Shallot and Spicy Mushroom Pasta

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This savory-sweet meal requires minimal prep and hands-on work to come together.
shallot spicy mushroom pasta recipe: bowl of shallot spicy mushroom pasta with a fork
Nik Sharma/Veg-Table

We love meatballs and crispy pancetta too, but pasta can certainly be decadent, filling and savory without the help of beef or pork. Case in point: the shallot and spicy mushroom pasta from Nik Sharma’s new cookbook, Veg-Table: Recipes, Techniques + Plant Science for Big Flavored, Vegetable-Focused Meals.

“There are some cooking aro­mas I dream about, and the scent of caramelized shallots is one of them,” writes Sharma. “Once caramelized, they declare their savory sweetness proudly, a perfect accompaniment to the mushrooms. There’s a tip that I’ve borrowed from Indian biryanis: Use plenty—and I do mean plenty—of shallots for a magnificent effect.”

The recipe is, of course, riffable. Sharma suggests sautéing thin-sliced roasted chestnuts (when they’re in season) with the mushrooms, as well as substituting the Parmesan with fried or grilled slabs of tangy halloumi.

Veg-Table: Recipes, Techniques + Plant Science for Big Flavored, Vegetable-Focused Meals by Nik Sharma. © 2023. Published by Chronicle Books. Photographs by Nik Sharma.


2 tablespoons unsalted butter

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

8 shallots, cut in half and thinly sliced (about 15¼ ounces)

½ teaspoon fine sea salt, plus more to taste

4 garlic cloves, minced

1 teaspoon red pepper flakes, such as Aleppo, Maras or Urfa

¼ teaspoon dried sage

8 ounces cremini mushrooms, quartered

Zest and juice of 1 lemon

1 pound spaghetti

Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese

2 tablespoons chopped chives


1. In a large, 12-inch, deep-sided cast iron or stainless steel skillet over medium-high heat, melt the butter. Cook until the milk solids turn golden brown and the water in the butter evaporates and stops crackling, about 3 minutes, partially covering the pan as needed to protect from splattering.

2. Add the olive oil and sauté the shallots and salt until they turn a dark golden brown, 25 to 30 minutes. Stir often to prevent burning. Be warned: Browning onions and shallots is one of the most controversial things in recipe writing; predicting a definitive time for them is a fool’s errand. If they start to burn, use recipe writer Ali Slagle’s trick and add 1 to 2 tablespoons water to lower the temperature of the pan and continue to cook.

3. Add and sauté the garlic, red pepper flakes and dried sage. Cook until fragrant, 30 to 45 seconds.

4. Add and sauté the mushrooms until they turn brown and release their liquid, about 4 to 5 minutes. Stir in the lemon zest and 1 tablespoon lemon juice. Taste and season with more salt.

5. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and cook the spaghetti until al dente, per package instructions. Reserve 1 cup of the cooking water and drain the pasta.

6. Add the pasta to the pan and toss it with the shallot-mushroom mixture. Add ½ cup of the reserved cooking water. Fold to coat well, adding more pasta water as needed. Taste and season with salt and pepper. Garnish with the Parmesan cheese and chives. Serve warm. Store and refrigerate the leftovers in an airtight container for up to three days.

Nutrition Facts
  • 671 calories

  • 17g fat

  • 109g carbs

  • 23g protein

  • 13g sugars

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Note: The information shown is Edamam's estimate based on available ingredients and preparation. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist's advice.

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