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.
Easy Mushroom & Garlic Spaghetti Dinner:
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Mushroom and Garlic Spaghetti Dinner
Serves 4 to 6
unsalted butter, divided
cremini mushrooms, sliced
Freshly ground black pepper
red pepper flakes (optional)
grated Pecorino Romano cheese, plus more for serving
coarsely chopped fresh 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. Meanwhile, cook the mushrooms.
Heat 1 tablespoon of the butter and the oil in a large skillet over medium heat until shimmering. Add the mushrooms, season with salt and pepper, and sauté until browned and tender, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic, red pepper flakes if using, and remaining 2 tablespoons butter and sauté for 1 minute more.
When the pasta is ready, reserve 3/4 cup of the cooking water, then drain the pasta. Add the pasta, reserved cooking water, and cheese to the skillet. Toss over medium heat until the cheese is melted and the sauce thickens and coats the pasta, about 2 minutes. Add the parsley and toss to combine. Serve in shallow bowls with more cheese for serving.
Storage: Leftovers can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 4 days.