Bacon and Mushroom Creamy Pasta

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What is better to satisfy cravings and indulge at the same time without breaking the bank and cooking for hours. Let me tell you about this creamy bacon and mushroom pasta recipe.

bacon and mushroom pasta in a serving dish, small dish with fresh thyme

Quick and easy to make pasta dish, that does not require special equipment and will leave your taste buds craving more and belly satisfied. 

Delicious, comforting and saucy. This creamy pasta a la carbonara will be on regular rotation at your home. Noodles of your choice, crispy smoked bacon and velvety, cream based sauce. I know you are drooling already. 

pasta on a dinner plate, fork and spoon, glass of water and small dish with shredded cheese

Why you will love this Bacon and Mushroom Creamy Pasta?

Well, what is not to love here? Creamy, thick sauce, smoked, homemade crispy bacon, and umami flavor packed mushrooms! All done in about 30 minutes. Few carefully selected ingredients, combined together deliver flavor you will be craving over and over again. 

This pasta dish is also very versatile. You can skip the bacon and use butter to cook the mushrooms and onions in. You can use different types and combinations of mushrooms to elevate the umami flavor of this dish. Also when it comes to the selection of noodles, use whatever you have in your pantry. Make it fun, experiment. 

This Creamy Pasta is best when eaten hot and freshly made. Need to feed a small crowd, this is your dish! All will be gone in one sitting!

Ingredients, Variations and Substitutions to make Bacon and Mushroom Creamy Pasta

ingredients for bacon nd mushroom pasta

Pasta – store bought rigatoni, penne, spaghetti or fettuccine will work great in this dish.  Here are some tips:

  • Noodles shaped with ridges, like penne or rigatoni, are sauce magnets! The nooks and crannies in them will catch and hold onto the sauce.
  • Long, flat noodles such as linguine or spaghetti pair very well with Alfredo Fettuccini or Carbonara

Remember to cook the pasta al dente, (firm to the bite). We don’t want a mushy, falling apart pasta. We need a good, firm texture that will hold its shape under the creamy sauce.

Freshly made pasta has a more porous surface, allowing it to absorb sauce better. Dried pasta, on the other hand, has a firmer texture, which can hold up well to thicker sauces.

When combining pasta and sauce, toss them together in the pan for a minute or two. This ensures every strand or shape gets a good coating.
bacon close up

Bacon – I used homemade smoked bacon, but any kind of store bought will work. Look for a good quality bacon, the important part is the fat to meat ratio. We need the bacon fat to add delicious flavor to this dish and cook mushrooms and onions in. We also want to enjoy the meat pieces in every bite of the pasta. Pancetta is a wonderful substitute for bacon.

Cheese – Pecorino Romano or Parmigiano Reggiano are traditionally used when making Carbonara; you can use one or the other or combination of both. You can also use freshly grated parmesan cheese.  

closeup of oyster mushrooms

Mushrooms – I used Italian Oyster mushrooms, just because they were recommended to me by my local farmer. Oyster mushrooms have a complex, savory flavor. It is described as subtly woody or like seafood. No, your dish will not taste like seafood. The mushrooms have a high level of umami flavor similar to that of real oysters.  Cremini mushrooms or white button mushrooms will work great as well. If you use Portobello kind, make sure to cut them into bite size pieces. 

How to prepare mushrooms:

  • To clean the mushrooms gently wipe each one using a damp cloth or paper towel. Alternatively you can use a soft brush to remove any dirt. Brush in a downward motion to avoid pushing dirt into the gills
  • Only trim the very end of the stems if they look dry or discolored. Keep the stems intact, as they contribute to the overall flavor.
  • Avoid submerging the mushrooms in water. They will absorb all that moisture and become soggy. Their texture and flavor may be compromised.  

Heavy Whipping Cream and milk – as we are not using eggs in this dish, we need both to make the sauce creamy and thick; you can substitute with half and half. 

Broth – chicken broth or vegetable broth of your choice; either one will add great flavor to the dish; if not available use white wine or water, but really broth is preferable.

Onion – medium size, white or yellow; you can optionally use leeks, or shallots but they may alter the flavor of the dish; 

Fresh herbs, aromatics – fresh parsley, thyme, and rosemary pair perfectly with this pasta dish. If possible, use fresh, organic herbs. If you don’t have fresh herbs, sub with organic dried type. Recommended conversion: 1 tbsp fresh herbs = 1 tsp dried herbs

pasta in a serving dish, small bowl with shredded parmesan cheese

Garlic – freshly pressed minced garlic is best for a creamy garlic sauce, but you can also use garlic powder, ¼ to ½ tsp, based on your preference. 

Salt, pepper – both are very important in this dish. We don’t want bland noodles. Freshly ground black pepper is a crucial element in Carbonara. It adds a punchy flavor that balances the richness of the sauce.

Reserved Pasta Water – don’t forget to keep at least one cup after you are done cooking the pasta. Pasta water is this secret ingredient, it adds flavor, thickens the sauce, and helps the sauce stick to the noodles. I also use the pasta water when reheating any leftovers. (which you really should not have)

pasta on a dinner plate, fork and spoon, glass of water and small dish with shredded cheese

Equipment you will need:

  • Large pan for cooking the pasta
  • Large heavy bottom saucepan
  • Large cast iron pan
  • Measuring cups and spoons
  • Slotted Spoon
  • Cutting board  
  • Chef’s knife
  • Cheese grater
  • Colander or fine mesh sieve
  • Tongs for the final toss

 Tips for success when making this pasta dish!

  • Cook the pasta al dente. Watch carefully the timing and texture. Remember you will cook the noodles again after combining them with the sauce. 
  • Add salt to boiling water. This ensures the salt is dissolved and evenly distributed throughout the cooking process. It is recommended to add 1 to 1.5 tbsp of salt per pound of pasta.
  • Reserve at least one cup of the pasta water! Its starch content helps bind the sauce and pasta together.
  • Because we are not using eggs, the combination of cream, milk and cheese is very important. Freshly grated cheese works best!
  • Bacon, cook it crispy. The contrast of the crunchy bacon against the smooth, creamy pasta is a delightful sensation.
  • Tossing – when combining the cooked pasta with the sauce, use tongs to toss them together thoroughly. This ensures every noodle is coated evenly in that smooth, creamy sauce.

Step by step instructions to make mushroom and bacon pasta

  1. Preheat the saucepan over medium heat. Add the chopped bacon and cook until crispy. This texture pairs great with creamy carbonara sauce.
  2. Fill large pan with water, bring to boil add salt and pasta. Cook al dente.
  3. Using a slotted spoon remove the bacon from the pan. Add diced onion and cook for 2-3 minutes. 
  4. Add garlic and mushrooms and cook until they are tender.
  5. Add all the liquids: broth, cream and milk. Stir to combine.
  6. Cook for a few minutes and add bacon and herbs.
  7. Now it is time to add the cooked pasta. Reduce the heat to low and cook, stirring frequently to ensure even coating of the noodles. 
  8. Served the mushroom and bacon pasta hot, garnished with freshly grated cheese and more herbs
pasta in a serving dish, small bowl with shredded parmesan cheese

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Storage and reheating instructions

  • Refrigeration:
    • transfer to an airtight container once it has cooled to room temperature. Refrigerate promptly to prevent bacterial growth.
    • If possible store pasta and sauce separately
    • Use within 3-4 days for optimal freshness.
  • Reheating:
    • Stovetop: Place pasta in a saucepan and reheat over low to medium heat. Stir occasionally to ensure even warming. 
    • If the pasta becomes a bit dry in the refrigerator, you can refresh it by tossing it in a bit of olive oil or adding a splash of broth before reheating
    • Microwave: always use microwave – safe container; reheat in short intervals, stirring in between to distribute the heat
    • Place a damp paper towel over the pasta to help prevent it from drying out.
    • Stovetop: use a saucepan on the stovetop over low to medium heat. If the pasta seems a bit dry, add a small amount of broth or cream to revive the moisture.
  • Freezing:
    • Portion the pasta into freezer-safe containers.
    • Use within 2 months for the best quality and taste.  
  • Thawing Frozen Pasta: thaw it in the refrigerator overnight.
  • Keep in mind:
    • Cream-based sauces may separate upon thawing, leading to a change in texture. The flavor should still be enjoyable.
    • The texture of the pasta might also be affected. Pasta can absorb liquids, and freezing can contribute to a softer texture.
    • Use an airtight container or heavy-duty freezer bag to minimize exposure to air, which can help preserve the quality of the dish.
  • Reheating: Reheat gently on the stovetop, adding a bit of cream or broth to adjust the consistency if needed.

pasta in a serving dish, small bowl with shredded parmesan cheese

Bacon and Mushroom Creamy Pasta Recipe

Sylwia Vaclavek
Satisfy your cravings and indulge at the same time without spending hours in the kitchen. This quick to make Creamy Pasta with Bacon and Mushrooms will quickly become your favorite. Smooth creamy sauce, crunchy bacon and umami packed mushrooms. Perfect flavor and texture combination.
No ratings yet
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 35 minutes
Total Time 50 minutes
Course Dinner, Main Course
Cuisine American, Italian
Servings 4
Calories 580 kcal

Equipment

  • 1 large pan for cooking the pasta
  • 1 large saucepan
  • 1 measuring cups
  • 1 measuring spoons
  • 1 cheese grater
  • 1 cutting board
  • 1 chef's knife
  • 1 colander
  • 1 slotted spoon
  • 1 tongs for the final toss

Ingredients
  

  • 10 slices of bacon chopped
  • 8 oz of mushrooms I used Italian Oyster
  • 1 package of pasta Rigatoni
  • salt, pepper use to taste
  • 1 small onion diced
  • 3 cloves of garlic minced
  • 1 cup of heavy whipping cream
  • 1 cup of milk
  • 1 cup of broth
  • ½ cup parmesan cheese or pecorino romano grated
  • 3 tbsp fresh herbs thyme, rosemary

Instructions
 

  • Prepare the ingredients, slice the bacon, clean and cut the mushrooms; chop the onion, mince the garlic and shred the cheese.
  • In a large pot bring water to boil. Add salt, pasta and cook according to the package instructions, al dente. Drain (keep one cup of pasta water) and set aside.
  • Preheat a large pot over medium heat. Add the bacon, cook until golden brown and crispy. Using a slotted spoon remove the cooked bacon from the pan.
  • To the same pan add onion and cook for a few minutes, until translucent.
  • Add garlic, mushrooms, broth, heavy whipping cream, milk and bacon. Stir to combine. Bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 5-7 minutes to let the flavors combine and the sauce thicken. Add herbs and spices.
  • Slowly add the cooked pasta and cook all together on low heat for another 10 minutes.
  • Serve immediately. Garnish with parmesan cheese and fresh herbs

Notes

    • Cook the pasta al dente. Watch carefully the timing and texture. Remember you will cook the noodles again after combining them with the sauce. 
    • Reserve at least one cup of the pasta water! Its starch content helps bind the sauce and pasta together.
    • Bacon, cook it crispy. The contrast of the crunchy bacon against the smooth, creamy pasta is a delightful sensation.
    • Tossing – when combining the cooked pasta with the sauce, use tongs to toss them together thoroughly. This ensures every noodle is coated evenly in that smooth, creamy sauce.

Nutrition

Serving: 1.5cupCalories: 580kcalCarbohydrates: 13gProtein: 20gFat: 50gSaturated Fat: 25gPolyunsaturated Fat: 5gMonounsaturated Fat: 17gTrans Fat: 0.1gCholesterol: 125mgSodium: 1050mgPotassium: 418mgFiber: 1gSugar: 6gVitamin A: 1355IUVitamin C: 7mgCalcium: 244mgIron: 1mg
Keyword bacon, carbonara, cheese, creamy, mushrooms, noodles, pasta, sauce
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Bacon and Mushroom Creamy Pasta Recipe Conclusion

This Bacon and Mushroom Creamy Pasta recipe offers not only a delightful and indulgent dining experience but also a convenient and budget-friendly option for satisfying your cravings. Its simplicity and quick preparation makes it an ideal choice for those who want a delicious meal without spending hours in the kitchen.

What makes this dish truly lovable is its combination of perfectly cooked pasta, a luscious creamy sauce, the smoky goodness of homemade bacon, and the rich umami flavor of mushrooms. All of this comes together in just about 30 minutes, making it a recipe you’ll want to revisit time and time again.

Moreover, the versatility of this pasta dish allows for various adaptations. You can opt for a bacon-free version using butter to sauté the mushrooms and onions. Experimenting with different mushroom varieties can also elevate the umami factor, while your choice of noodles can add a fun twist to the dish.

pasta in a serving dish, small bowl with shredded parmesan cheese

Bacon and Mushroom Creamy Pasta Recipe FAQs

Questions about this Bacon and Mushroom Creamy Pasta? Check out the FAQs below. If you have any other questions, please leave a comment below and I’ll get back to you asap.

How can I store the leftovers?

You can store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for 3-4 days. Click HERE for more storage and reheating instructions.

Do I need to use eggs to make the sauce?

The egg is used in the traditional Carbonara dish. In this recipe we made the sauce using cream and milk, which is a great and equally delicious option. 

Can I freeze the leftovers?

In general it is not recommended to freeze this pasta due to the nature of its creamy sauce. The sauce may separate and become grainy after freezing and lose its original smooth texture. You could try to vacuum seal the pasta, freeze it and reheat it using sous vide. 

My pasta is dry? What can I do?

If you saved some of the pasta water, you can add it back to the dish to loosen up the sauce. You can also add more cream or milk. Add a splash at the time, stir together and keep cooking on low heat. Click HERE for more top tips.

What is the best way to reheat this pasta dish?

To reheat this dish, place the leftovers in a saucepan and cook over low heat for 5 – 10 minutes. Add a splash of cream to regain the creaminess of the sauce. Toss a few times to combine and reheat evenly. Click HERE for more tips.

What kind of cheese should I use in this dish?

Pecorino Romano is traditionally use when making creamy sauce. Great alternatives are Parmigiano Reggiano or parmesan.

Why should I keep some of the pasta water?

The pasta water is your golden ticket and a joker card at the same time. It can fix almost anything 🙂 It adds flavor and richness to the sauce, it can help thicken it and the best part it helps the sauce stick to the pasta!

What can I do if I forgot to save the pasta water?

Keep CALM! Your dish is not ruined. If you need to adjust the consistency of the sauce you can use water, chicken broth or cream. Start by adding one tablespoon, while keeping on low heat. Stir to combine and continue cooking. I would recombed broth over water as it has great flavor that will complement the dish. You can also use it when reheating leftovers

What if I don’t have heavy whipping cream?

No worries, you can use milk or half and half.

I don’t have fresh herbs, can I used dried ones instead?

YES. Here are few tips when using dried herbs.

  • Whenever possible use organic herbs, from reputable source.
  • Read the label, it should only state the name of the herbs. Avoid purchasing dried herbs with additives like artificial flavor or color or preservatives.
  • Make sure they are not expired.
  • Keep in mind the flavor of dried herbs is more concentrated. Most frequently used conversion: 1 tbsp fresh herbs = 1 tsp dried herbs
  • Concentration of flavor varies by individual herbs. Rosemary, Oregano, Thyme, Sage, Bay Leaves, are known to be more intense in flavor in the dried version. If you are not sure, start by adding 1/2 teaspoon, stir to incorporate with the dish and taste. Keep adding until you achieve the flavor you like best.

Can I wash the mushrooms before using?

Washing of the mushrooms is not recommended. They will absorb water and become mushy. Click HERE to read more about mushroom preparation

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