Turn your oyster mushrooms into something special with this pasta recipe! Oyster mushrooms are roasted to a crisp with seasoned crumb topping, and added to a bowl of creamy blue cheese pasta for a deliciously decadent vegetarian dinner. If you aren’t sure what to do with oyster mushrooms, this is a great starting point.
Oh, this pasta. It took me a year (yes A YEAR) to get this recipe to feel “done”, and I do believe we’ve landed on something pretty special.
I was a little obsessed with getting this recipe right because a) oyster mushrooms seem hard to track down these days, are often sold out, and are getting more expensive, so if you have them? Do something amazing please! and b) mushroom pasta is a fairly obvious vegetarian meal and I’ve done some fairly classic takes on it already (mushroom pesto pasta? creamy mushroom pasta?) delicious but, y’know, not ground breaking. I wanted to do something fun today.
Why oyster mushrooms are so great
Mushrooms are brilliant in all of their forms, but I enjoy cooking with oyster mushrooms for a couple of reasons:
- They are not just a uniform mushroom shape, they have bigger and smaller pieces all together, they have thicker middles and thinner ends, and so you aren’t getting a pan of uniform mushroom slices or caps. You just get so much more variety of texture. Note that sometimes you can buy them as clusters, which is what I did and why I have such a range of large and small pieces, and other times you buy a pack which has already been separated out, and they do usually aim to make those more uniform.
- They don’t bring a strong flavor though, so we get to add it in, which makes them super adaptable. My last oyster mushroom recipe (Oyster Mushroom & Chickpea Tacos) leaned into Asian fusion flavors, whereas this one brings Mediterranean flavors, and it’s all good, it all works.
This has a nice and easy workflow where mushrooms roast in the oven, we make a simple pasta while they’re in the oven, we put it all together, and dinner is served. Let’s take a look:
The Roasted Oyster Mushrooms + Pesto + Italian Spiced Breadcrumbs
The oyster mushrooms are incredibly flavorful thanks to being coated in red pesto (a genius shortcut to intense flavor) and then given a little herby breadcrumb topping. I didn’t want them fully breaded, because the mushrooms already get so crisp, but this extra little something carried some new flavors into the dish that were appreciated.
The Very Simple Blue Cheese Pasta Base
We’re giving a lot of our energy to the mushrooms, so the base needed to be easy. It’s a simple creamy blue cheese sauce which comes together in the same dish as the pasta, once it’s drained, rather than needing to be made as an additional component. You can put it all together while the mushrooms roast.
Oyster Mushroom Pasta : Top Tips for Success
- Oyster mushrooms are, clearly, the headline ingredient here, but as I mentioned before their availability in some parts of the world seems a little off right now. If you don’t have any, you could swap in another mushroom – I’d just recommend something that isn’t too pungent because we’re adding so much flavor, we want something mild.
- Please use some judgement when it comes to the quantities of blue cheese and cream for the sauce. It will differ based on the blue cheese you use and how soft or hard it is, there can also be some variation with different pasta shapes. Start with the amount given, and just add more if it’s looking dry. Err on the side of saucier, because it does dry out quite quickly.
- Parsley is optional and can be replaced with basil, chives or any other fresh herbs you fancy.
Oyster Mushroom & Blue Cheese Pasta
- 300 g (10 oz) oyster mushrooms
- 1 Tbsp red pesto
- 300 g (10 oz) spaghetti or linguine
- 4 Tbsp single cream or half and half, approximate – you may want more for a saucier result
- 100 g (3.5 oz) crumbled blue cheese, up to 150g for a stronger taste
- 2 Tbsp grated parmesan / pecorino cheese, for topping
- 1 handful fresh parsley, or other fresh herbs
- 5 Tbsp Breadcrumbs
- 1 tsp Italian seasoning
- 1 tsp fennel seeds
- ½ tsp smoked paprika
- 2 tsp olive oil
- Preheat the oven to 220C / 410F.
- Mix the breadcrumbs, smoked paprika, fennel seeds and Italian seasoning together in a small bowl. Add the olive oil and mix through.
- Place the oyster mushrooms in a large bowl, and toss with the red pesto until each mushroom has a light coating of it. Spread the mushrooms across a lightly oiled baking sheet, making sure to space them out as much as possible. Spray or drizzle with additional olive oil, and place in the oven.
- Set the pasta cooking according to package instructions.
- After 10-15 minutes in the oven, the mushrooms should be starting to brown around the edges. Remove from the oven, flip them over and scatter the breadcrumbs on top before replacing in the oven for another 10 minutes. (You can spritz additional oil over the breadcrumbs if you wish – this give you a crispier result but it's not essential)
- Drain the pasta, reserving a cup full of pasta cooking water before you drain it.
- Add the blue cheese, parsley and cream to the pan and then the pasta. Toss over a low heat to ensure the melting cheese coats the pasta. Add additional cream, or small splashes of the pasta cooking water as needed, if the pasta mixture is too sticky or too dry. If the pasta needs to sit for a while waiting for the mushrooms to be ready, it will likely dry out a little and need a top-up of cream or pasta cooking water.
- Serve the pasta into bowls and add the oyster mushrooms on top.
- Garnish with grated parmesan / pecorino or herbs as desired.