This trendy miso mushroom pasta is an umami-forward dish featuring an irresistible combination of garlic, butter, mushrooms, miso paste and Parmigiano Reggiano. A touch of plain Greek yogurt imparts a bit of tang to cut the richness so that it sits in that perfect zone of being luscious without being heavy. Besides, the little protein bump from Greek yogurt in a meatless dish like this is bonus. While you can absolutely make this pasta with just one type of mushroom, using a mix of three or more varieties introduces varying flavours and textures that make this dish sing with a little bit more resonance.
Note: Miso paste is staple in Japanese cuisine, made through a process of fermenting soy beans with salt, koji and often other ingredients such as rice. There is white, yellow and red miso paste. For this recipe, use white or yellow miso paste. Red miso paste will be too strong. You will find miso paste at all East Asian supermarkets and increasingly at conventional supermarkets as well. They tend to be next to the tofu in a refrigerated section close to produce.
Fill a large pot with 3 quarts of water for cooking pasta and bring to a boil. Prep and ready all ingredients.
Separately, heat a large Dutch oven or heavy-bottom pot over medium heat to sauté the mushrooms. Be sure to sauté the mushrooms in batches to avoid over-crowding which results in steaming rather than browning. I suggest searing this amount of mushrooms in 3 batches. Hold off salting until the end to avoid drawing moisture out while you’re trying to brown them.
Once water has come to a boil, season generously with salt and cook pasta according to package direction for al dente less 1 minute. Depending on your pasta type, time this to be ready when mushrooms are finished browning.
For each batch of mushrooms, add a small drizzle of oil along with one piece of butter. Add ⅓ of the mushrooms and sear until edges are browned. Be patient, don’t move mushrooms around constantly and let them get seared. Season with salt and set aside. Repeat with remaining 2 batches of mushrooms. Set all aside.
Lower heat to low. Add last 2 pieces of butter and minced garlic. Sauté a few seconds for garlic to turn golden but being quick so as not to burn it. Add miso paste and milk. Whisk well. Scoop ½ cup of water from pasta pot and add to miso milk mixture. Whisk. Add reserved mushrooms. Simmer on very low to heat mushrooms back through.
By now the pasta should be done. Do not discard the pasta water — use tongs to transfer cooked pasta directly into mushroom sauce. Add another ½ cup of pasta water, Greek yogurt and grated cheese. Mix thoroughly to coat. Cook one minute more to absorb liquid and thicken a bit. Add splashes more pasta water if needed to adjust consistency. Taste and season with salt only if needed — I don’t as the miso adds enough saltiness for me. Serve immediately. Sprinkle optional green garnish over top.