinds of mushrooms if possible. The total weight should be 14-16 ounces.
Keywords: mushroom pasta without cream, red wine mushroom pasta, mushroom pasta recipe