Pasta dinners do not need to be boring. I couldn’t say that any louder. You can jazz it up easily with just a few little tricks and ingredients – and bam, you can have a restaurant-quality pasta dish ready at your dinner table in no time! So save this creamy thyme mushroom bucatini recipe because it’s an effortless treat to your palate.
Something about mushrooms and creamy pasta, with the right ingredients, just works so well together. What I love about this recipe is all the flavour layers it’s got. Starting with the base, I’ve used plenty of garlic, shallots, and a touch of anchovies for a flavour boost. Then I opted for thyme as my seasoning of choice to add an aromatic earthy and minty touch to the mushrooms, which bolds well with the creamy sauce. There is a luxurious silky texture to the dish thanks to the help of the reserved pasta water and a slab of butter. Last but not least, grated Parmesan (vegetarian one) gives the sauce a full-bodied touch and a toss of lemon zest to lighten the dish up.
How to make Creamy Thyme Mushroom Bucatini
- Bucatini Pasta – the likes of Spaghetti or Linguine would work too.
- Mushrooms – I used fresh Shiitake mushrooms. Porcini would make an excellent choice as well.
- Garlic, Shallots – the aromatics
- Anchovies – the secret ingredient to add a touch of umami
- Red Chilli Flakes – to give it a little kick of flavour
- Fresh Thyme – herb with a minty & earthy touch to complement with the mushrooms
- Double Cream
- Reserved Pasta Water – this is very important for both flavouring, thickening and binding the sauce
- Butter – for finishing touch to give the pasta a silky and luxurious texture
- Lemon Zest – allowing the mild acidity to cut through the creaminess and to lighten up the dish
- Parmesan Cheese – you can get vegetarian ones
- Salt & Black Pepper – to taste
Reserve the Pasta Water
Reserving pasta water is pretty much the golden rule for any pasta recipe. For this recipe in particular, not only does the pasta water lends a salty flavour edge to the sauce, but it also helps to thicken up the sauce and to bind the sauce with the pasta. The result is a luscious sauce that’s properly coated over each pasta noodle, which really makes a difference.
Bucatini vs Spaghetti
If you’re looking for the closest alternative to bucatini pasta, it’s spaghetti. Appreciate that bucatini may not be the most common pasta type at your local supermarket, but if you’re able to get your hands on some, you will not regret it.
You can say that bucatini is essentially a thicker version of spaghetti and with a hole. But it’s more than just about its shape. The thicker texture of bucatini means it is naturally more al dente to bite into and the hole gives it the ability to carry more sauce with it. That’s why bucatini > spaghetti (but we still love spaghetti!).
Shallots vs Onions
I’ve used shallots here but onions can also be used interchangeably for this recipe. My preference definitely lies with shallots though. This is because shallots carry a sweeter flavour and it’s the more delicate touch that wins me over. If using onions, swap out the shallots with a medium onion.
Oh, I love a good recipe with anchovies in it! What anchovy does is adding depth and elevating a dish’s flavour profile from savoury to umami. Anchovies are typically filleted, salt-cured and stored in oil either in cans or jars.
Butter is amazing because it acts as an emulsifier and is the final touch to give you a lusciously velvety texture to the sauce. It helps the flavours shine and it adds a silky richness to your dish – what’s there to not love about butter!
Creamy Thyme Mushroom Bucatini
- 225 g Bucatini Pasta or Spaghetti
- 1 tbsp Olive Oil
- 3 Anchovy Fillets
- 4 cloves Garlic finely chopped
- ½-1 tsp Red Chilli Flakes
- 2 Shallots finely sliced
- 3 sprigs Fresh Thyme
- 150 g Shiitake Mushrooms
- ½ cup Reserved Pasta Water from cooking the pasta
- 1 tbsp Butter
- 1 cup Double Cream
- ⅓ cup Parmesan Cheese grated, more for topping
- Zest of 1 Lemon
- Bring a large pot of water to boil and season generously with salt. Cook pasta according to package instructions. Reserve ½ cup of pasta water.225 g Bucatini Pasta or Spaghetti
- In the meantime, heat olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add garlic, anchovy fillets, and red chilli flakes. Saute for 2-3 minutes until fragrant.1 tbsp Olive Oil, 3 Anchovy Fillets, ½-1 tsp Red Chilli Flakes, 4 cloves Garlic
- Add sliced shallots and saute for 5-10 minutes until golden & softened.2 Shallots
- Toss in mushrooms and cook for about 5 minutes until golden. Stir in fresh thyme and season with salt & black pepper.3 sprigs Fresh Thyme, 150 g Shiitake Mushrooms
- Add in cooked pasta, reserved pasta water, Parmesan cheese, double cream, and butter. Mix to combine and allow to cook for a few minutes until the sauce thickens and coats pasta. Add in more reserved pasta water if the sauce gets too thick to loosen it up.½ cup Reserved Pasta Water, 1 tbsp Butter, 1 cup Double Cream, ⅓ cup Parmesan Cheese
- Toss in lemon zest. Garnish with more Parmesan cheese and serve immediately.Zest of 1 Lemon
- The reserved pasta water lends flavour to the sauce and helps to bind the sauce to the pasta noodles.
- Adding a slab of butter into the sauce helps to emulsify and adds a silky richness to it.
- If you don’t have shallots, you can use onions interchangeably for this recipe. Substitute with 1 medium onion.
- Bucatini pasta is recommended but if you can’t find them, alternative pasta choices include the likes of spaghetti or linguine.
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