Rigatoni Alla Gricia with Mushroom “Pancetta”

January  7, 2021
1 Ratings
Photo by Andrew Purcell
  • Prep time 30 minutes
  • Cook time 25 minutes
  • Serves 4
Author Notes

Mushrooms, maple syrup, soy sauce, vinegar
Here we have a lineup of perfectly flavor-matched ingredients as well as sweet, sour, salt, and umami working in harmony. The result is shiitake mushrooms that act and taste just like crisp bacon in our vegetarian take on the classic Roman pasta dish.

The maple syrup and soy sauce will mimic the salt and sugar balance of cured pancetta, while the vinegar will soften the mushrooms and keep them from tasting too sweet. These ingredients will also help the mushrooms develop a brown, crispy exterior like pancetta when cooked.

Excerpted from FLAVOR FOR ALL: Everyday Recipes and Creative Pairings© 2020 by James Briscione and Brooke Parkhurst. Photography © 2020 by Andrew Purcell. Reproduced by permission of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. All rights reserved. —Chef James

What You'll Need
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Rigatoni Alla Gricia with Mushroom “Pancetta”
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 teaspoons maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon red wine vinegar
  • 1 pound shiitake mushrooms, cleaned, stems removed and discarded, sliced
  • 8 ounces rigatoni pasta
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • ¼ cups grated pecorino cheese, plus more for serving
  1. Whisk the soy sauce, maple syrup, and vinegar together in a bowl.
  2. Add the mushroom caps and toss well to coat. Leave to marinate at room temperature for 15 minutes, or cover and refrigerate overnight.
  3. Bring a pot of salted water to a boil, and cook the rigatoni according to the package instructions. When the pasta is done, reserve 1 cup of the cooking water before draining the pasta.
  4. Drain the mushrooms well, reserving the marinade, and pat them dry. Heat the olive oil in a large sauté pan over high heat. When the oil begins to shimmer, add the mushrooms to the pan.
  5. Quickly spread them in an even layer and sear them, without stirring, for 1 to 2 minutes, until they are crisp on one side. Stir well and cook 1 to 2 minutes more, until browned on all sides. Add the reserved marinade and continue cooking until all of the liquid has been completely absorbed, about 1 minute more.
  6. Add the cooked pasta and reserved pasta cooking water to the pan and toss well. Cook for 1 minute, then remove the pan from the heat, add the cheese, and stir well. Divide between bowls, top with more cheese, and serve.

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1 Review

DumpsterKitten April 26, 2023
It is a sin that this recipe has 0 reviews. I created a Food52 account just to reivew this dish and bring justice to the world. It's that good. In regular rotation at our
house, this dish is addictingly good, easy to make, and vegetarian. Whaaat?? There is a serious void of chef quality vegetarian meals that are packed with flavor while still attainable for a home cook. This is one of those rare recipes. And it's everything you could ever want out of a pasta dish, meat or no meat. Pair with a simple salad. After your first bite you'll wish you made 10x more.

My cooking notes:

I prefer to double the sauce portion of any pasta recipe, it just works out better for me. Definitely wait to add the cheese once the pasta is plated. We made the mistake of stirring cheese into the pan and it clumps and you'll clean your pan for days. I like to reserve some of the seared mushrooms before adding the liquid, this keeps them extra cripsy and you can add them to the top with cheese.