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Mushroom and Cottage Cheese Pasta Recipe

This low-effort, intensely flavored pasta dish highlights the earthiness of mushrooms. First, the mushrooms are cooked to release moisture and to concentrate their flavor, then they are puréed into a velvety sauce. Cremini mushrooms are an excellent choice because they are accessible and have a bold mushroom taste, but other varieties also work. For even more mushroom flavor, add a few shiitake mushrooms or a small handful of rehydrated dried porcinis. Cottage cheese is perhaps the most under appreciated of the supermarket fresh cheeses. The curds melt through this pasta to add a feathery light, mildly sweet creaminess. 

Total Time: 30 minutes | Servings: 4 to 6


  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1½ pounds cremini mushrooms, cleaned, trimmed and roughly chopped (about 6 cups)
  • 1 yellow or red onion, roughly chopped (about 2 cups)
  • Kosher salt and black pepper
  • 6 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
  • 1 pound short pasta, such as rigatoni, penne or cavatappi
  • 1 cup full-fat cottage cheese, plus more for serving
  • ½ lemon
  • 1 teaspoon red-pepper flakes (or to taste)
  • Handful of parsley leaves, finely chopped


  1. Heat a large (12-inch) skillet over medium-high. Drizzle with the olive oil and add the mushrooms, onion, 1 teaspoon salt and a big pinch of pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the mushrooms have released some of their liquid, 4 to 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook, stirring for another 7 to 8 minutes, until the mushrooms are completely soft, and golden in parts, and the liquid has cooked away. Turn off the heat.
  2. Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the pasta and cook according to package instructions. Reserve 3 cups of the pasta cooking water, then drain the cooked pasta. Return the pasta to the pot.
  3. Transfer the mushroom mixture to a blender or food processor and add 2 cups of the pasta cooking water. (Keep the rest, in case you need more to loosen the sauce.) Blend until silky. Taste, and add a touch more salt and pepper, if needed.
  4. Pour the mushroom sauce onto the pasta, add the cottage cheese and toss to coat the pasta.
  5. To serve, squeeze over some lemon juice; top with red-pepper flakes and chopped parsley. Finish with an additional dollop of cottage cheese, if you like.

By Hetty Lui McKinnon / New York Times Cooking


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