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.
Whisk the soy sauce, maple syrup, and vinegar together in a bowl.
Add the mushroom caps and toss well to coat. Leave to marinate at room temperature for 15 minutes, or cover and refrigerate overnight.
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.
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.
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.
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.