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Fat noodles with pan-roasted mushrooms and crushed herb sauce

Find the widest pasta you can for this comfort classic from Carla Lalli Music's cookbook, ‘That Sounds So Good’

This method of cooking mushrooms—by pan-roasting them, then finishing with browned butter—is incredibly effective, whether you’re adding them to pasta or not. In the second step, the butter and aromatics wash a ton of flavour over the mushrooms, glossing them up.

Tall pot alternative 

If you don’t have a cast-iron casserole pot, use a large heavy frying pan to cook the mushrooms and combine with the shallot and garlic. Scoop out 500 ml (17 fl oz/2 cups) of pasta cooking liquid, then drain the pasta and return to the pot, and build your sauce from there. If the sauce gets tight or sticky, or the cheese clumps together, lower the heat and add more water than you think you should. Cook over low heat, stirring gently but constantly, until the cheese melts and the sauce is smooth.

This recipe is extracted from ‘That Sounds So Good’ by Carla Lalli Music (Hardie Grant).


Serves 4-6


Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
6 garlic cloves
1 lemon
125 ml (4½ fl oz/½ cup) extravirgin olive oil
1 teaspoon mild chilli flakes,such as Aleppo pepper
1 French shallot
450 g (1lb) maitake mushrooms
Chunk of Parmigiano, for grating and serving
2 cups lightly packed herbs (leaves and tender stems), such as parsley, mint and/or rocket (arugula)
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
450 g (1lb) wide pasta noodles, such as lasagnette or pappardelle


Instead of Aleppo pepper, use a smaller quantity of regular chilli flakes or lots of black pepper
Replace the French shallot with ¼ onion
The herbs are truly interchangeable, in any ratio, and can include basil, chives, tarragon and/or dill
Use shiitake, oyster and/or cremini mushrooms instead of maitake
Big tubes like rigatoni or paccheri are good too
A few dashes of sherry vinegar or white wine vinegar can replace the lemon juice and zest
Grana Padano or pecorino can replace the Parm
  1. Method

    Step 1

    Bring a large pot of water to a boil and season it very aggressively with salt (figure cup salt per 6 litres/200 fl oz water). Pick out the smallest garlic clove and finely grate it into a small bowl. Grate in the zest of the lemon, then stir in 2 tablespoons olive oil and the chilli flakes. Season the oil mixture with salt and pepper and set aside.

    Step 2

    Thinly slice the remaining 5 garlic cloves and the shallot. Trim the mushrooms; tear into bite-size pieces. Juice the zested lemon into a small bowl. Grate enough Parm to yield 25 g (1oz/cup) – save what’s left for passing at the table. Set all aside.

    Step 3

    Add the herbs to the boiling water and cook until very softened, 2 minutes. (Cooking the herbs both mellows and deepens their flavour; they will have less fresh brightness but take on a richer, more vegetal flavour.) Use a mesh spider or tongs to remove the herbs and hold them under cold running water until cool enough to handle, about 10 seconds. Squeeze out as much excess liquid as possible. Thinly slice the herbs and stir them into the oil mixture. Taste and adjust with more salt and chilli flakes, if desired. Set the herb sauce aside.\

    Step 4

    You want to get your mushrooms going before starting the pasta. Heat a large enamelled cast-iron casserole pot over medium–high for 1 minute, then add 3 tablespoons olive oil and half the mushrooms. Cook, tossing, until the mushrooms are coated with oil, then cook, undisturbed, until browned on the underside, 2–3 minutes. Season with salt and toss, then cook, stirring occasionally, until the mushrooms are browned all over and cooked through, 4 –5 minutes more. Transfer mushrooms to a large plate and repeat with the remaining oil and mushrooms, then add these mushrooms to the first batch. Bring the water back to the boil.

    Step 5

    Melt the butter in the casserole pot over medium heat until it foams, 15–30 seconds. Add the sliced garlic and shallot and cook until the garlic and butter are golden brown and the shallot is translucent, about 2 minutes. Return the mushrooms to the pot, along with any accumulated juices, and cook, tossing, until well combined. Lower the heat to keep warm.

    Step 6

    Meanwhile, add the pasta to the boiling water and cook, stirring occasionally, until very al dente, 2–3 minutes less than the time indicated on the packet. Use a mesh spider to transfer pasta to the pot with the mushrooms, then add 250 ml (8  fl oz/1 cup) of the pasta cooking liquid. Increase the heat to medium and cook, tossing energetically, until a sauce forms that coats the pasta, 2 minutes. Add the 25 g (1 oz/¼ cup) grated cheese, 1 tablespoon lemon juice and another big splash of pasta water and cook, tossing, until cheese is melted and the sauce is clinging to the noodles, 1–2 minutes more. Add a few spoonfuls of herb sauce to the pasta and stir to combine. Serve with remaining herb sauce and more cheese at the table.