I've been on the lookout lately for pasta dishes which require no cheese or butter to make them delicious. My girlfriend is off eating dairy for a while, so we've had to get creative. And it's not easy—it seems like ninety percent of pasta recipes finish with "sprinkle freshly grated Parmesan and serve." It's been a good challenge to make the ingredients taste wonderful without the usual shortcuts. I've heard before that vegetarians are more creative in the kitchen, because they have to be—as a current faux-vegan, that seems even more true.
This recipe is adapted from the wonderful The Top One Hundred Pasta Sauces by Diane Seed, a largely vegetarian cookbook that organizes the pasta recipes by vegetable with a short meat section toward the end. Essentially, this is just sautéed mushrooms tossed with pasta and brightened with lemon juice, but what I liked about it was the insistence on cooking the mushrooms very slowly over low heat, covered. This way, they give up their water and cook themselves, requiring very little oil.
About the author: Blake Royer lives in Brooklyn and spends most of his free time cooking and writing about it here at Serious Eats and on The Paupered Chef. From 9 to 5 weekdays, he works as an assistant book editor in Manhattan.
- 1 pound bucatini
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
- 10 ounces fresh mushrooms, finely sliced
- 1 teaspoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
- Handful of chopped parsley
Bring a large pot of salted water to boil. Heat oil in a large skillet over low heat and add the garlic, cooking gently for a minute or so.
Add the mushrooms (wiped with a damp cloth first), season with salt and pepper, then cover and cook over low heat, 5-8 minutes until soft. They should give out enough moisture to cook themselves.
In the meantime, cook the bucatini until al dente. When the mushrooms are finished, add lemon juice and parsley, then stir in the drained pasta. Mix thoroughly and finish with a splash of olive oil.