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.
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.
How to make it
Each number corresponds to the numbered written steps below.
- Bring a large pot of salted water (2 tablespoons kosher salt per gallon of water) to boil. Slice 1 ½ pounds of mushrooms into ¼" 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Next, add 1 cup of Brandy - keep your head back! - and turn the heat to high.
- 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.
- Turn the heat down to medium and add 1 cup of pasta water and cook for 2 more minutes.
- Add 1 ¼ cups of heavy cream and bring the sauce to a simmer, stirring frequently.
- Season the sauce with salt and pepper to taste.
- Add the mushrooms to the sauce.
- 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 ½ cup of finely grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese and stir to incorporate.
- Add a ¼ 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!
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 ¼ 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.
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.
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- 1 pound spaghetti linguine, fettuccine, etc.
- 3 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 ½ pounds baby Bella (cremini) mushrooms ¼-inch thick slices
- 1 medium onion diced
- 3 ounces tomato paste
- 1 ¼ cups heavy cream
- 1 cup Brandy
- ½ cup Parmigiano Reggiano grated
- 2 cups reserved pasta water will most likely not need it all
- ¼ cup Italian parsley minced
- salt and pepper to taste
- 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!
- 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.
This recipe was originally published on June 13, 2018. It was completely updated on February 8, 2022.
sheenam | thetwincookingproject.net
Oh my! This is the best mushroom sauce ever!! Pinned it right away!!!
Thanks for the share. Hope you enjoy it!
So easy and delicious!
Thanks very much!
Can you use sherry if you don't have brandy?
Yes, you can use sherry or use stock instead of brandy.
I’m gone make it tonight ! I have al the ingredients 🤗
So amazing! I used cognac cause this is what I had but other than that this is perfection. I also made this with tenderloin tips that I had in my freezer, sautéing the meat first and then took it out and did the rest. Added the meat back in last and put over linguini and wowzer, so dang good. You are one of the best You Tubers out there. I enjoy your recipes a lot.
Hi Joyce, Sounds great with some sirloin tips! Thanks for liking my videos and recipes. I truly appreciate the support!
What meat would you recommend with this?
Hi Pat. I think some pan-seared chicken sliced up would be great for serving in the pasta. With the pasta as a first course, I think a steak would be great.
Just made this. Wow amazing. Jimbo your recipes and videos are the best around.
Hi Nate. Really glad you enjoyed it.
I made this two ways. First I made it exactly as you posted it and it was amazing! My daughter is a vegetarian (not vegan) and I made half without meat for her and for me. I made it with meat for her husband the carnivore. I had some tenderloin tips left from a filet roast I made at Xmas so I sautéed them in another pan, and then proceeded to make the rest of the recipe the same. BOTH recipes are stellar and I loved them! I will mostly make it the original way without meat but you can safely add tender beef and it is delicious as well!
Hi Joyce. Really glad you enjoyed it. I think it also sounds great with the beef tips!
I have never ever been a fan of cream based sauces, that is, until now. This is a "top shelf" recipe. I lmade this dish with fresh baby Bella mushrooms since that is what was in my fridge.. The combination of the tomato paste, brandy and cream is perfection!! While I think this dish easily stands alone, I did serve this with chicken breast slices. Delicious!!
Thank you Jim for sharing!
Hey Marian. Really glad you enjoyed it. I agree that chicken would be great!
My husband and I, parents of 4 little ones, had a date-night-in last night and really enjoyed this recipe. It was the perfect, relatively simple to make, yet super flavourful, and we felt fancy. Thank you! We paired it with your sautéed spinach with garlic recipe per your suggestion - also delicious!
Hi Dayna. Really glad you both enjoyed the recipe along with the garlic spinach. Thanks for the comment!
I gotta tell ya, I veganized this because it looked absolutely delicious! I also, did without the brandy and parsley as I'm not too big a fan of either, but I'm sure they transform this recipe! I used coconut cream and nooch in place of the cream and cheese, oh my goodness! This is a beautiful way to incorporate mushrooms!! Thank you.
Hi Maria. Glad you enjoyed it and that the changes worked out for you.
Nice Recipe. I added some crushed red pepper to spike it up.
That is never a bad idea. Glad you enjoyed it, Michael!
Our new favorite pasta! Our whole family liked the video - and loved dinner!
(It reminds me of Julia Child's Poulet au Porto, chicken with wine cream and mushrooms). We'll be trying more of your pasta recipes, your videos make it so clear and easy. Grazie!
Hey, Michelene. Glad everyone liked it and I hope the next pasta is a hit as well!
I have cooked this dish a couple of times. It is delicious. Easy to make. Just follow the recipe and you will be a star.
Thank you, Roger! So happy you like it!
Just made this. It’s EXCELLENT!!! All the flavors blend and are so well balanced. The prep is what takes the longest and that’s not a hardship.
This is a new house favorite! Thank you!
Thank you, Danny! So happy you enjoyed it!
Instant favorite! We added sliced chicken and it was deemed the best pasta I had cooked! Thank you so much for sharing.
Thank you, Jill! So happy you enjoyed this one. Sliced chicken is a great addition!
Thank you, Sophia!
Well James it has happened, you have turned me into a chef extraordinaire. I made this recipe and OMG it was delicious. I had heard about these kinds of sauces but never thought I could make them until i found your "SIP & FEAST" YouTube site. The only change I make is the pasta, I use Penne.
I made the Lemon Pasta for my wife because she is a lover of everything lemon and I absolutely loved the recipe myself. You have turned me into a Chef doing things I never thought I could do. Thank You!
Hi Ron, thank you so much for your kind words. I'm so happy you enjoyed this one and the lemon pasta and that you're finding the videos helpful. Sounds like you're doing a great job!
This looks delicious and I am eager to make it. I have an open bottle of B & B and am wondering if that would be an appropriate substitution for plain brandy? Thanks!
Hi Jimmy, thank you! I have not tried this with B&B so I can't say for certain how it will turn out.
What kind of alcohol can I substitute for the brandy? Wine, vodka??
Hi Deborah, you can use white wine or stock (chicken, vegetable, or mushroom) in place of the brandy.
Follow the recipe to the letter after watching the video and enjoy a top restaurant meal at home.
Thank you for sharing, I can recommend this dish for ease of preparation, flavour and cost.
Hey Marius. It's great to hear that you enjoyed it! Thanks for the comment.
When it said to turn the heat to high after putting that brandy in, it started splashing everywhere and burned the tomato paste combo to the point I had some pieces of char. It got rid of the alcohol so fast for me and before I knew it all the alcohol had pretty much evaporated. I will try this again because I know I messed up, I don't know if I would of put it on high (maybe medium high instead) and stir it consistently because I stopped with all the splashing all over the place I was afraid to get burned. Even still the recipe somehow turned out tasting pretty good so I will try it again till I get it right.
Hi Natasha, thanks for sharing your experience with me. If you have an induction stovetop or a very powerful burner, that could be what caused the issue. Everyone's stovetops are different and I'm cooking on one that may be less powerful than yours. That said, try it on lower heat next time, as you suggested. I'm glad it still tasted good for you though!
Just saw this tip. Thank you for replying! I think you're right, our stovetops pretty powerful. I turned the heat down the last time I made this and had very good results with this recipe (no splashing and super quick evaporation).
I've now made this three times. The first time was with grilled chicken, then BBQ Rib Steak that was sliced then added to the sauce. Last night it was lobster. All three received rave reviews. This was my first recipe of yours and won't be the last.
Thanks for all the great videos!
Thank you, Bill! I'm happy you're enjoying the videos and recipe!
I made this a couple of nights ago and while it was good it just did not rise to the "over the moon" level for me as described by so many of your other comments. Brandy, mushrooms and cream sounded like such a divine combination to me. I followed the recipe almost exactly with the only change being 1 pound of baby bellas instead of 1 1/2 pounds. Even at that I felt the recipe had more than an adequate amount of mushrooms. I did have seconds two nights later and for some reason seemed to enjoy it a bit more that night.
Ironically, by chance, I saw your presentation on YouTube a day or two after I made it. It was a very nice presentation.
Hi Jimmy, I appreciate your feedback, and thanks for the comment.
Great recipe. I didn't have brandy, so substituted a maple infused whiskey. It was good, though too sweet. That said, the brandy, or just a good stock, would be fine as well. Thank you for the recipe. I only found your Youtube page today and made this for my own dinner tonight and the Sausage Chickpea pasta for my family, for later in the week. Lovely food. I do see it being one that though fresh is great, leaving the flavours to marry in fridge, could do wonders for it. I may have added a wee tad more black pepper; but the bite was nice (I have a penchant for it in my cooking).
Hi Anthony, thank you for the comment, and am happy you enjoyed the recipe!
Made this a few times now - a definite favourite in our home. I always make it with a variety of mushrooms; Swiss brown, shiitake, king oyster and enotaki. Also have used prawns and chicken, just cooked them separately and stirred them through at the end. Very easy recipe with amazing flavour!
Hi Vesna, I'm so happy you enjoyed the recipe. Prawns and chicken sound like a great addition here!
I asked my wife if she would like to try this for the two of us. She commented that the recipe "looked good"... meaning she would not have to cook dinner. I went ahead and make it with a mushroom mix but didn't want to use 30 bucks worth of Cognac for "cooking". Instead used Chinese Cooking Wine...
Inexpensive and very good flavor - like Sherry. To get to the point, it was FANTASTIC. Make recipe for four servings and I only got to eat one. My wife appropriated the rest. Thanks Jim, your recipe is five star.
Thank you, Bill! I'm so happy you liked this recipe!
Absolutely delicious! I made it as a side dish but next time I will add pieces of seared chicken in it. Thanks so much for this recipe!
Hi Lori, so happy you enjoyed this recipe!
I found your video on YouTube and could not wait to make this. Did not disappoint! The sauce was so good!
Hi Ida, thank you for your comment. I'm so happy you liked this recipe!
Looking forward to trying this!
Thanks, Pat! Hope you enjoy it!
I made this with white wine instead of brandy...absolutely delicious! I love the texture the heavy cream adds to this dish. It's so rich and earthy with the mushrooms. Another favorite...thank you!
Thank you, Delia! I'm happy you're enjoying this one as well and that your substitution of white wine was a success!
SO good! I accidentally grabbed cognac instead of brandy (reading labels is fundamental, haha) - amazing flavor nevertheless. Added in garlic and really appreciate the video for the tip on when to add it! May throw in some meat next time after being inspired by some of the comments, but this dish wasn't really missing it. This one is a keeper.
Hi Britt, thanks for the comment! I'm happy you enjoyed this one and yes, cognac is definitely great in place of brandy!
I’ve made this dish several times, as directed, and it is always a hit. I have served this as a main course and as a side as well and it always garners rave reviews.
Grazia, James for another wonderful dish that I have added into my weekly rotation of other Sip and Feast recipe’s.
Thank you, Steve. I'm happy to hear that you enjoyed this recipe a few times!
Made this tonight and it was excellent. Really like your videos. I have been cooking similar to the way you do for 25+ years but have learned a lot from you and your recipes (I have tried about 4 so far) have all turned out great. Thanks and keep up the great work.
Thank you, Scott! I appreciate the comment and so happy you like the recipes and videos!
Jim, I made this dish and at age 73 I am very surprised that I am learning a new hobby—Italian cooking! My wife and I really like your YouTube videos. Keep up the good work and best wishes to you and your family, Mike
Hi Michael, I am so happy you and your wife are enjoying the videos and your new hobby! I appreciate the comment, thank you!
Made this for dinner last night. Absolutely superb. The sauce is just out-of-this-world delicious. Thank you for the videos and recipes, Jim.
Hi Christine, thank you for the comment. I'm so happy you enjoyed the pasta!
As an Italian who recently tried this recipe, I have to say it is simply perfect! Great work, me and my family loved it! 👌😄
Hi Beniamino, thank you for the comment and I'm so glad you and your family enjoyed this one!
I plan on making this sauce this week. Do you think it would be good with the addition of some artichokes and sun dried tomatoes?
Hi David, I haven't made this dish with either of those ingredients. I'd probably stick with a more neutral sauce, like aglio e olio, for artichokes and sundried tomatoes.
Yowza! This is a big pan of PASTA LOVE! I can't wait to make it. I recently discovered your YouTube channel and enjoy watching every recipe you demo ❤️
Hi Anne, thanks for the comment and so happy you're enjoying the channel!
I made this last night for my family and it was a HUGE hit! My son told me it was his favorite meal I have ever made. He loves mushrooms! This one is a keeper. Keep these easy to follow and delicious recipes coming!
Hi Stephanie, I'm so happy to hear your family enjoyed the pasta! Thanks so much for the comment!
This was so easy and so good....will absolutely be making this again...and again and again!! Have to admit I cheated and just kept the mushrooms and onions in the pan when I added the paste and brandy and cream....but it worked!! Completely worth buying a bottle of brandy (I went for the XO because much like wine....never cook with something you're not willing to drink)
Hi Kay, thanks for the comment and so happy you enjoyed it!
Wow - another winner! Made this tonite and it was amazing! Used Cognac vs Brandy because that’s what we had. Leftovers for tomorrow!!!!
Thanks so much and Happy New Year!!
Hi Debbie, thanks for the comment and so happy you enjoyed this one! Happy New Year!
I do not like the taste or texture of mushrooms, but the rest of the sauce sounds wonderful. What if I left out the mushrooms and used chicken or something else in place. Would that work?
Hi there, you can take out the mushrooms and add sliced chicken if you'd like.
Absolutely delicious! Thank you for the recipe!
Hi Betty, so happy to hear you enjoyed this one and really appreciate the comment and review!
ESo glad to have this recipe. It is a great favorite of my Sicilian husband. Can't wait to cook this recipe for him. Thank you
Thanks for the comment, Jane, and hope you enjoy!
Hiya Jim, this is Eamonn from Ireland here! This was absolutely amazing, thanks a million! Going to spread the good word of sipandfeast, you're some man for one man, keep up the great work young man!
Hi Eamonn, so happy you enjoyed the recipe and really appreciate the kind words. Thank you!
Hi Jim, thanks for this awesome recipe! I made it for my wife who really loved it (as did I). Definitely a 9+ James' dish! We only had cognac lying around, which worked wonderfully. As you suggested, my house continues to smell delicious the following day.
The long pole in this tent is definitely sauteeing the mushrooms, as you're going to take about 6-8 minutes per batch and you'll likely have 3. That right there is 18-24 minutes of time, maybe more. I wish there were a shortcut for this part.
Quick question: I found I didn't need quite as much pasta water as you to keep the sauce liquid. My guess on this is that you're using that macho 14" saucepan, while I'm limited to my much less imposing 12" one. With less surface area, I think less liquid is evaporating. If you agree this could be true, might be helpful to note that different size pans will drive different levels of required pasta water. I also wonder if a bit less cream and more pasta water could be used with good results.
A delicious recipe--I'm grateful you shared it with us!
Thanks for the comment, Jed. Glad you enjoyed it! There are so many variables that can come into play when cooking, including the size of the pan, the amount of time the pasta is sitting around waiting for folks to come to the table, etc. which is why I recommend starting off by adding the pasta water just a few ounces at a time.
This was delicious and super easy! I even used a vegan HWC and it did great actually! I was worried, but it made a great sauce.
Hi Chastity, thanks for the comment and so happy you enjoyed this one!
Absolutely stellar meal, delicious and hearty. I tried a version without alcohol, as well, by using pomegranate balsamic vinegar, but it falls slightly short of the original's glory. 10/10
Hi Stefan, thanks for the comment and so happy you enjoyed! Thanks for sharing your non-alcohol substitution!
I just made this dish and it was absolutely wonderful! I didn't have brandy and submitted a dry sherry instead and I thought the tase was perfect. This is definitely a keeper for me! Fantastic!!
Hi Jane, so happy you enjoyed this one and thanks for the comment and review!
I made this for dinner last night. OMG!!!!!!! It was sooooo good! I accidently bought a 1/2 pint of heavy cream(which left me 4 oz. short). I added 4 oz. cream cheese. It was fantastic! Thanks for the great recipes. Keep them coming!
Hi John, so happy you enjoyed this one and really appreciate the comment!