Lidia's penne with ricotta and mushrooms



15 min


30 min


6 Servings

Lidia's penne with ricotta and mushrooms

Penne with ricotta and mushrooms Photo by Roberto Caruso

Who better to teach us all the secrets behind the best-ever pasta than the mother of all Italian cooking herself? Culinary superstar Lidia Bastianich visited our kitchen to share wisdom that’s survived generations. Buon appetito!


  • 454 g penne
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 6 garlic cloves , sliced
  • 1 tsp chopped rosemary
  • 2 227-g pkg mixed mushrooms , thickly sliced
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 bunch green onions , chopped
  • 1 1/2 cups ricotta
  • 1/4 cup parsley , roughly chopped
  • 1/2 cup grated grana padano or parmigiano reggiano cheese


  • BOIL a large pot of salted water. Cook penne according to package directions.
  • HEAT a large frying pan over medium. Add oil, then garlic, and cook until sizzling, 30 sec. Stir in rosemary until fragrant, 10 sec. Increase heat to medium-high, then add mushrooms and salt. Cook until mushrooms are browned, 3 min. Season with fresh pepper. Add green onions and cook until wilted, 2 minutes. Ladle in 1 cup pasta water and simmer until mushrooms are tender, about 10 min.
  • SCOOP penne from boiling water and add directly to mushroom mixture. Stir in ricotta and parsley, adding additional pasta water if required. Cook until warmed through. Remove from heat and stir in grana padano.

Tips: Lidia says to use the kitchen’s most important ingredient: common sense. Here are three things every pasta chef should know

Start with sliced garlic (not minced)

“This way you can see it — if you want to eat it, go ahead, but if not, put it to the side. Finely chopped garlic gets all over the place, and then it stays with you for a long time.”

Don’t drain the pasta

“Cooked pasta should have resiliency. Cook it about two minutes less than the package instructs, then transfer from the boiling water into the sauce using a spider [a long-handled mesh strainer]. And always reserve the pasta-cooking water.”

Add pasta-cooking water to make sauce

“Add the cooked pasta to the pan, then ladle in some pasta-cooking water. It’s the secret ingredient. Add as much or as little as you need to make it flowing, not sticky or soupy. Sauté a few minutes — the pasta will absorb the flavours and the sauce will intensify.”