Creamy Mushroom Spinach Pasta with Caramelized Onions

This creamy pasta is loaded with spinach, mushrooms, caramelized onions, and then smothered in a creamy Parmesan cheese sauce.  This is a meatless pasta recipe that doesn't need any meat.  At the same time, it serves as an excellent side dish with grilled meats, such as steak, pork or chicken.  This mushroom spinach pasta is super versatile!

Servings: 4 people

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 3 onions medium or large, sliced
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 10 oz mushrooms , sliced (I used shiitake)
  • 6 oz spinach
  • 8 oz fettuccine
  • 2/3 cup heavy cream
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 1 cup Parmesan cheese shredded
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

How to caramelize onions:
  1. Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil on high heat in a large skillet, when oil is heated, add sliced onions and cook on high heat for about 10 minutes, constantly stirring with spatula. The onions should start to brown, but without burning (a couple of onions may be burnt here and there, but overall they should not be charred). 
  2. Reduce heat to medium and continue cooking onions for 10 more minutes, continuing to stir, as onions brown even more without burning. At this point add just a pinch of salt over onions. 
  3. Continue cooking for 10 more minutes on medium or low heat, stirring occasionally to make sure onions don’t stick to the bottom of the pan or burn. Total you should have cooked onions for 30 minutes. 
  4. Remove from heat and sprinkle onions with a small amount of balsamic vinegar to deglaze the pan. Using spatula, mix the onions, scraping the bottom of the pan and coating onions with a pinch of balsamic vinegar you just added.  Remove caramelized onions to a plate
How to cook mushrooms and spinach:
  1. Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in the same skillet, and add sliced mushrooms (I used shiitake with stems removed, you can use any small sized mushrooms). Add just a pinch of salt. 
  2. Reduce heat to medium-low and cook mushrooms covered for about 20 minutes, occasionally stirring. 
  3. NOTE: if you use other mushrooms (not shiitake) the cooking time will be much shorter, only about 5 minutes. Shiitake mushrooms need longer times to cook. If you use regular button mushroom – cook them for only about 5 minutes until they soften.
  4. Add caramelized onions back to the skillet with cooked mushrooms.   Add 3 cups of fresh spinach and stir on low heat just until spinach wilts.

Cook pasta:
  1. Cook pasta according to package instructions. Drain.

Make cream sauce:
  1. Add heavy cream and milk to he mushroom-onions-spinach mixture and bring to a quick boil.
  2. Immediately add shredded Parmesan cheese and 1/4 teaspoon salt and reduce heat to simmer (low boiling point).  Keep stirring to melt the cheese.  
  3. Add cooked and drained pasta to the creamy sauce, stir to coat on low heat for about 5-10 minutes until Parmesan cheese melts completely and starts to coat pasta as well.
  4. Serve on warm plates (warmed in the oven) as is, or with more parmesan cheese sprinkled on top.

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