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Recipe: Pasta With Creamy Mushroom Ragù

Whereas a classic Italian meat ragù may bubble away all afternoon so that the meat can tenderize along with aromatics, this mushroom ragù recipe can accommodate a tight weeknight schedule

By House & Garden | May 17, 2022 | Recipes

Once mushrooms reach peak tenderness, they won’t soften much more—and that means that after they join the onions, garlic, and tomato paste and get simmered in cream and water, they’ll be tender and flavorful in minutes (rather than hours). When you’re prepping your mushrooms, trim off any parts of the stems that feel too tough to chew. Save them in the freezer with your vegetable and meat scraps, then use to add umami to your next pot of broth.

This mushroom sauce is equally delicious when spooned over a bowl of creamy polenta or layered into meatless lasagna. To do so, simply stir in the butter and Parmesan cheese but don’t add any pasta cooking liquid.

4 servings

3 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil

1 small onion, finely chopped

Kosher salt

6 garlic cloves, thinly sliced

¼ cup double-concentrated tomato paste

12 oz. mixed mushrooms (such as crimini, shiitake, oyster, and/or maitake), tough stems trimmed, coarsely chopped

¼ cup heavy cream

Freshly ground black pepper

12 oz. rigatoni or other short pasta

2 Tbsp. unsalted butter

1oz. Parmesan, finely grated (about ½ cup), plus more for serving


Step 1

Heat oil in a small pot or large saucepan over medium. Add onion and a big pinch of salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, until onion is very soft, 6–8 minutes. Add garlic and cook, stirring often, until softened and beginning to turn golden around edges, about 4 minutes.

Step 2

Add tomato paste to pot and cook, stirring constantly, until slightly darkened in color, about 1 minute. Add mushrooms and season with more salt. Cook, stirring often, until softened, 6–8 minutes.

Step 3

Add cream and 1 cup water, increase heat to high, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, until ragù is slightly thickened, 13–17 minutes. Taste and season with pepper and more salt as needed.

Step 4

Cook pasta in a large pot of boiling salted water, stirring occasionally, until very al dente, about 2 minutes less than package directions. Drain, reserving 2 cups pasta cooking liquid.

Step 5

Add pasta, butter, 1 cup pasta cooking liquid, and 1 oz. Parmesan to ragù. Cook, tossing and adding more pasta cooking liquid by ¼-cupful as needed, until sauce coats pasta and pasta is al dente, about 2 minutes.

Step 6

Divide pasta among shallow bowls or plates and top with more Parmesan.

Words by Chris Morocco

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