Whenever Bryan goes out of town, naturally I make meals with ingredients that he refuses to eat. His least favorite ingredient in the world is mushrooms because he thinks the texture is weird. Texture aside, you better believe I went straight to mushroom city and made this pasta chock full of them! Mascarpone cheese is also something I don’t cook with often but I’ve seen chefs use a dollop here and there to add a little creamy indulgence to their pastas, so I decided to throw some in to take this dish up a notch.Mascarpone is basically an Italian cream cheese, it has a mild flavor, and is often used in place of butter to finish off risottos. The creamy texture was the perfect compliment to the pasta, and it helped the sauce to adhere to the spaghetti so that every bite had a hint of it. It reminded me of how carbonara sauce sticks to spaghetti, where it coats every inch of it. Also, a great tip when you need to make any sauce more saucy – reserve a cup of the starchy cooking liquid that the pasta boiled in because all of the starch will help to tighten any sauce. I reserved a cup for this recipe and ended up using about 3/4 of it to stretch the sauce a little further.
I also had my sister Brooke over when I made this and she gave me some real time feedback which is always great to have. She described her first bite as exciting and delicious. I’m not sure if spending a good 10 minutes taking food photos influenced her eagerness, but I’d say it did 🙂 Needless to say, she is a lover of mushrooms and truly appreciated the simplicity and flavors of this dish and I think that you will too!
- ½ lb spaghetti
- 2 tbs extra virgin olive oil
- ½ small red onion, sliced
- 2 tsp thyme
- 2 tsp salt
- 2 tsp black pepper
- 2 cups sliced mushrooms (I used white but cremini or chopped portabello mushrooms would be delicious)
- ½ c white wine (I used an oaky chardonnay)
- ¾ c pasta water
- 3 tbs mascarpone cheese
- In a large pot, bring water to a boil and cook pasta two minutes away from being done. It will cook more when you throw it in the white wine mascarpone sauce.
- In a large saute pan, place evoo and onion on medium heat. Cook for three minutes and toss in 1 tsp each of thyme, salt and pepper. Add mushrooms and cook an additional five minutes. Add in the remaining thyme, salt and pepper.
- Pour in white wine and cook on high for five minutes to cook off the alcohol, stirring frequently.
- Drain the pasta, reserving the ¾ cup of pasta water. Reduce heat to medium and toss in the spaghetti and pasta water into the mushroom mixture. Stir around then dollop in the mascarpone. Carefully stir together as the mascarpone absorbs into the sauce and coats the spaghetti evenly.
- Finish with additional salt and pepper if you wish and serve immediately.
I am closing out this recipe with a diddy from Billy Joel, one of my favorite artists. He came to Nationals Park this past Saturday and I went with a big group of family and friends to hear him. He opened with this song, standing confidently in the front with a guitar no less, and it got me so hyped for the rest of his two hour set. Enjoy this goodie!