Stir-Fry

Miso-Mushroom Pasta

by:
May  1, 2021
65 Ratings
Photo by Jenny Huang
Author Notes

A while back, I worked at Table & Apron, a produce-driven restaurant set in the sleepy suburbs of Kuala Lumpur. During my time there, I fondly remember serving up many super jazzy Asian-influenced dishes. Think lemongrass-brined fried chicken, pork ribs with a kicap manis glaze, and fern salads laced with fish sauce and calamansi. All these dishes were amazing in their own right, but the one dish that I kept sneaking mouthfuls of during service (I call it quality control) was this funky, creamy mushroom pasta—with miso!

Besides its alliterative allure, miso and mushrooms are two umami-heavy flavors that are often employed to uplift any dish. So when put together, they work in tandem and complement each other so well, creating a massive umami bomb that leaves you salivating for more.

At the restaurant, we start off by tempering the miso with butter and cream, giving it the form of a rich, funky sauce. The mushrooms, a classic ingredient in creamy pasta dishes, are then sautéed and added to this creamy base. The third component of the dish—the pasta—serves as a vessel for the mushrooms and sauce to adhere to. So the more sauce you manage to get onto your pasta, the better.

Even after eating countless bowls of this pasta at the restaurant, I never seem to tire of it, and it really has become my ultimate comfort food. And it isn’t just me who is obsessed with this dish. At the restaurant, this umami-laden pasta is the second most popular dish, dwarfed only by their fried chicken—because, well, it’s fried chicken.

Contrary to the belief that restaurant-quality dishes require incredible finesse to cook and take hours to prep, all that's needed for this miso pasta is 30 minutes and a few simple steps. With just three straightforward components—sautéed mushrooms, a miso sauce, and pasta—the key lies in the proper treatment of each component, cooking them with the utmost care and respect and allowing their flavors to really develop and shine.

During my time at Table & Apron, I’ve picked up three important tips that can elevate this dish to restaurant-worthy status:

First, when sautéing the mushrooms, it’s crucial to not overcrowd the pan. Treat each piece of mushroom like you would a steak. You want to have a bit of space in between each piece of mushroom, giving it a nice golden sear, as opposed to having a mound of mushrooms in the pan which would give you soggy, steamed pieces of fungi.

Then, for the miso cream sauce, it helps to whip the butter with the miso paste until it becomes a smooth, almost fluffy paste. This ensures you don’t end up with big, salty lumps of miso speckled throughout the dish, and makes it a whole lot easier for the sauce to emulsify later on.

And finally, the pasta. Most sauce-based pasta recipes expect you to know exactly how many minutes it requires you to make the sauce, so that you can time your pasta to finish cooking just as your sauce comes together. Otherwise, the pasta will turn cold as you’re still busy prepping the sauce, in which case you’d proceed to reheat it in the sauce and probably end up with gloopy, overcooked pasta. There’s an easy solution to this that doesn’t require you to be a chef version of Dr. Strange: Cut down the pasta cooking time by a minute or two. Though the pasta will have a tad more bite than the revered al dente, once the sauce comes together, you can add the pasta in and put it on the heat for a little longer for that final bit of cooking.

Et voila! You’ll end up with a beautiful sauce and perfectly cooked pasta. —Jun

  • Prep time 10 minutes
  • Cook time 20 minutes
  • Serves 2
Ingredients
  • 7 ounces dried pasta, such as bucatini
  • 4 ounces mushrooms (I use an equal mix of shimeji, eryngii, and oyster mushrooms, but most other combinations are good too)
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon sherry vinegar, or white wine vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons red miso paste
  • 3 tablespoons butter, softened
  • 5 garlic cloves
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1 stalk of scallion, finely sliced
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 1 pinch black pepper
In This Recipe
Directions
  1. Bring a large pot of water to a rolling boil. Season generously with salt until it's nearly as salty as the sea, then add dried pasta. Cook the pasta until just under al dente (a minute less than on its package directions), then drain the pasta and set aside.
  2. Chop or pull apart the mushrooms into large, bite-sized chunks. Then, heat a large skillet over high heat with a tablespoon of vegetable oil, and sauté the mushrooms for 3-5 minutes until nicely browned. When they are done, add a little sherry vinegar to the pan with the mushrooms, give them a little toss, and set aside. It’s best to cook the mushrooms in 2-3 batches and not overcrowd the pan to allow them to brown evenly.
  3. To start on the sauce, whisk the red miso paste and butter together in a small bowl until it comes together to form a smooth, fluffy paste.
  4. In a medium saucepan, add the minced garlic and a tablespoon of oil, and stir-fry over medium heat for 30 seconds to a minute until fragrant. Add in the sautéed mushrooms. Then, add in the miso-butter mixture and cream, and bring this sauce to a boil, stirring gently. Finally, add the cooked pasta into the sauce, and stir until the pasta is well coated. Salt it to taste, and cook for 1-2 minutes until the pasta is al dente, then remove from the heat.
  5. Portion the pasta into two bowls, and top with sliced scallions and freshly cracked black pepper.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

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88 Reviews

Katie May 18, 2021
Yum - so easy and delicious. I used sweet white miso bc it’s all I had on hand - upped it to 4ish tsps and a splash of soy sauce to make up for the flavor. Add some asparagus and topped with toasted walnuts, it was a dreamy dish.
 
salena April 24, 2021
Wonderful, very filling side dish for two. I used what I had: 6 oz of a dried fettucine-type pasta, 1/2 cup of light cream, and about 2 oz of snow peas and a few small asparagus spears (peas and asparagus blanched). Everything else as in the recipe. I had everything ready to go while I readied my entree and then this came together quickly in a large saucepan. My husband didn't think we'd have enough to eat (the entree was skate) but this dish made us feel like we were dining out in Italy (despite the miso, my most favorite ingredient).
 
tastysweet March 17, 2021
Does anyone know an easy way to print just the recipe?
 
Pepijn April 14, 2021
Next to save and also review (below the picture) there’s a print option. Then you can either download the page that opened and print it or print the entire page (file > print on macbook)
 
Alison C. February 16, 2021
This is so yummy! I didn’t have long pasta, so I made it with whole wheat penne. I forgot the get butter to room temp, so I mixed the heavy cream with the butter and miso with an immersion blender. My toddler gobbled up the mushrooms.
 
AJ February 8, 2021
creamy, unami-ie, carby, yum
 
NXL February 2, 2021
So easy and delicious. I only had white miso. Also had some roasted garlic cloves in the freezer, so used those. Wonderful with a glass of red wine on a Friday night.
 
Dany January 8, 2021
This was amazing although I took several liberties to reduce saturated fat. I browned the mushrooms in a dry pan, used olive oil butter instead of butter, and also half and half instead of heavy cream. To thicken the sauce I added a teaspoon of cornstarch to 1/4 cup of pasta water that I saved before draining the pasta. I also used whole wheat spaghetti which complimented the flavors. Thanks for the recipe; it was easy and delicious.
 
Peter C. December 26, 2020
This was so good! I will make it again and again.
 
Julie December 24, 2020
Awesome. Used white miso and added ginger, shrimp, and asparagus and it turned out awesome. Thx!
 
cazzzac July 6, 2020
That was... absolutely... glorious.

Added aubergine and a little extra miso to mine. Going to be a house staple from now on :)
 
RoundLake C. May 17, 2020
Fantastic recipe! I bought a bagful of wild mushrooms at the farmers market and made this for dinner last night. It was a mouthful of heaven!
 
RoundLake C. May 17, 2020
Fantastic recipe! I bought a bagful of wild mushrooms at the farmers market and made this for dinner last night. It was a mouthful of heaven!
 
Nicole May 16, 2020
a new comfort food dish!
only made one sub of shallots for the garlic
 
Sam April 6, 2020
This recipe was wonderful - the miso butter is fantastic. Great savory, umami flavor and the cream really makes it tops.

I'm planning to carry the miso butter along in my back pocket for the next time I fry up some eggs.

Notes: added chopped kale for a boost (sauteed with the mushrooms) and used half and half instead of milk because that's what I had on hand. Lastly, I sauteed the garlic in the miso butter a bit longer to get a nice caramelized texture.

One of the best recipes in a while!
 
lynne April 7, 2020
You know what else is amazing? Marmite butter.
 
Queezle_Sister April 1, 2020
What a terrific recipe! I purchased mushrooms for our covid-19 quarantine, but with no specific plan. I adapted this recipe by using white miso instead of red, soy milk instead of cream, and chives instead of scallions. Oh and I also used angel-hair pasta. This was amazing! Satisfying!

I am no fan of pasta, but I actually had seconds. I will keep this recipe in mind, as it will be easy to continue to riff on it - e.g. by adding asparagus.
 
Naomi March 12, 2020
Wanted to use up some white miso I already had and I thought it was a fine substitute for red. I used mirin rice wine instead of sherry vinegar. Lovely, easy and tasty and lots of add-ins would work great since it's basically an easy cream sauce.
 
Gloria February 6, 2020
LOVE this dish. I have made it twice in 2 weeks. First go round, I followed the recipe pretty much as is. Second time, I made some minor tweaks for personal preference by increasing the miso to 1 tablespoon, decreasing the garlic to 4 cloves, and adding some reserved pasta water. I used maitake mushrooms both times and had no problem searing them all at once in 1 batch. This is definitely a keeper.
 
Merry March 10, 2020
We just tried this and also found the miso needed (for our tastes) to be increased and the garlic decreased. We did double the sherry vinegar after sampling and used some of the pasta water to thin things down. Great recipe and leftovers to enjoy.
 
Laura December 12, 2019
This is delicious. Easy to prepare and I like the comments to add vegetables to this. Definitely a keeper!
 
Carol B. March 17, 2019
Great recipe. So easy and very adjustable. Only had white miso and substituted half and half for the cream. Also added shrimp (for my husband's sake). Next time I will add broccoli and/or other vegetables. Recipe is a "keeper".
 
Krispyecca February 24, 2019
Very tasty and a new regular in my rotation. The sauce ends up being quite thick when I make up, so I reserve some pasta water to add at the end. This probably cuts the richness too.