Pasta with Spinach, Mushrooms, and Brown Butter

Any kind of mushrooms can be used in this recipe, like white mushrooms, cremini, Portobello or shitake. Use a mix, or just use a single variety.

  • Prep time: 10 minutes
  • Cook time: 20 minutes
  • Yield: 4 to 6 servings


  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 1/2 pounds mushrooms, sliced (See Recipe Note)
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 pound small shaped pasta, such as orecchiette, bowties, campanelle, or shells
  • 5 ounces (4 to 5 large handfuls) baby spinach leaves
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • Finely grated zest of 1 lemon
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan (for garnish)
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley (for garnish)


1 Cook the pasta: Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook for 8 to 10 minutes, or until al dente (check the package for specific times for your chosen pasta).

Scoop out 1 cup of the pasta cooking water and drain the pasta in a colander. Set aside.

2 Meanwhile, make the brown butter: In a small stainless steel or other light-colored skillet over medium heat, melt the butter. Cook, stirring constantly, until the butter solids on the bottom turn light brown and the butter smells nutty. Immediately remove the pan from the heat and set aside.

For a full tutorial on making brown butter, see this post.

Spinach Pasta with Brown Butter melt the butter Mushroom Pasta with Brown Butter browning the butter

3 Cook the mushrooms: In a large skillet over medium-high heat, heat the oil. Add the mushrooms, and cook, stirring often, for 10 minutes, or until the mushrooms release their juices and turn golden brown. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Spinach Pasta with Brown Butter

4 Finish the pasta: Add the drained pasta to the skillet with the mushrooms and toss over medium-high heat. Stir in half the spinach and 1/4 cup of the pasta water into the pasta and cook until the spinach begins to wilt. Add the remaining spinach, and stir until all the spinach wilts. If the pasta seems dry, stir in 1 to 2 tablespoons of the remaining pasta cooking water.

Stir in the browned butter, lemon juice and lemon zest and toss. Taste and add more salt and pepper, if you like.

Brown Butter Pasta with Spinach and Mushrooms add the pasta and spinach

5 Serve the pasta: Spoon the pasta into shallow bowls and sprinkle the parsley and Parmesan on top. Grind a little fresh black pepper over each bowl.

Spinach Pasta with Brown Butter Finish the Pasta