Creating recipes isn't a pastime—it's a passion. And a lot of fun.

The rules are few: Use 99% fresh ingredients (or thereabouts); make the dish simple but flavorful; make the dish flavorful but simple; be creative, not silly.

With this blog, I want to share new recipes, along with tips on ingredients and preparation, and, hopefully, show new cooks (and non-cooks) the pleasure in setting the table with a delicious homemade meal. The Briny Lemon is about fresh, simple, flavorful ingredients and easy cooking methods that help you bring the best to your family table. Your comments are welcome!

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Mushroom Linguine in Mascarpone Cream

Leftover mascarpone, leftover half-and-half, always a chunk of parm in the fridge—sounds like pasta sauce to me. It’s cheesy, creamy, rich, and delicious—and not so light. This is one of those occasional, “Okay, let’s indulge a little” dinners.

I added three ounces of chopped pancetta to the dish simply for the flavor base it adds to the sauce, but you can skip the bacon and make this a scrumptious and satisfying vegetarian dinner, if you perfer.

Serves 4

  • 8 oz linguine
  • 1 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 1 small shallot, finely chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, finely chopped
  • 2 cups half-and-half
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 6 oz mascarpone (about 3/4 cup)
  • 1/4 cup finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
  • sea salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tbsp water
  • 1 tsp cornstarch
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 3 oz pancetta, chopped
  • 12 oz crimini mushrooms, thinly sliced
  • 2 tbsp chopped flat-leaf parsley, plus more for garnish
  1. Cook the linguine in boiling, salted water until al dente, 9-10 minutes. Drain.
  2. Heat a saucepan over medium heat and add the butter. When melted, add the shallot and garlic and cook, stirring often, 2 minutes.
  3. Add the half-and-half, chicken broth, mascarpone, and Parmigiano-Reggiano and season with salt and pepper. Bring to a light simmer and cook, stirring to melt the cheeses, 2-3 minutes.
  4. Combine the water and cornstarch in a small bowl. Stir into the sauce and reduce the heat to low. Cook, stirring often, until the sauce is creamy and barely thickened, 10 minutes.
Shallot and Garlic in Butter 
Sauce Beginning to Cook
Cooked Sauce
  1. Meanwhile, heat a large, deep skillet over medium heat and add the olive oil. Add the pancetta and cook 3 minutes.
  2. Add the mushrooms and season with salt and pepper. Cook until tender and most of the liquid is absorbed, 10 minutes.
Pancetta Beginning to Cook 
Mushroom Mixture Beginning to Cook 
Cooked Mushroom Mixture

  1. Add the cooked linguine, mascarpone sauce, and 2 tablespoon parsley to the mushroom mixture, stirring to incorporate. Cook until hot throughout, 2-3 minutes.
Pasta and Sauce Added

To serve, divide the pasta and sauce among 4 shallow bowls and garnish with more chopped parsley.

Mushroom Linguine in Mascarpone Cream


  1. Hello Pamela. It would be a leap of faith for me to eat that, as I have never been a huge fan of mushrooms (although I want to be) nor of dairy based sauces - my preference is tomato base. But I'm sure it is truly delicious!

  2. Hi, there---I love tomato-based sauces too, but cheesy, creamy ones are sometimes irresistible! I invite you to take that leap.

    Thanks much for your comment,