Zesty Shiitake Mushroom Pasta features shiitake mushrooms in a nest of pasta flavored with garlic, parmesan cheese, lemon zest, and basil.
This is one of my favorite vegetarian mushroom recipes that features fresh shiitake mushrooms in a nest of fettuccine noodles in a light lemony garlic, cheese sauce with fresh lemon zest, and fresh basil.
The Italian pasta dish comes together quickly with a light cream-free mushroom sauce thickened with pasta liquid and parmesan cheese instead of heavy cream. It’s amazing how adding lemon to a dish transforms into a light and refreshing treat.
This light pasta dish is perfect for Meatless Monday when you don’t feel like standing over the stove.
What Are Shiitake Mushrooms?
Shiitake mushrooms are a popular edible mushroom native to East Asia that naturally grow on decaying trees. They are a tan, dark brown color with caps between 2-4 inches in diameter.
When cooked, shiitake mushroom caps have a velvety meat-like texture with an amazingly rich earthy umami flavor.
Shiitake mushrooms are good for you as they contain many beneficial vitamins and minerals.
How to Cook Shiitake Mushrooms
The stems of shiitake mushrooms are pretty tough and take longer to cook. If using them in the same dish, it is best to separate the stems from the caps. You can eat the stems, but you will have to cook them longer to keep them from being chewy. I usually save the stems to make broth or discard them altogether.
The caps can be cooked whole (depending on size), quartered, or sliced.
Can I Substitute With Dried Shiitake Mushrooms?
You sure can! However, dried shiitakes have a more intense flavor than fresh ones. And it will take the dried mushrooms longer to cook, mainly because you have to soak them in hot water for at least 30 minutes to rehydrate them first.
Where Do I Find Dried Mushrooms?
There are several different spots grocery stores keep dried mushrooms in, the first of which is often the produce area. Look in displays with garlic and shallots or around the fresh mushrooms.
There are several spots in a grocery store where dried mushrooms may be kept. They can often be found in the produce section where the garlic and shallots are or around the fresh mushrooms.
What are Substitutes for Shiitake Mushrooms?
If you are unable to find fresh or dehydrated shiitake mushrooms, the best substitutes for shiitake mushrooms are:
- Porcini Mushrooms
- Cremini Mushrooms
- Portobello Mushrooms
- Oyster Mushrooms
Ingredients and Variations to Make Shittake Mushroom Pasta
- Cooking Oil: I use extra virgin olive oil. Feel free to use whatever oil you like best.
- Garlic: fresh garlic cloves minced or sliced. I like to mince the garlic because I’m not a fan of toothy bites. This dish doesn’t cook long enough to break it down for me.
- Mushrooms: Fresh shiitake mushrooms sliced. I usually discard the stems.
- Lemon: Use a Microplane to grate fresh lemon zest, then squeeze the lemon for the juice.
- Seasoning: Kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper, to taste.
- Pasta: fettuccine or any pasta of your choice. Linguine, farfalle or rotini are also great choices.
- Cheese: freshly grated parmesan cheese + extra for serving. You could also use Romano, or Asigiago cheese, which are similar to parmesan.
- Basil: chopped fresh + extra for garnish. Fresh basil adds fresh bright flavor. If you don’t have fresh basil, use 1 ½ tablespoons of dried basil.
How To Make Zesty Shiitake Mushroom Pasta
- Cook the pasta in a large pot of heavily salted water according to package directions minus 1 minute less on the cooking time. The pasta will finish cooking when mixing it with the sauce at the end.
- Reserve 1 cup of the pasta water before draining. The pasta water helps to thicken the sauce and helps it adhere to the pasta.
- Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat and saute mushrooms and garlic.
- Stir in the lemon zest and juice and season with salt and pepper. Toss in the pan with the cooked pasta, the reserved pasta water, cheese, and basil. Coat well.
- Serve immediately in a bowl with extra basil and grated parmesan cheese.
We both loved this fantastic recipe for zesty shiitake mushroom pasta. You could taste each ingredient with each bite. The freshness of the lemon and basil made this a refreshingly bright pasta dish.
Are you planning to make this dish? We’d love your feedback. Leave us a comment and a star rating below. We value your opinion and appreciate your time.
See ya on the mountain!
Zesty Shiitake Mushroom Pasta
- 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 3 cloves garlic minced
- 1 ½ cups shiitake mushrooms sliced, stems removed and discarded
- 2 teaspoons lemon zest freshly grated
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice juice
- Kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper to taste
- 10 ounces fettuccine or any pasta of your choice
- 1 cup parmesan cheese freshly grated + extra for garnish
- ¼ cup fresh basil chopped, + extra for garnish
- Bring a 4-quart pot of salted water to a boil for cooking fettuccine noodles.
- Cook pasta, stirring occasionally, until just tender, according to package directions minus one minute. Reserve 1 cup of the pasta water, before draining!
- Meanwhile, in a large non-stick skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add garlic and cook while stirring, until fragrant but NOT browned, about 30 seconds. Add mushrooms and increase heat to medium-high. Cook the mushrooms until tender and lightly browned, 4 to 5 minutes.
- Stir in lemon zest, lemon juice, salt, and pepper, then add the cooked pasta, the reserved cooking liquid, Parmesan, and basil to the mushrooms in the pan; toss to coat well.
- Serve immediately, garnished with more basil and parmesan cheese, if desired.
This recipe was originally posted in September of 2014.