Mushroom Alfredo- Loaded with fresh veggies and a quick and simple cream sauce, you won’t even miss the meat in this rich and comforting pasta.
February 12, 2021 by Nicole Collins
I don’t think I can say that I don’t like mushrooms anymore. I don’t even think I can say that I only conditionally like mushrooms any more.
If you’ve been with me for a while, you know that my relationship with mushrooms has always been a complicated one. I’ve always liked the taste, but I’ve had a HUGE issue with the texture. For many, many years, I’d never even purchased a mushroom before.
But then, the bestie helped me venture out a little bit. And, I got to the point where I would eat mushrooms if they were pulverized into little itty bitty teeny tiny pieces. It totally worked for me.
So as I became more and more comfortable with mushrooms, I’d start craving them more and more. So, I’d start buying them more and more. And then, I’d start creating more and more recipes that used them.
But here’s the thing, as I’m working through a recipe, I have to think about it visually too. And, photographing something mushroomy isn’t really going to work if those babes are chopped up into tiny pieces. Seeing an actual slice of caramelized mushroom looks so much prettier.
And, I think that’s how we got to this point. I’d leave a couple mushrooms whole for the purpose of pictures. But then, I’d have to deal with them, so I’d suck it up and eat them. Now, I think I’ve done that enough that I’ve trained myself to be able to eat a grown up piece of mushroom. It’s still a little taboo for me, but we’ve come a long enough way for me to be able to give you a recipe like today’s delicious dish.
Today, we’re making Mushroom Alfredo!
We’ve kind of had a mushroom theme going on all week, so I figured a rich and creamy pasta was the perfect way to send it off. And not only is this pasta creamy and delicious, it’s loaded with veggies! So that has to be a win, right?
Let’s start with the pasta. Typically, you see alfredo sauce coating a long cut pasta like a fettuccine or a pappardelle. And don’t get me wrong, I love a good fettuccine. But for this recipe, I was really feeling a short cut pasta. So, I ended up using a whole wheat rotini pasta. I love whole wheat pasta, and I think the slight nuttiness of the pasta pairs really well with the earthy mushrooms in this dish. But, you can 100% use whatever pasta you prefer. Short cut, long cut, whole wheat, regular…this sauce is DELISH on whatever you smother with it.
Next, let’s talk mushrooms. We’re going to keep things super simple and saute our baby bella mushrooms in a little butter. That’s it. Mushrooms tend to have a high water content, so I actually don’t season them with salt until after they’ve finished cooking. Salt tends to draw water out of veggies, and these mushrooms are wet enough on their own. So, it really is just the mushrooms and the butter in the pan all by themselves for about 10 minutes until the mushrooms are perfectly golden brown.
Once the mushrooms are caramelized, we’re going to add in a little garlic; and let those cook together for just about a minute. Then, to add some extra protein and a pop of color, we’ll add in a big ol’ handful of fresh spinach to wilt down with our shrooms. Once we add the spinach, that’s the point that we’ll throw in a pinch of salt and pepper.
As soon as the veggies are all cooked down, it’s time to add in our sauce components. This is my current go to for alfredo sauces. I accidentally created it early on in quarantine, and I’ve never turned back. It’s so simple and delish! So, we need equal parts of milk and heavy cream, a little cream cheese, and some freshly shredded parmesan cheese. To lighten things up just a tad, I always use 1% milk and low fat cream cheese. They both work great in this sauce. But, you can certainly use a higher fat content of both which will just add a little extra creaminess. Either way, we’ll add it all to the pan at once, stir it really well until all of the cheeses melt, bring it to a simmer, and turn down the heat so the sauce can thicken up for a couple of minutes.
Typically, I season this alfredo sauce with a simple pinch of salt and pepper. But for this recipe, I used my new favorite secret weapon: umami seasoning from Trader Joes. We’re just going to add a little touch of this spice to our sauce, but I love the richness that it adds. To me, it makes mushrooms taste even mushroomier (<-- new word alert!). It deepens the earthiness just a bit in the most delicious way. If you don’t have this seasoning, that’s ok. This pasta is still totally delish without it. But, if you’re looking for something new to try, I highly recommend picking up a bottle of this seasoning blend.
After the sauce has thickened up a little bit, we can add our cooked pasta back to the party, toss everything together, and it’s time to eat! Now, the sauce will look a little on the thin side at first. But, it thickens right up once it mixes with the pasta. And, we don’t even need to add any extra pasta water to the sauce! Easy breezy!
When we’re ready to eat, we’re met with a rich, creamy, flavorful, earthy, delicious bowl of pasta. It’s hearty and filling, but it feels a little lighter and healthier thanks to all of those veggies and a sauce that’s not weighed down by flour and cream. And with so many people trying to eat more meatless meals these days, this is the perfect way to not even miss the meat.
Ok, everyone. I hope you’ve enjoyed our week of mushrooms! There’s so much yummy stuff in queue, so stay tuned!
I hope you have a great weekend, and let’s eat!
Serves: 2 Print
4 oz short cut pasta (I used whole wheat rotini)
1 ½ tbsp unsalted butter
8 oz baby bella mushrooms, sliced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 cup fresh spinach, packed
½ cup heavy cream
½ cup milk (I used 1%)
2 oz cream cheese (I used low fat)
½ cup freshly shredded parmesan, plus more for garnish
salt and pepper, to taste
1/8 tsp Trader Joes Umami Seasoning (optional)
Cook pasta to al dente according to package directions. Drain, and set aside.
Melt butter in a large saute pan over medium heat. Add mushrooms, and cook for 10-12 mins until the mushrooms start to brown and caramelize, stirring occasionally. Add garlic, and saute about 30 seconds- 1 minute until fragrant. Add spinach plus a pinch of salt and pepper. Saute until spinach has wilted, about 1-2 mins.
Add heavy cream, milk, cream cheese, parmesan cheese, and umami seasoning, if using. Stir constantly until cheeses are melted and incorporated. Reduce heat to low, and simmer sauce for 5-6 mins, stirring occasionally, until the sauce is slightly thickened. Add cooked pasta to the sauce, toss to coat, and cook for about 1 minute more. Taste for seasoning, and add another pinch of salt and pepper, if needed.
To serve, garnish with shredded parmesan. Enjoy!
*I love the umami seasoning from Trader Joes in mushroom dishes. I think it makes mushrooms taste a little more mushroomy. If you don't have this spice, this pasta is perfectly delish with out it. Just add a pinch of salt and pepper before you simmer the sauce in place of the umami seasoning.
*Any cut of pasta would really work here. I love this with the short cut pasta, but a more traditional fettuccine would definitely work here too. I prefer whole wheat pasta, but you can use your preference of regular or whole wheat.
*The sauce will look thin at first, but it thickens up once it mixes with the pasta. I use low fat milk and low fat cream cheese, but a fuller fat version would make this even creamier. Use what you prefer. Both work great.