Pasta with Caramelized Mushrooms and Crispy Prosciutto

Pasta with caramelized mushrooms and crispy prosciutto is an easy weeknight dinner that delivers earthy and salty tastes, along with a healthy helping of garlic. The combination of flavors is layer upon rich layer of umami .

A pink bowl of short pasta with mushrooms, prosciutto, and Parmesan cheese on a placemat with a fork.

Adapted from Sheela Prakash | Mediterranean Every Day | Harvard Common Press, 2020

Mushrooms are one of my favorite ingredients to toss into a pasta dish because of how much meatiness they add. By opting for bite-size quarters instead of thin slices, they’re easier to grab with a forkful of pasta and they match the pasta’s al dente-ness. Although sautéing them is well and good, here I up both their flavor and texture by caramelizing them. To caramelize the mushrooms, sear them in batches to give them the space needed to develop a deep, golden-brown crust, which really helps draw out their umami-rich flavor.–Sheela Prakash

Pasta with Caramelized Mushrooms and Crispy Prosciutto

A pink bowl of short pasta with mushrooms, prosciutto, and Parmesan cheese on a placemat with a fork.

Add plenty of garlic and thyme to the pasta and caramelized mushrooms, along with crispy shards of prosciutto for good measure and the result is a savory, earthy pasta that’s easy to love.

Sheela Prakash

Prep 10 mins

Cook 20 mins

Total 30 mins

  • Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.
  • Heat a large, high-sided sauté pan or skillet over medium heat. Add 2 prosciutto slices to the pan, in a single layer, and cook until they curl and are lightly browned underneath, 2 to 3 minutes. Flip prosciutto and cook until browned on the other side, 2 to 3 minutes more. Move prosciutto to a paper towel-lined plate and repeat with remaining 2 slices.
  • Pour 1 tablespoon of oil into the pan. Add half the mushrooms in a single layer (try to get as many cut-side down as you can), cook undisturbed until browned well on the bottom but not fully cooked, 3 to 5 minutes. Transfer to a plate. Add remaining tablespoon of oil to the pan and repeat with remaining mushrooms.

  • Meanwhile, add pasta to the boiling water and cook for 1 minute less than the package instructions for al dente, about 9 minutes.

  • Once the second batch of mushrooms is browned on the bottom, return the rest of the mushrooms to the pan and add the garlic and thyme. Season with salt and pepper and cook, stirring once or twice, until mushrooms are fragrant and just tender, about 2 minutes more.

  • Pour wine into the pan and simmer. Using a wooden spoon, scrape up the browned bits on the bottom of the pan, until some but not all of the liquid has evaporated, about 30 seconds. Remove from heat.
  • When the pasta is ready, reserve 3/4 cup of pasta water using a measuring cup, then drain the pasta. Add pasta and reserved pasta water to the pan, bring to a simmer. Cook, tossing and stirring until pasta is al dente and the sauce thickens and coats the pasta, 1 to 2 minutes. Remove from heat.
  • Break prosciutto into small pieces and stir half into the pasta. Serve garnished with remaining prosciutto and shaved Parmesan.

*What is a good substitution for campanelle pasta?

This recipe is open to a few changes. You can use a variety of mushrooms, not just cremini. And while prosciutto reigns supreme, you might be able to slide in a bit of bacon or pancetta. 
As far as pasta goes, campanelle (or gigli) is a lovely little lily-shaped pasta that has ridges and nooks for absorbing sauce. But depending on your geographical situation, you might not be able to find these little beauties. Don’t just settle for elbow noodles. Look for something with ridges and a hole in the center like cavatelli, radiatori, orecchiette, or gemelli. Or elbows–if that’s your favorite.

Serving: 1servingCalories: 454kcal (23%)Carbohydrates: 70g (23%)Protein: 15g (30%)Fat: 12g (18%)Saturated Fat: 2g (13%)Polyunsaturated Fat: 2gMonounsaturated Fat: 7gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 5mg (2%)Sodium: 66mg (3%)Potassium: 747mg (21%)Fiber: 4g (17%)Sugar: 4g (4%)Vitamin A: 86IU (2%)Vitamin C: 4mg (5%)Calcium: 53mg (5%)Iron: 2mg (11%)

Originally published August 22, 2021

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