Pasta with Smoky Shiitakes and Winter Greens

Pasta with Smoky Shiitakes and Winter Greens

Sturdy winter greens are often paired with ham or bacon, but smoked shoyu and shiitake mushrooms bring a depth of flavor to this fast and easy vegan pasta dish. 

What Is Smoked Shoyu?

Shoyu (soy sauce) is a pantry staple for a reason; it adds a hit of umami to anything it touches. The smoked version has everything you love about soy sauce, with a wonderful smokiness. It’s kind of a splurge, but a little goes a long way. I love adding a few drops to cocktails when I want a little oomph. 

Look for smoked shoyu in Japanese markets, specialty grocers, or online. If you can’t source it, feel free to use regular soy sauce or tamari with a little liquid smoke, or skip the smoky flavor entirely—it’ll still be a satisfying dish. 

Use What You Have

When prepping your mushrooms, be sure and save the stems for making stock. I like meaty shiitakes best for this dish, but other mushrooms are fine as long as they’re in bite-size pieces. Likewise, any winter green (or even spinach) will do. 

This earthy pasta dish is best balanced with something fresh and crisp, like our Pear and Greens Salad.

“This recipe was quick, easy and it turned out amazing. The combination of shiitake mushrooms and kale with the smoky flavor of paprika and shoyu was so delicious! I topped it off with a pinch of flaky sea salt and it was perfect.” —Bahareh Niati

Pasta with Smoky Shiitakes and Winter Greens/Tester Image A Note From Our Recipe Tester

Ingredients

  • 3 tablespoons olive oil

  • 1 large shallot, minced (about 1/4 cup)

  • 8 ounces shiitake mushrooms, stemmed and sliced (save the stems for the stock pot!)

  • 4 tablespoons smoked shoyu, or regular soy sauce plus 1/8 teaspoon liquid smoke, more to taste

  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika, more to taste

  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper, more to taste

  • Kosher salt

  • 16 ounces dried orecchiette pasta

  • 5 ounces winter greens (such as kale or chard), coarsely chopped (about 4 cups)

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Ingredients to make pasta with shiitake mushrooms and winter greens

    The Spruce Eats / Bahareh Niati

  2. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. When the oil shimmers, add the shallots and shiitake mushrooms. Sauté for 3 minutes.

    A skillet with shiitake mushrooms and shallots

    The Spruce Eats / Bahareh Niati

  3. Add the smoked shoyu, smoked paprika, and black pepper. Stir to coat and continue to cook until the shallots are translucent and the shiitakes are slightly brown and tender, 3 to 5 minutes more. Remove from the heat and set aside.

    A skillet with shiitake mushrooms and shallots cooked in shoyu, paprika, and pepper

    The Spruce Eats / Bahareh Niati

  4. While you’re cooking the shallots and mushrooms, bring a large pot of well-salted water to a boil. Cook the orecchiette until just a little before al dente (mostly cooked but still a bit firm), about 1 minute less than package directions.

    A pot of boiling water cooking orecchiette pasta

    The Spruce Eats / Bahareh Niati

  5. Just before the pasta is done cooking, stir the greens into the boiling water to wilt slightly, about 30 seconds.

    Greens added to the pot of boiling water

    The Spruce Eats / Bahareh Niati

  6. Reserve 1 cup of the pasta water, then drain the pasta and greens.

    Drained greens and pasta with a measuring cup of cooking water

    The Spruce Eats / Bahareh Niati

  7. Add the reserved pasta water to the shiitakes and return the heat to medium. Stir to combine, scraping up any brown bits on the bottom of the pan.

    A skillet with the reserved pasta water, cooked shiitake mushrooms and shallots

    The Spruce Eats / Bahareh Niati

  8. Stir the pasta and greens into the mushrooms and finish cooking until the pasta is tender (but not mushy!), and the sauce is silky, about 1 minute more. Adjust the seasoning with salt, pepper, and smoked paprika to taste, and serve.

    A skillet of pasta, greens, and mushrooms mixed together with smoked paprika, salt, and pepper

    The Spruce Eats / Bahareh Niati

Recipe Tip

Make sure to stop cooking the pasta before it is perfectly al dente. The key to this dish’s silky sauce is the starch from the cooking water and from finishing the pasta in the pan with the mushrooms.

Recipe Variations

  • Feel free to use another bite-sized pasta shape like shells, penne, or casarecce. 
  • You can substitute other mushrooms for the shiitakes, such as chanterelles, creminis, or maitakes.

How to Store

Refrigerate leftovers in an airtight storage container and they’ll stay good for up to 4 days.

Make Ahead

You can slice the mushrooms and prep the greens a day ahead of time.

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