Hearty Meal Minus the Meat

Like many folks nowadays, we try to cut back on meat consumption a few times a week. This Fusilli with Gourmet Mushrooms, Peas and Creamy Tarragon Sauce is hearty enough to satisfy even the most die-hard meat lover (providing they like mushrooms…)

The original recipe by Ronne Day calls for 12 ounces of bucatini pasta, but I scaled back the amount by 50% and substituted fusilli because I feel the curls tend to wrap themselves around the other ingredients better than straight pasta. And it’s almost impossible to get the fresh morels and chanterelles required of the original recipe, more power to you if you can. Instead, I used a gourmet mix of oyster, shiitake and cremini ‘shrooms.

I didn’t hold back on the chopped fresh garlic and increased the peas (fresh or frozen) to two cups. You may object to topping each serving with pea shoots, but give them a try, they really do add some welcome texture to the dish.


Fusilli with Gourmet Mushrooms, Peas and Creamy Tarragon Sauce

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print


  • 1/2 stick (4 Tbs.) unsalted butter
  • 2 Tbs. Champagne vinegar
  • 2 medium lemons, 1 zested and juiced, 1 cut into wedges for serving
  • Kosher salt
  • 8 oz. fusilli
  • 3 Tbs. olive oil
  • 1/2 cup chopped shallots
  • 1 lb. fresh gourmet mushroom mix (oyster, shiitake, cremini and morels and chanterelles if possible), cut into bite-size pieces, (about 4 cups)
  • 2 cups fresh or frozen peas, thawed
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped garlic (about 14 cloves)
  • 8 oz. mascarpone, at room temperature
  • 2 Tbs. chopped fresh tarragon
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 oz. pea shoots
  • Parmigiano-Reggiano or Grana Padano, for serving


  1. In a medium saucepan, melt the butter over medium-low heat until the milk solids are deep golden brown and the butter has a nutty aroma, about 4 minutes.
  2. Whisk in the vinegar and 1 Tbs. of the lemon juice, and set aside.
  3. Meanwhile, bring a large pot of well-salted water to a boil. cook the fusilli according to package directions until al dente.
  4. Drain, reserving 1 cup of the pasta cooking water. Return the pasta to the pot and toss with the brown-butter mixture.
  5. In a large straight-sided skillet, heat the oil over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add the shallots and cook until golden brown in spots, 1 to 2 minutes.
  6. Add the mushrooms and cook, stirring frequently, until golden brown and crisp in spots, about 5 minutes.
  7. Add the peas and cook, 1 minute, and then add the garlic and cook, about 15 seconds.
  8. Transfer the fusilli to the skillet, and toss with the mushroom mixture. Add the mascarpone, 1/2 cup cooking water, 2 Tbs. of the lemon juice, the tarragon, 2 tsp. of the lemon zest, 1-1/2 tsp. salt, and 1 tsp. pepper, and toss until the cheese melts and the sauce is creamy. Add cooking water as needed.
  9. Divide the pasta among four plates. Top with the pea shoots. Serve with lemon wedges, and pass the Parmigiano-Reggiano.


Original recipe by Ronne Day

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