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The Kitchn: An umami-loaded pasta that skips the meat

By Sheela Prakash on

When I want to impress people with a meatless dinner, I almost always include lots of mushrooms in the equation. Their umami-rich flavor and meaty texture have a way of winning over even the most staunch meat eater at the table. This vegetarian pasta proves this point: A slew of mushrooms are sautéed with a mix of olive oil, butter, and lots of garlic to become a rich sauce for simple spaghetti. Extra nutty, salty Pecorino Romano cheese replaces the usual Parmesan to up the savory factor of the pasta even further and make it one anyone with a fork in their hand will want to twirl. Plus, there's the added bonus that this dish comes together in just about 15 minutes.

Umami, or that rich, savory flavor that makes so many dishes irresistible, is easy to find in meat and fish, but it's not always apparent in vegetable-based dishes. Luckily, mushrooms are packed with it. Dairy ingredients, like butter and cheese, are also full of it. Put them together and you're looking at a solid situation for your taste buds. These flavors make for a pasta that tastes deeply satisfying, and yet the recipe is almost too easy to throw together. That means this is a meal you'll turn to again and again.

Mushroom and Garlic Spaghetti Dinner

Serves 4 to 6

1 pound dry spaghetti

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3 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 pound cremini mushrooms, cleaned, caps removed, and sliced

Kosher salt


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