Easy, creamy mushroom pasta with a tasty parmesan sauce.
- 1/2 pound pasta (we used bowties!)
- 3 Tablespoons olive oil
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/2 medium yellow onion, diced
- 12 ounces baby portobello mushrooms, sliced (3 heaping cups)
- salt and pepper to taste
- 2 Tablespoons flour
- 2 cups milk (we use 1%)
- 1 1/2 cups shredded parmesan cheese
- Cook the pasta in very salty water until al dente. Drain and set aside.
- Return the pasta pot to the stove. Add olive oil and turn heat to medium.
- Add sliced mushrooms to oil and cook, stirring only once or twice, until they begin to brown, about 5 minutes.
- Add garlic and onion to pan and sauté until onions have softened and are translucent, about 2 minutes.
- Add salt and pepper to taste and stir to combine.
- You should notice a bit of liquid in the skillet with the mushrooms - this is what you want! If your pan looks dry, add another tablespoon of olive oil so you have enough fat to form a roux in the next step.
- Add flour to mushroom mixture and stir to help the flour soak up any liquid. Cook, stirring frequently, for 30 seconds or so.
- Slowly add milk to mushrooms, stirring constantly to break up any chunks of flour. Cook 5-7 minutes, stirring occasionally, until sauce has thickened.
- Remove sauce from heat and stir in shredded parmesan cheese.
- Add cooked pasta to sauce and toss to combine. Serve immediately.
Additions and Substitutions. Use cream cheese, goat cheese, shredded asiago or gruyere instead of parmesan here. You can use mozzarella if you like, but it will create a thicker, string-y-er sauce (more like a mac and cheese). Use portobello, button, or cremini mushrooms. Add spinach, broccoli, or any seasonal veggies you like to the sauce. Add chicken, shrimp, or steak for extra protein. Use shallots or green onion in place of yellow onion. If you'd like to leave out the garlic and onion, add a pinch of sage, rosemary, or thyme to build in more flavor (use 1/4 teaspoon dried herbs or 2 Tablespoons fresh). For more substitution ideas, be sure to read the post above!
Shred the parmesan cheese yourself for best results! Pre-shredded cheese often has preservatives applied that prevent the cheese from melting smoothly.
Strict vegetarians should look for parmesan cheese made without rennet. To make this pasta vegan, use our Magic Cauliflower Cream in place of the milk and flour in this recipe and use a few Tablespoons of nutritional yeast instead of parmesan.
Swap the milk for heavy cream or half and half. If you'd like to use cream or half and half, omit the flour and use just 3/4 as much cream as you would milk (so, 1 1/2 cups of cream for every 2 cups of milk called for - you can always add more later!) Using cream will yield a much richer sauce! You can use a mix of cream and milk if you like - we recommend cutting the amount of flour in half and using a mix of 50% milk and 50% cream. See the post above for additional notes on this!
This recipe makes quite a bit of sauce - if you like a lighter amount of sauce, use 3/4 pound of pasta and add a splash of reserved pasta water to your sauce to thin it out a little.
For a lighter twist, swap our favorite Magic Cauliflower Cream for the flour and milk in this recipe! You can also lighten up this sauce by swapping white wine, chicken stock, or reserved pasta water for 1/2 cup of the milk. Reduce the amount of parmesan cheese by up to half if you like.
This recipe was updated in September 2020 with additional notes and photos.
Keywords: mushroom sauce, mushrooms, cream of mushroom