French Mushroom and Tomato Pasta | Pushing the Wave

French Mushroom and Tomato Pasta

Recipe, 16 February 2023
by L.A. Davenport
French Mushroom and Tomato Pasta, by L.A. Davenport
French Mushroom and Tomato Pasta, by L.A. Davenport
Sticking with pasta after the recent Cauliflower, Fennel and Mushroom Pasta Bake, this recipe is again occurred to me as a last-minute meal, this time at a friend’s house.

The general consensus was that I would make a tomato sauce with mushrooms, but I wanted to try something a little bit different. The idea was to give the mushrooms their own distinct flavour, yet within a classic Italian tomato base.

Searching around my friend’s cupboards, I realised I could cook the mushrooms with a French twist and then mix them into the finished sauce. This first attempt had parsley with the mushrooms but I would also have added tarragon if I had been at home. In the end, the mushrooms did retain their own character and the two styles melded well.

The recipe I used for the tomato sauce recipe is derived from one given to my mother many years ago by her old Italian teacher. She had moved to England from Naples as a young woman, and wanted to ensure that her students knew how not only to construct a perfect sentence in Italian but also to make a perfect, old fashioned tomato sauce.

I should also add that this should ideally be made several hours before it is needed, so that the flavours can develop fully.


For the mushrooms:
  • Two big knobs of butter
  • Large clove garlic, crushed
  • Two or three large handfuls of chestnut mushrooms, roughly chopped
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 1 tsp dried parsley
  • 1 tsp dried tarragon (optional)
  • Salt and pepper to taste

For the tomato sauce:
  • Olive oil
  • Two large cloves garlic, crushed
  • Two tins chopped tomatoes
  • 1 1/2 tsp oregano
  • 1/2 tsp honey
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Pasta for four, cooked and drained

Serves 4


Preheat a heavy bottomed saucepan over a medium heat before melting a knob of butter. Add the nutmeg and fry for a few seconds, and then add the garlic. When it has turned golden brown, add the mushrooms. Add the second knob of butter once all the garlic butter has been absorbed and then the parsley and tarragon. Fry until the mushrooms are nicely cooked and there is a nice juicy sauce. Remove and put to one side.

Clean the saucepan with a sheet of kitchen roll, return to the heat and add a good slug of olive oil. Fry the garlic until golden brown, and then add the tinned tomatoes, stirring quickly so that the garlic stops frying. Add in the oregano, the honey, and the salt and pepper. Bring to simmer, cover, turn the heat down low and then let it simmer, stirring occasionally, until it has developed a thick saucy consistency. Stir in the mushrooms and their juices, and cook for a minute or two. Adjust the seasoning if necessary.

If you have the time, turn off the heat and let it settle for a couple of hours. Once you are ready to eat, cook the pasta and drain, and reheat the sauce. Serve with grated parmesan. I also like it with some olive oil drizzled over the top before adding the parmesan.

© L.A. Davenport 2017-2024.

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French Mushroom and Tomato Pasta | Pushing the Wave