A few simple ingredients make this easy Mushroom Pasta recipe shine. It’s one of my favorites and I know you’ll love it too.
This Mushroom Pasta recipe is a riff on one of my all-time favorites. The dish was based off one I had in Athens, using pasta and mushrooms from Crete where my family roots are from. It’s an umami bomb that combines meaty wild mushrooms with cheese and a little cream/Greek yogurt. In this recipe, I’m also suggesting adding saffron, which plays off the richness with more nuance and depth of flavor. It’s optional, but I highly recommend it. Cooking it all in one pot makes the process seamless and clean up is easy when you’re done.
Which mushrooms should I use?
You can use any type of mushroom you like in this dish. Normally, I use cremini mushrooms, or a mix of mushrooms from whatever looks good at our market. Mushrooms shine here, so use your favorites, and experiment with types that might be new to you.
A little bit about saffron
Saffron is a spice — actually the stigmas of the crocus flower — grown predominantly in the Mediterranean and Middle East. Additionally, it’s the most precious (and expensive) spice in the world. This is because farmers have to harvest it by hand. Greece is actually the 3rd largest saffron producer in the world. Their saffron is extremely high quality. Farmers in the Kozani region outside Thessaloniki farm the country’s share. You can now find it in Greek speciality stores in the diaspora and it’s prevalent in markets across Greece. If you buy saffron, don’t ration it. If you keep it opened for more than a year, it will lose its potency.
Cream or yogurt?
I used to add a little cream at the end of the recipe, but as I kept making this dish I swapped that out for plain Greek yogurt (2% or 5%). You get the same amount of creaminess, and an added acidity that balances everything out perfectly.
- 2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon pepper
- 1 pinch saffron (about 1/2 teaspoon) (optional)
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 pounds mushrooms, roughly chopped
- 1 pound cavatelli or orecchiette
- 1 bunch thyme (tied together with twine)
- 3 cups broth or water (if using water, you'll need more salt)
- 8 ounces Mascarpone cheese (or plain 5% Greek yogurt)
- 1 cup Parmesan, Pecorino Romano, or Kefalotiri cheese
- Heat olive oil in a pot over medium-high heat. Sauté onion for 3 to 5 minutes, until it's translucent.
- Then add salt, pepper, and saffron, and give it a stir.
- Add garlic and cook for another 30 seconds. Then add the mushrooms to the mix and cook for 5 to 7 minutes, until they soften, and release some moisture.
- Add the pasta, thyme (don’t worry about pulling the leaves off the stem, you’ll discard after cooking), and broth. Stir well to combine. Bring to a boil.
- Turn down heat and simmer until pasta is cooked (look at the instructions on your pasta for timing). Cover initially, but stir often to keep pasta from sticking to the pot. Uncover for the last 3 minutes of cooking to reduce liquid/sauce. Stir vigorously toward the end to release the starch from the pasta to thicken the sauce.
- When pasta is done, remove from heat. Discard thyme stems and mix in Mascarpone and Parmesan cheese, adding more of the latter to taste.
- Garnish with a few saffron threads sprinkled over each bowl, and serve.
It's up to use whether you want to use Mascarpone or plain Greek yogurt. You get the same amount of creaminess, but the yogurt give you an added acidity that balances everything out perfectly.
I've also combined a bit of Feta cheese with the Mascarpone for additional acidity and depth of flavor. So basically, you have a lot of options. Just use what you normally have on hand or can easily source to make things easy.
Amount Per Serving:
|% Daily Value*|
|Total Fat 13.23 g||20%|
|Saturated Fat 3.78 g||15%|
|Trans Fat 0.0 g|
|Cholesterol 9.58 mg||3%|
|Sodium 653.44 mg||27.2%|
|Total Carbohydrate 99.61 g||33%|
|Dietary Fiber 7.19 g||28%|
|Sugars 11.16 g|
|Protein 27.87 g|
|Vitamin A 1.45 %||Vitamin C 15.69 %|
|Calcium 11.37 %||Iron 19.55 %|
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
Sweet Greek Personal Chef and Culinary Services Los Angeles, CA