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Creamy fettuccine with mushrooms

Sat, 3 February, 2024

Garlicky cream sauce made the easiest way in the world, flavoursome roasted mushrooms and good fettuccine pasta. And you can chop and change each of these recipe elements!

creamy fettuccine with mushrooms

Swap shop

In my humble and modest opinion, the best recipes are adaptable. New York Times Cooking section features wonderful comments underneath recipes, and sometimes they are of the much-jibed type. ‘My wife and I don’t like beans, so we replaced them with shrimp instead. Amazing!

They make a hilarious reading:

‘This is the best recipe, I only needed to tweak it a little bit (…). I cut the sugar by .38% and omitted the pecans altogether. Sliced up kielbasa and some kale helped (…) Save the corn syrup for garnish’ [pecan pie recipe].

‘I do not believe in eating plant products so I used honey instead of maple syrup and substituted bacon for the rosemary. Delicious!’

The content is obviously bonkers at times, but seriously, if you can swap and sub and still enjoy the dish, it means the recipe is sound. Certainly not when omitting sugar altogether from a cake recipe, but with dishes that will work with other ingredients than just that one listed.

pasta with cream sauce and roasted mushrooms

Substitute and adapt

One of my favourites (and yours too, judging by its popularity) is my creamy chicken with leeks and mushrooms.

It is almost a paradigm of a recipe: each element can be swapped or substituted for something (appropriate but) else. Chicken can be replaced with pork fillet, prawns or tofu; instead of leeks and mushrooms you can use spinach or peppers.

Even the ‘creamy’ factor can be made so with coconut milk, cream cheese or buttermilk, if you so desire and/or that’s what you have at home.

This is a very similar type of recipe, inspired by Kenji Lopez-Alt. There are three elements to it: pasta, obviously, the creamy sauce and the roasted mushrooms. Before I get onto variations on this theme, here’s briefly how to make the original.

creamy pasta with king oyster mushrooms

How to make the cream sauce

This is utterly easy because it basically is cooked down double cream, flavoured with aromatics, thyme, garlic and nutmeg in this instance. You need to watch it as cream tends to want to boil over. Thyme sprigs can be tied into a bundle with kitchen string for easier extraction when they’ve done their job.

It will take about half an hour to reduce the cream by half into thick, velvety sauce which happily coats not just the back but the whole spoon. This can be decanted into a container when cool and stored in the fridge for a good week if you’ve made a surplus.

versatile recipe for cream sauce

And now variations: hit the heat adding dried chilli. Zing it up by dropping in a bruised piece of ginger. Finish the sauce with masses of finely chopped parsley. Colour it delicately pink with tomato puree. Or make it cheesy with grated Parmesan or even Gruyere – though in that case cook the cream for just fifteen minutes before adding the cheese.

creamy mushroom pasta

How to prepare the roasted mushrooms

I do love king oysters, a cross between properly foraged, wild ones and tame, cultivated ‘shrooms. They have firm texture and slice well so can be roasted perfectly successfully.

Just toss them with olive oil and roast, spread on a baking tray, for a quarter of an hour.

roasting mushrooms

Mushrooms not your jam? No problem: roast some aubergine strips instead. Or caramelised courgettes. Or peppers. You can also swap mushrooms for cherry tomatoes, Brussel sprout halves or thinly sliced fennel. Fresh spinach leaves will wilt on the baking tray in no time at all, and work beautifully in the dish. Ditto chard. Likewise asparagus.

It doesn’t have to be plants only: stir fry strips of pork loin or shred roast chicken into the sauce. If the cream was flavoured with tomato or chilli, dice some chorizo to add in. And bacon is always, always welcome in a pasta dish.

fettuccine with cream sauce and mushrooms

How to finish the dish

The final step is cooking the pasta, a little shorter than the packet tells you because it will be finished in the sauce.

Fettuccine are lovely but guess what? You can use whatever pasta shape you like, including those tiny funny shapes like orzo, orecchiette and trofie. And don’t forget gnocchi which will be wonderful in this setup.

You don’t even have to stop at pasta: any grains will work, especially spelt or barley, the chunkier ones.

Flavour the boiling pasta

In this instance dried porcini mushrooms are plonked into the pasta water, then drained into the sauce with fettuccine. Which is doubly clever because they cook in the same pot, flavouring the water which obviously must be sloshed into the sauce later to emulsify it and help it coat the pasta.

cooking pasta

Thus another avenue of variations transpires: add frozen peas to the pasta water instead or in addition to the roasted element. Or sliced green beans. Or tiny broccoli florets. Or finely shredded greens.

sauce for pasta

One recipe, a multitude of dishes

I hope you see I wasn’t lying about the versatility of this recipe, and I hope this one is a keeper for you. I know it is for me!

A final tip: the cream sauce will set in the fridge and can be spread on toast to divine results.

finishing pasta in sauce

More pasta recipes

What? More after all the above?

Bucatini pasta with creamy Alfredo sauce, peas and spinach. Bucatini is thick spaghetti-like pasta shape and it goes well with Alfredo sauce, a sprinkling of Parmesan and a handful of peas.

Pasta with fresh tomatoes and basil - perfect summer pasta. Pappardelle with fresh tomatoes, garlic, basil and lots of Parmesan, ready in minutes and better than any tomato sauce from a jar.

Penne pasta with chanterelles and pied-de-moutons, and plenty of Parmesan. A very simple dish – good ingredients don’t need elaborate processing, and fresh wild mushrooms are as good as it gets.

More mushroom recipes

Creamy mushroom ragù made to Heston Blumenthal’s recipe is a rich and flavourful dressing for pasta, gnocchi or polenta. With a hint of tomato, it's Umami Central.

Mushroom sauce, creamy and fragrant, with a few dried wild mushrooms that make all the difference. The sauce for pasta, steak, chicken, meatballs and whatever you fancy.

Fried sliced mushrooms, cooked in butter and a little oil, perfect for breakfast or as a side to steak. Cook them for 10-15 minutes until caramelised and crisp.

mushroom and cream fettuccine

Creamy fettuccine with mushrooms

Servings: 2Time: 1 hour


  • 250ml (1 cup) double cream
  • a few thyme sprigs
  • 2 large garlic cloves
  • a grating of nutmeg
  • ½ tsp salt, plus more for pasta water
  • 10g (1 tbsp) dried porcini mushrooms
  • 150g (5 oz.) king oyster mushrooms (or any other variety)
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 160g (6 oz.) fettuccine
  • 2 tsp finely chopped parsley
  • grated Parmesan, to serve


1. Place the double cream in a saucepan over medium heat.

2. Tie the thyme sprigs with kitchen string, peel and lightly smash the garlic cloves and add both to the cream with the salt and nutmeg. Cook, stirring often, for about 30 minutes until reduced by half, thickened and a stirring spoon leaves a visible line at the bottom of the saucepan. Remove the thyme and garlic and set the cream sauce aside.

3. In the meantime preheat the oven to 200C/400F/gas 6.

4. Slice the mushrooms into strips, toss with the olive oil and arrange on a baking tray. Roast for 15 minutes until slightly caramelised.

5. Put a pan of salted water on for pasta and add the porcini mushrooms, broken up into small pieces. Bring the water to the boil and add the pasta. Cook a minute shorter than the packet instructions.

6. Spoon half the cream sauce into a shallow sauté pan and scrape the roasted mushrooms in. Start heating it up as the pasta boils. When ready, scoop it with tongs and/or a slotted spoon straight into the cream sauce, sloshing the pasta water in generously. Make sure to scoop out all the porcini and add to the sauce.

7. Toss the pasta in the sauce over medium heat until the water is absorbed and the sauce emulsified. If it’s not creamy enough for your taste, stir in more cream sauce.

8. Divide between serving bowls, sprinkle with parsley and serve with grated Parmesan.

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Hello! I'm Anna Gaze, the Cuisine Fiend. Welcome to my recipe collection.

I have lots of recipes for you to choose from: healthy or indulgent, easy or more challenging, quick or involved - but always tasty.


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