Mushroom brandy cream sauce with spaghetti is a luxuriously rich pasta dish that combines some of the best flavors!  Earthy mushrooms are browned and tossed with spaghetti in a tomato-based creamy brandy sauce.  Finished with plenty of grated Parmigiano Reggiano and fresh Italian parsley, this dish can be made in about 30 minutes.  

Mushroom brandy cream sauce spaghetti in grey plate on black board.

Editor’s Note: Originally Published on June 13, 2018.  Updated with full process shots and expanded info.

I’ve always loved the combination of brandy (or cognac), mushrooms, and cream.

It’s as if these 3 ingredients belong together, complementing any other ingredients that happen to join in, like pasta or Parmigiano Reggiano.

And so mushroom brandy cream sauce with spaghetti was born. 

 

While the flavor is my favorite part of this dish, I also love the fact that it can be made in about 30 minutes.

I make this dish when I’m short on time – especially on weeknights.  It pairs perfectly with sauteed greens, such as spinach with garlic and oil, or broccoli rabe.

Ingredients shown: brandy, tomato paste, onion, Parmigiano, cream, mushrooms, spaghetti, and parsley.

How to make it

Each number corresponds to the numbered written steps below.

  1. Bring a large pot of salted water (2 tablespoons kosher salt per gallon of water) to boil.  Slice 1 1/2 pounds of mushrooms into 1/4″ thick pieces and dice 1 medium onion.  Note: I’m using assorted mushrooms in pic 1 below, but baby Bella (cremini) or even white button mushrooms can be used with success.  Use what’s available and fresh.
  2. Heat a large stainless steel pan to medium heat.  Once the pan is hot (about 2-3 minutes) add 2 tablespoons of olive oil and saute the mushrooms until brown on both sides – total cooking time per batch will be about 6-8 minutes.  

Brandy mushroom cream sauce spaghetti recipe process shot collage group number one.

  1. Once the mushrooms release their water season with a touch of salt and pepper.  Work in batches.  If you crowd the pan the mushrooms will steam instead of brown.  Place all the cooked mushrooms on a plate off the side and tent with foil to keep warm.
  2. Turn the heat down to medium-low and add the onions to the pan along with a bit of olive oil if the pan is dry.  Saute the onions until translucent (about 4-5 minutes) then add 3 ounces of tomato paste to the pan and cook stirring frequently for 5 more minutes.  At this point begin boiling the spaghetti to 1 minute less than al dente.  Make sure to reserve 2 cups of pasta water before draining.
  3. Next, add 1 cup of Brandy – keep your head back! – and turn the heat to high.  
  4. With a wooden spoon scrape up the brown bits in the pan and cook for about 2 minutes or until the strong alcohol smell burns off and the liquid reduces by about half.

Recipe process shot collage group number two.

  1. Turn the heat down to medium and add 1 cup of pasta water and cook for 2 more minutes.
  2. Add 1 1/4 cups of heavy cream and bring the sauce to a simmer, stirring frequently.
  3. Season the sauce with salt and pepper to taste.
  4. Add the mushrooms to the sauce.

Recipe process shot collage group number three.

  1. Add the pasta to the sauce and stir it all together.  Cook the pasta right until al dente then remove the pan from the heat.  Add a 1/2 cup of finely grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese and stir to incorporate.
  2. Add a 1/4 cup of minced fresh Italian parsley and stir once more.  If the pasta is at all dry use that extra cup of reserved pasta water, 1-2 ounces at a time, to get the consistency just right.  Enjoy!

Mushroom brandy cream sauce spaghetti twirled in pan with pasta tweezers.

Top tips for perfect pasta with mushroom brandy cream sauce

  • The mushrooms.  I used a variety of baby Bella and some specialty mushrooms for this particular recipe because that was what was available at my local grocery store.  If all you can find are white button mushrooms, that is perfectly fine and your pasta will still be delicious.  You can also use dehydrated mushrooms – just be sure to reconstitute them with water prior to using them.  I recommend slicing the mushrooms about 1/4 inch thick and making sure you get a good sear on them by sauteeing in batches.  If you overcrowd the pan the mushrooms will steam and won’t develop that gorgeous brown color.
  • Save your pasta water!  I say this time and time again, and it really should be the cardinal rule of pasta making.  Always save pasta water, especially when making cream sauces.  Cream sauces tend to dry out quickly, especially once you’ve added cheese and if not serving immediately.  When this happens, all you need is a bit of pasta water to bring the spaghetti back to it’s silky and creamy texture. 
  • Use heavy cream.  Creamy mushroom brandy sauce with spaghetti is creamy for a reason.  Heavy cream is a key ingredient here – I suggest not skipping or swapping it for milk, half and half, or any other substitute which might break your sauce.  Using anything but heavy cream diminishes the integrity of the dish.  However, if you’re on a health kick you can use just pasta water and more cheese to get a creamy sauce.  I have shown this technique numerous times on my YouTube channel.  But, this is a Brandy cream sauce, hence the use of heavy cream.

Brandy mushroom cream sauce pasta in plate with sprinkle of parsley and cheese.

More creamy pasta recipes

Here are some of my favorite tried and true creamy pastas – some of which also have mushrooms!

  • Pasta alla Norcina – Seared sausage in a white wine cream sauce with just a hint of nutmeg.
  • Spicy creamy mushroom pasta – Calabrian chili paste, tomato, and cream tossed with pasta and sauteed mushrooms.
  • Garlic mushroom pasta – Creamy Pecorino sauce with loads of garlic and mushrooms.
  • Penne al Baffo – Ham and pasta tossed in a tomato-based cream sauce.
  • Creamy Cajun chicken pasta – Bell peppers, Cajun chicken thighs, and Andouille sausage are tossed with fettuccine in a creamy tomato-based sauce and topped with green onion.
  • Creamy mushroom pasta bake – Fontina cheese, roasted mushrooms, spinach, thyme, and ricotta are tossed with rigatoni and baked until bubbly.
  • Fettucine Alfredo – Butter and Parmigiano Reggiano tossed together with fettuccine pasta.

If you’ve enjoyed this brandy mushroom cream sauce spaghetti recipe or any recipe on this site, give it a 5-star rating and leave a review.

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Mushroom Brandy Cream Sauce Spaghetti

4.94 from 60 votes
Prep: 5 minutes
Cook: 25 minutes
Total: 30 minutes
Servings: 4
Spaghetti is tossed with mushrooms in a silky brandy mushroom cream sauce and topped with Parmigiano Reggiano and fresh parsley.

Ingredients 

  • 1 pound spaghetti linguine, fettuccine, etc.
  • 3 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 1/2 pounds baby Bella (cremini) mushrooms 1/4-inch thick slices
  • 1 medium onion diced
  • 3 ounces tomato paste
  • 1 1/4 cups heavy cream
  • 1 cup Brandy
  • 1/2 cup Parmigiano Reggiano grated
  • 2 cups reserved pasta water will most likely not need it all
  • 1/4 cup Italian parsley minced
  • salt and pepper to taste

Instructions 

  • Bring a large pot of salted water (2 tablespoons kosher salt per gallon) to a boil.
  • Heat a large pan to medium heat. Add the olive oil and mushrooms. Sear mushrooms until they release their water and brown (about 3-5 minutes per side). Once browned season with a bit of salt and pepper and remove mushrooms to a plate and tent with foil.
  • Turn the heat to medium-low and add in the onion. Saute for 5-7 minutes or until translucent and soft. If the pan is dry add 1-2 tablespoons more olive oil. After the onions are soft add the tomato paste to the pan and cook for 5 minutes stirring frequently.
  • At this point begin boiling the spaghetti to 1 minute less than al dente.
  • Add the Brandy to the pan and turn the heat to high. With a wooden spoon scrape the brown bits off the bottom of the pan. Once the alcohol smell has gone away and the liquid has reduced by about half (about 2 minutes) turn the heat down to medium and add 1 cup of pasta water.
  • Cook for 2 more minutes then add the cream. Bring to a simmer to allow the sauce to thicken. Taste test and season with salt and pepper to taste.
  • Add the mushrooms to the sauce along with the pasta. Cook until the pasta is just al dente then turn off the heat and remove the pan from the stovetop.
  • Add the cheese along with the parsley and mix together well. If the sauce is too dry add more of the reserved pasta water, a bit at a time, to get the consistency just right. Enjoy!

Notes

  • Use any fresh mushrooms you like.  Baby Bella (cremini) mushrooms offer the best value to flavor ratio.  They often are only a little bit more expensive than white button mushrooms. 
  • Always save your pasta water! Use the reserved pasta water (a couple of ounces at a time) to thin if the pasta is too dry.  
  • Almost any substantial pasta works well for this recipe.  Linguine, fettuccine, rigatoni, penne are all great.
  • Leftovers can be saved in the fridge for up to 3 days and can be reheated in the microwave.

Nutrition

Calories: 781kcal | Carbohydrates: 95.6g | Protein: 23.4g | Fat: 26.8g | Saturated Fat: 10.2g | Cholesterol: 50mg | Sodium: 1028mg | Potassium: 639mg | Fiber: 6.6g | Sugar: 9.7g | Calcium: 146mg | Iron: 8mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

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This recipe was originally published on June 13, 2018.  It was completely updated on February 8, 2022.

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150 Comments

  1. Rebecca Quigley says:

    I love this dish! I’d really like to buy the same 14″ frying pan you use in this and many other recipes. Can you share the details please?

    Thank you!

    LOVE your site!

    1. Tara says:

      Hi Rebecca, the pan Jim uses is in the shop that’s linked here on the website. So happy you’re enjoying the recipes!

  2. Jennifer A. Morrison says:

    5 stars
    This was AMAZING! I bought a small bottle of Brandy for only a few dollars so it wasn’t expensive, the sauce was sooo good! Thank you for sharing James, I love your recipes!!

  3. Jessica says:

    4 stars
    sauce to pasta ratio was a bit much for me, but overall tasted pretty good. Very rich, creamy, and easy to make.

  4. Brian C. says:

    5 stars
    Brian from Texas again. Guys. Guys. GUYS! In my 24 years of cooking in our little kitchen in Round Rock, this is the best pasta dish I’ve ever made. Hands down. We feasted. Best wishes and keep it up.

    1. Tara says:

      Hey Brian, we’re so happy you loved this! Thanks for the comment!

  5. Lorinda Supinger says:

    Any substitutions for brandy ?

    1. Tara says:

      Hi Lorinda, if you mean non-alcoholic, you can omit the brandy. If you are looking for an alcoholic substitution, you can use sherry or dry vermouth but it will change the flavor of the dish, as will omitting the brandy entirely.