Creamy Mushroom Pasta With Vegetarian Sausage

6 servings


1 hour 10 minutes

total time


1/2 ounce dried mushrooms, such as porcini, oyster, wood ear, or a mix

1 cup dry white wine (see Author Notes)

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, divided

12 ounces vegetarian or regular sweet Italian or bratwurst sausages, casings removed and broken into pieces (see Author Notes)

1 pound mixed fresh mushrooms, like cremini, oyster, shiitake, maitake, and/or chanterelles, cleaned, ends trimmed, and thinly sliced

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 large shallot, finely chopped

4 garlic cloves, minced

1 cup heavy cream (see Author Notes)

1 1/2 teaspoons minced fresh rosemary, plus more for serving

1 pound tubular pasta, such as rigatoni or penne

1 1/2 ounces (⅓ cup) finely grated Pecorino Romano, plus more for serving

Lemon wedges, for serving


Add the dried mushrooms and wine to a small saucepan and cook over low heat until it comes to a bare simmer. Set aside and allow to steep for 15 minutes, until the liquid has deepened in color and the mushrooms have softened. Remove the mushroom pieces, press firmly between paper towels to remove excess moisture, and coarsely chop. Pass the infused wine through a fine sieve into a small bowl or liquid measuring cup to remove any sediment.

In a large saute pan or Dutch oven, heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the sausages and cook, breaking them up into bite-size pieces and stirring often, until browned, 8 to 10 minutes (if the meat starts to stick to the pan, add a little water to loosen and prevent burning). Transfer to a bowl and set aside.

Wipe out the pan, add the remaining 2 tablespoons oil, and return to medium-high heat. Add the sliced fresh and chopped rehydrated mushrooms, along with a pinch each of salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until browned, 10 to 12 minutes.

Stir in the shallot, garlic, and another pinch of salt and pepper and cook until softened and fragrant, 2 to 3 minutes.

Return the sausage to the pan, then pour in the wine and scrape up any browned bits from the bottom. Simmer over medium heat until reduced by half, about 2 minutes. Stir in the cream and rosemary and simmer until slightly thickened, 3 to 5 minutes. Season to taste with salt and plenty of black pepper. Set aside.

Bring a large pot of water to a boil over high heat and season it generously with kosher salt. Cook the pasta according to the package directions until it’s a couple minutes shy of al dente. Reserve 1 cup of pasta cooking water.

Return the sauce to medium heat. Transfer the pasta directly to the sauce with a spider or slotted spoon and add three-quarters of the reserved pasta cooking water. Stir to coat and simmer until the pasta is cooked through and the sauce coats it nicely, about 3 minutes more (the sauce will continue to thicken as it cools). Loosen with more pasta water as needed.

Remove from the heat and stir in the cheese until melted. Finish with a generous squeeze of lemon and adjust the seasoning to taste. Divide the pasta among bowls. Serve immediately topped with more chopped rosemary, black pepper, and Pecorino Romano.

6 servings


1 hour 10 minutes

total time
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