It's time to reach in the back of your fridge for that tub of miso paste, because it will treat you to the best buttered noodles you have ever tasted. It should be noted that as a pasta-lover I don't say that lightly. Umami-packed miso paste, a few pats of butter, and starchy pasta water are simmered together with garlic and browned mushrooms for a rich and ultra-savory weeknight sauce to be paired with any type of pasta you're cooking up. It's a no-fuss homemade sauce you can call on any night of the week, guaranteed to hit the table in about 20 minutes.
Add Pasta Water for a Velvety Sauce
While miso paste is undeniably the star of these grown-up buttered noodles, a small amount of pasta water is crucial for bringing everything together. Whisked with the miso and melted butter, the liquid is thinned out into a smooth sauce while the starchiness gives it a velvety texture. It also tames the rich saltiness of the miso for a well-balanced sauce.
For a Faster Dinner, Embrace the "Meanwhile"
My go-to tactic for making dinner prep as efficient and speedy as possible is to embrace the "meanwhile." This means that instead of prepping all the ingredients at the onset (as we're often told to do), you should work as you go. While the pot of water comes to a boil and the pasta cooks, prep the vegetables and measure out the remaining ingredients.
Miso-Buttered Mushrooms & Noodles
unsalted butter, divided
medium shallot, thinly sliced
cloves garlic, minced
cremini mushrooms, stems removed and thinly sliced
freshly ground black pepper
white miso paste
torn fresh basil leaves
red pepper flakes
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, melt 2 tablespoons of the butter in a large, high-sided skillet over medium heat. Add the shallot and garlic and cook, stirring frequently, until slightly softened, about 3 minutes. Stir in the mushrooms, salt, and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the mushrooms are browned and tender, about 5 minutes.
Add the remaining 6 tablespoons of butter and stir until melted. Whisk in the miso and reserved pasta water. Simmer until the sauce starts to thicken, 1 to 2 minutes. Add the pasta and toss to coat with the sauce. Remove from the heat and stir in the basil and red pepper flakes.
Storage: Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.