When I want to impress people with a meatless dinner, I almost always include lots of mushrooms in the equation. Their umami-rich flavor and meaty texture have a way of winning over even the most staunch meat eater at the table. This vegetarian pasta proves this point: A slew of mushrooms are sautéed with a mix of olive oil, butter, and lots of garlic to become a rich sauce for simple spaghetti. Extra nutty, salty Pecorino Romano cheese replaces the usual Parmesan to up the savory factor of the pasta even further and make it one anyone with a fork in their hand will want to twirl. Oh, plus there's the added bonus that this dish comes together in just about 15 minutes.
An Umami-Loaded Pasta That Skips the Meat
Umami, or that rich, savory flavor that makes so many dishes irresistible, is easy to find in meat and fish, but it's not always apparent in vegetable-based dishes. Luckily, mushrooms are packed with it. Dairy ingredients, like butter and cheese, are also full of it. Put them together and you're looking at a solid situation for your taste buds. These flavors make for a pasta that tastes deeply satisfying, and yet the recipe is almost too easy to throw together. That means this is a meal you'll turn to again and again.
Mushroom and Garlic Spaghetti Dinner
1 pound dry spaghetti
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 pound cremini mushrooms, cleaned, caps removed, and sliced
Freshly ground black pepper
6 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons coarsely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the pasta and cook until al dente, 7 to 9 minutes, or according to package instructions. Reserve 3/4 cup of the cooking water, drain the pasta, and set it aside.
Meanwhile, heat 1 tablespoon of the butter and the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the mushrooms, season with salt and pepper, and sauté until browned and tender, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and remaining 2 tablespoons butter and sauté for 1 minute more.
Add the cooked spaghetti, reserved cooking water, and 1/2 cup cheese. Toss and stir until the water has just evaporated and the cheese has melted into the pasta, about 2 minutes. Add the parsley and toss once more to combine. Serve in shallow bowls, sprinkling with additional grated cheese over each serving.
- Storage: Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.