Make Ahead

Nigella Lawson's Linguine Pasta with Lemon, Garlic & Thyme Mushrooms

March 21, 2021
19 Ratings
Photo by James Ransom
  • Prep time 10 minutes
  • Cook time 15 minutes
  • Serves 4 to 6
Author Notes

This is a pasta that doesn't expect hand-eye coordination or time management. It's just as happy being served hot, warm, even cold. And all you have to do -- other than boiling pasta -- is put items in a bowl and stir. In other words, it's what you serve when you want to throw a dinner party and come across and blithely, gloriously relaxed as Nigella Lawson always does. She says this is one of her proudest creations. But it's also a pasta that you can happily cook alone, and eat alone until you can't eat any more. Then pack up whatever's left -- for lunch, or tomorrow's dinner, or Saturday's picnic, or a cold midnight snack. Adapted slightly from Nigella Express (Hyperion, 2007). —Genius Recipes

What You'll Need
  • 4 cups (8 ounces) finely sliced cremini or button mushrooms
  • 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon Maldon or kosher salt or 1 1/2 teaspoons table salt
  • 1 small clove garlic, minced
  • 1 lemon, zested and juiced
  • 4 sprigs fresh thyme stripped to give 1 teaspoon leaves
  • 1 pound linguine or other pasta shape
  • 1 bunch fresh flat-leaf parsley, leaves chopped, to give 1/2 cup
  • 2 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan, to taste (up to 3 tablespoons)
  • 1 pinch Freshly ground black pepper
  1. Slice the mushrooms finely, and put them into a large bowl with the oil, salt, garlic, lemon juice and zest, and gorgeously scented thyme leaves.
  2. Cook the pasta according to the packet instructions and drain loosely retaining some water. Quickly put the pasta into the bowl with the mushroom mixture.
  3. Toss everything together well, and then add the parsley, cheese, and pepper before tossing again. Eat with joy in your heart.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Laura Ratliff
    Laura Ratliff
  • Gina Lenzi Oster
    Gina Lenzi Oster
  • Marissa Seto
    Marissa Seto
  • Johnson Chong
    Johnson Chong
  • Donna Hayes
    Donna Hayes
Genius Recipes

Recipe by: Genius Recipes

63 Reviews

NolaRealtor June 22, 2023
This was so good even by picky husband and 4 year old loved it!! So easy and simple to make. Thank you!
kathy C. September 7, 2022
I've been making this for years and it's wonderful every time - just go easy on the salt and careful of the huge lemons!!
Iris July 25, 2021
This dish is quick and simple, yet versatile - it can be made on a whim (dried herbs, anyone?) or with a tiny bit of forethought (give me those fresh herbs!) and makes it on the menu every month or so for the past 4 years. I had a friend remake it a times but with lackluster results so I noted a number of things:

- Do not skimp on the salt and make sure that pasta water is well salted. Also, make a note of what kind of salt you have and pay attention to the numbers on your measuring spoon; sea salt is definitely saltier (I found out the hard way).
- Fresh ingredients/herbs are better but I have successfully used only dry herbs a number of times. Slightly less aromatic but still delicious.
- I cook my mushrooms before adding to the marinade. I often add wilted spinach as well for more veggies. Make sure not to make too much for the amount of marinade you have, or increase the ingredients for the marinade accordingly.
- Easily vegan without cheese - or sub in vegan cheese.
- In theory, it’s easy to double the recipe but I had trouble getting all the pasta evenly seasoned, so I prefer not to for optimal taste.
- I buy the same size lemon from a specific market to get the same taste every time. I once tried another lemon from a different source and ugh. Find that perfect lemon for you and stick with it.
Joan D. March 21, 2021
Pre-COVID, I made this several times; it's the perfect dish for a pot-luck as it is absolutely delicious and can be served at any temperature. (If serving several hours after making it, grate some fresh lemon zest on the top before the final "toss".) I'm looking forward to a post-COVID potluck so I can make this again. If you hear yourself saying "just make it, already, don't wait for a potluck" - you mirror the foodie sitting on my shoulder. I resist the temptation because I'm inclined to devour this dish straight from the mixing bowl; no waiting, no taking to the neighbors, no taking some to a friend and leaving it on the doorstep!
Laura R. May 26, 2019
I always go back to this recipe — which is surprising, given how rarely I like to repeat dishes. But this is a never-fail that I love to make as written, especially when having company over as the header text suggests. It's really an awesome dish.
icharmeat May 21, 2019
i made this tonight and it was pretty darn good. Actually, is was quite delightful and also quite versatile as it can be a hot pasta, a cold pasta salad or anywhere in between plus you can riff on it a bit by adding complementary ingredients (asparagus was mentioned at the table as was our home-canned albacore belly) and still keep the dish quite true.
Pasta like this is a bit out of my wheelhouse so I bucked tradition and actually followed the recipe except used gemelli, as the only strands that I had were capellini and the rotary cheese grater still had pecorino romano loaded in it so i went with that flow. I think i used more than 8 oz crimini mushrooms but i sliced them very thin so that they would at least reach an elevated temp when mixed with the pasta- i think the dish could benefit from more mushrooms if you are slicing very thin (not shaved, but pretty thin- certainly no thicker than the ones in the picture). I think it could take more cheese as well. I've never had a good grasp of measuring grated cheese by volume (a target weight would be really nice for the times i actually try and make a recipe as written). I use a rotary drum grater made for parm and romano that makes very thin curls of cheese when the cheese is of cut-from-the-wheel moisture. i put in about a 1/3 cup of this cheese (lightly pressed into the cup) and i think it could use more.

Ironically, Ovo/lacto pescetarian daughter was the only one in the family that didn't find the recipe to her liking- "too lemony". Boohoo, next time i'll use sausage instead of lemon (joking). She was the reason that I prepared the dish in the first place.

p.s. i also put in more black pepper than "a pinch"- probably 20 twists from a peugeot set on middle setting- 3/8 tsp - scant 1/2 tsp.
2tattered March 21, 2021
Lol - ‘Boohoo’ indeed. Thanks for the laugh!
Tamara D. March 24, 2021
Nigella makes a recipe similar to this one that I've used for years. It's her Lemon Linguine. It's almost carbon copy of this recipe except in the one I use, she uses egg yolks, cream and butter, which I think balances out the lemon so deliciously. In fact, since learning this recipe, I ALWAYS add egg yolk and butter to pasta before mixing it with anything else. It's not as low-fat as this recipe, obviously. But honestly, I don't care. It's pasta. Just exercise more ;)

Anyway, the details in her words:

In a bowl, add the yolks, cream, Parmesan, zest of the whole lemon and juice of half of it, the salt and good grind of pepper, and beat with a fork. You don't want it fluffy, just combined. Taste. If you want it more lemony, then of course add more juice. As soon as the pasta looks ready, remove a cup of the cooking liquid, drain the pasta, and then, off the heat, toss it back in the pot or put it in an efficiently preheated bowl, throw in the butter, and stir and swirl about to make sure the butter's melted and the pasta covered by it all over. Each strand will be only mutely gleaming, as there's not much butter and quite a bit of pasta. If you want to add more, then do; good butter is the best flavoring, best texture, best mood enhancer there is.

When you're satisfied the pasta's covered with its soft slip of butter, then stir in the egg mixture and turn the pasta well in it, adding some of the cooking liquid if it looks a bit dry (only 2 tablespoons or so - you don't want a wet mess - and only after you think the sauce is incorporated). Sprinkle over the parsley [and the other stuff in the recipe on this page] and serve now, now, now.


Tamara D. March 24, 2021
Oh and to be clear... that's 2 eggs, 2/3 c heavy cream, 1 lemon, zested and juiced (plus more juice if needed), 4 tbs (1/2 stick) of butter.
Rosalyn M. May 20, 2019
Made this exactly as written. Excellent - love that you don't have to cook anything except the pasta. Will make again and again!
Gina L. May 8, 2019
Thank you Nigella for this perfect dish. It has become part of the rotation in our household. Fast and homemade. Perfect as is or adapted. I like to add fresh herbs, greens, veggies or sometimes chicken.
MikNik April 14, 2019
I'm not a fan of raw mushrooms, but I make this pretty much as written and I think it is perfect. Made it last night for a dinner party and people wanted the recipe.
Yvonne January 26, 2019
I made this today. I did cook the mushrooms some because I'm sensitive to raw nightshade. I added some asparagus too because I needed to use it up. And extra cheese because I can. Loved this and I'm sure it tastes just as good with raw mushrooms and no asparagus.
2tattered March 21, 2021
‘Nightshade’ = tomato, potato, eggplant etc., but not mushrooms.
Marissa S. January 20, 2019
OBSESSED with this pasta. The only thing we did really differently was to slightly heat the cremini mushrooms in a skillet to get the raw taste out. Don't overcook, just heat them enough so they don't all look dry and raw (no oil necessary in the pan). Add to the bowl, mix everything up with hot pasta noodles and then toss with a lot of good quality freshly grated Parmesan cheese. Made this 3 times in the last month. Sooooooooo good.
Tinab99 January 2, 2019
I am addicted to this delicious but so simple to prepare pasta. Use Cremini mushrooms for more pronounced flavor. I’ve never had the parsley on hand to make it and still loved it.
michelle October 30, 2018
Love, love, love this. I added some sliced grilled chicken because we had unexpected guests and i needed to stretch it. It’s really good either way.
mungo October 14, 2018
Just made this again, and it's so delicious and easy. Just the thing for when you're feeling in a bit of a rut with food/cooking. I usually make adjustments to the ingredients based on what I have on hand, and it always comes out well. But anyone who is cooking the mushrooms is sort of missing the point.
Sydney August 27, 2018
I made this for dinner the other night, substituting thyme for fresh basil. It was a huge hit, especially with my mother. I think next time I won't add parsley though, because I don't like the texture. I absolutely recommend this recipe!
shortnsweet May 26, 2017
halved this, and it worked great. i also used baby bellas--i sauteed them with the garlic in the oil, then mixed them with the lemon juice, zest and oregano before adding the pasta. i also transferred the pasta to the bowl with tongs to make sure i got some pasta water in there--with the oil it made a lovely sauce. next time i'll try it with the mushrooms raw, but it seems like it will be delicious either way.
John O. October 28, 2016
Don't change a thing when you make this! It's perfect as is and the flavors are simple and clean. Thanks Nigella!
Johnson C. October 25, 2016
A modest dish where the ingredients blend exceptionally well. Aroma from the herbs fills my mouth and lingers after finishing. The garlic gives a little sparkling spiciness to it. As with other Food52er here, I put the mushroom in the pan with olive oil to cook it a little first before tossing.
Donna H. September 13, 2016
I love how people say how great the recipe is "after" they change it completely...
Rhonda35 September 13, 2016
Even better is when they complain about it after changing things completely!
Ned August 13, 2016
I followed the recipe. Delicious. Not too lemony at all. I might add some toasted pine nuts next time.