As the cold creeps into our home, I start to crave the comfort of a bowl of hearty noodles. Reminiscent of a mushroom stroganoff, this glorious balsamic mushroom pasta is perfect for lounging under a blanket on the couch. In this dish the umami of the mushrooms and caramelized onions blends with the tangy sweetness of balsamic to create a burst of flavor.
Caramelized onions are an excellent way to impart richness, particularly in a pasta dish. In this recipe, I used diced onions, but thinly sliced onions would also work well. Do whatever suits you best, I won’t tell anyone. You’ll start by cooking heating onions, salt, and red pepper flakes in plenty of butter. Be sure to add salt at this stage; it draws moisture out of the onions, allowing them to become tender more easily and creates a well-seasoned final product.
Then we add some more butter…you can never have enough, right? right?? My mom would be cringing right now, since she is the only person that I know that hates the taste of butter. Also in the pan goes the thyme, garlic, and of course, the star of our dish, the sliced mushrooms. I used cremini mushrooms in my recipe. You might be surprised to learn that white button, cremini, and portobello mushrooms are all the same species, Agaricus bisporus. They are simply different growth stages of the same fungus. In case you are a knowledge junkie, check out this page for more information about the species!
Ok, so now we’ve got a cooked down pile of pure creamy, umami goodness. All that’s left is to make it saucy! This is where more butter, because of course, and balsamic vinegar are used to deglaze the pan. Then cream and parmesan are added to round out that creaminess. Toss that sauce with your pasta, plate (or bowl) it up, and top with more parmesan, and if you have it, a sprinkle of fresh parsley. Now hide under your blankets and eat all of that balsamic mushroom pasta before anyone else can steal it. You have my permission.
Creamy Mafalda with Mushrooms and Caramelized Onions
- 1 box Mafalda pasta See note
- 3 tbsp unsalted butter divided
- 1 small onion diced, see note
- 3 garlic cloves minced
- 8 oz cremini mushrooms sliced, see note
- 3 tbsp balsamic vinegar
- 1/3 cup heavy cream
- 1/2 cup shredded parmesan
- 1-2 tsp red pepper flakes
- 1 tsp dried thyme
- 1 tsp Salt and Pepper to taste
- 3 tbsp Fresh parsley optional
- Cook Mafalda according to package directions, drain well
- Meanwhile, melt 1 tbsp of butter in a large heavy pan on low
- Add onion, red pepper flakes and 1/2 tsp of salt to the pan and stir to coat onions
- Cook onions on low, stirring frequently, until onions start to caramelize ~10 minutes
- Stir in 1 tbsp of butter, mushrooms, thyme and garlic
- Continue cooking on low stirring until mushrooms are tender and browned ~7 minutes
- Add in the final tbsp of butter and vinegar and allow butter to melt
- Pour in cream and heat until cream starts to lightly bubble
- Mix in 1/4 cup of parmesan and stir until fully melted
- Add drained pasta to the pan and toss pan to coat mafalda
- Serve with more parmesan and fresh parsley if desired