A simple yet absolutely delicious mushroom pasta recipe in a tasty tomato sauce.
Typically mushroom pasta recipes are served in a creamy sauce, but today I’m here to pitch to you that a tomatoey base can be just as delicious! Follow me…
Making Perfect Mushrooms
The mushrooms are a key ingredient in this recipe, so it’s important we let them shine. Although this section seems a little extra, it’s worth considering a few things when working with mushrooms.
Straight off the bat, if you need to clean your mushrooms don’t rinse them. Pat them with a damp paper towel. Mushrooms are packed with water already, so the last thing you want to do is wash them under a tap. This will allow the mushrooms to absorb more unwanted water. The more water the mushroom contains, the more they steam as they fry. The more they steam, the less flavour they develop. Which brings me on to my next point.
Avoiding Bland Mushrooms
Essentially you want to get a nice golden crust on the mushrooms. This caramelization adds flavour. The number one thing that gets in the way of this process is the mushrooms steaming. To avoid this, you’ll want to space them out and fry in 2 batches. This will give the mushrooms room to release moisture without steaming on each other. Another thing to consider is when to add salt to the mushrooms. Adding salt will draw out moisture, so do it after they’ve browned. Adding before will again steam instead of fry the mushrooms.
Process shots: add mushrooms to oiled pan (photo 1), fry both sides, season, then repeat with second batch (photo 2).
Tomato Mushroom Pasta Sauce
When it comes to the sauce, it’s made up of a few different layers:
- Tomato – The bulk of the sauce is canned chopped tomatoes, but to deepen the tomato flavour we’re adding tomato paste/tomato puree too.
- Flavour Base – To add a ‘base’ flavour we’re using onion and a good amount of garlic. Because mushrooms + garlic = heaven.
- Herbs – The main herb is fresh parsley. It’s subtle, but pairs perfectly with mushrooms and garlic. We’re also adding in a small amount of dried basil and oregano, just for a boost of flavour.
- Add Extras – We’re adding some chilli flakes, just for a little heat. Then to finish everything off we’re going to stir some parmesan through the pasta at the end. This marries all the flavours together and adds a punch of salty, cheesy flavour.
Marrying the flavours together
This is a fairly simple sauce, so it’s important to bring out the best in the ingredients. As such, you’ll want to give this sauce a nice long simmer (around 35mins), just to really condense down the flavour and marry all the ingredients together. Simmering down the sauce will also help thicken it, which is important to avoid a watery sauce!
Process shots: fry onion (photo 1), fry garlic and tomato paste (photo 2), add tomatoes, herbs and seasoning (photo 3), stir (photo 4), simmer (photo 5), add pasta (photo 6), stir then add parmesan (photo 7), stir (photo 8).
Tomato Mushroom Pasta FAQ
What kind of Mushrooms to use?
I always go for Chestnut Mushrooms. They tend to have a deeper, ‘meatier’ kind of flavour in comparison to other mushrooms. In reality, you can use whatever mushroom you’d fancy though!
What kind of Pasta to use?
I like short cut pasta for this recipe (here I use Farfalle). Again though, you can use any short cut of pasta you fancy.
Can I make this ahead of time?
I don’t recommend making the whole thing ahead of time, but you can certainly make the sauce ahead of time if you wanted. Just store in the fridge or freezer until needed, then heat up and stir through cooked pasta & parmesan (more on this in the recipe card notes).
Serving Tomato Mushroom Pasta
To serve up I usually sprinkle over any leftover parmesan and parsley then tuck straight in!
Alrighty, let’s tuck into the full recipe for this mushroom tomato pasta shall we?!
How to make Tomato Mushroom Pasta (Full Recipe & Video)
Tomato Mushroom Pasta
- Large Deep Pan & Wooden Spoon
- Large Pot & Colander
- Sharp Knife & Chopping Board
- Fine Cheese Grater
Ingredients (check list):
- 12oz / 350g Short Cut Pasta
- 14oz / 400g Mushrooms (of choice), sliced
- 2x 14oz / 400g cans of good quality Chopped Tomatoes
- 1oz / 30g Parmesan, finely grated
- 3 tbsp Tomato Paste (Tomato Puree in UK)
- 3 fat cloves of Garlic, very finely sliced
- 1 small Onion, finely diced
- 1 small bunch of Parsley, finely diced (around 3-4tbsp)
- 1/2 tsp EACH: Dried Basil, Dried Oregano
- 1/4 tsp Chilli Flakes, or to spice preference
- Salt & Black Pepper, as needed
- 2.5 tbsp Olive Oil, or as needed
- Add 1 tbsp olive oil in a large deep pan over medium heat, then place in half your mushrooms. Leave to brown on one side, then use tongs to flip them over and season with a pinch of salt and pepper. Continue frying until golden brown on the other side, then remove to a side bowl and repeat with the second batch, adding more oil as needed. Remove again once done. It's important not to cram in the mushrooms or they'll steam and lose flavour. Also important to not move them about too much or they won't brown properly.
- Keeping the pan on medium heat, add another drizzle of oil then add in onion. Fry until soft and just starting to pick up colour, then add in garlic and fry for another couple of mins. Add tomato paste (puree) and stir & fry for 1-2 more mins.
- Add in chopped tomatoes and swill out the cans with around 1/2cup/120ml water. Add back in the mushrooms, then add in most of your parsley (save some to garnish), oregano, basil, chilli flakes and a good pinch of salt and pepper.
- Give it all a good stir, then leave on a very gentle simmer for 35-40mins or until nice and thick. This is important to marry all the flavours together.
- Just before the sauce is done, add your pasta to salted boiling water and cook until al dente. Reserve a cup of starchy pasta water before draining.
- Stir pasta into the sauce, then stir in parmesan. If you need to loosen up the sauce add in a splash of starchy pasta water, if not just discard.
- Serve with any extra parsley & parmesan then tuck in and enjoy!
Quick 1 min demo!
Your Private Notes:
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- One Pot Pasta with Mushrooms, Asparagus and Bacon
- Browned Butter Pasta with Mushrooms, Butternut Squash and Goat Cheese
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