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Mushroom Pasta With Chestnut And Grana Padano Pesto Sauce

Last Updated on December 16, 2020 by Leyla Kazim

This is a sponsored post in partnership with Grana Padano. All views, text and images remain my own, as always.

Here’s a very simple festive pesto pasta recipe with a pesto that’s a little different from the standard, and I think you’re going to love it.

It uses chestnuts instead of pine nuts and parsley instead of basil. It goes so well with mushrooms and you can whip it up in about 30 minutes!

A frying pan full of a just-cooked pasta dish, alongside a bowl of plated up pasta and the raw ingredients within the dish, including Grana Padano cheese, mushrooms, lemon, parsley and chestnuts.

This is a mushroom pasta recipe I turn to often during the colder months, when chestnuts and mushrooms are abundant and seasonal. It’s a real crowd pleaser during the festive season especially.

For some additional winter warmer recipe inspiration, take a look at my ultimate French blue cheese salad, confit duck with the best ever lentils, and pomegranate slow-cooked lamb shoulder.

Fun fact: I really used to dislike mushrooms as a child; now they are one of my all time favourite ingredients.

I always gravitate towards a mushroom dish when choosing from a menu, or mushrooms in my kitchen. Hooray for acquired tastes!

Ready for a run through of this recipe? Let’s get started.

Ingredients

Here are the ingredients you’re going to need for this Grana Padano Riserva pesto pasta recipe. Plus some pasta, of course.

Ingredients Notes

Parsley – Don’t forget the stalks! There’s a whole load of flavour in parsley stalks, be sure to include them.

Chestnuts – You want ready-cooked chestnuts for this pesto recipe (unless you happen to have some you’ve cooked yourself to hand).

Cheese – Cheese is a key ingredient for any pesto recipe and my choice here is Grana Padano Riserva, a fantastic Italian cheese produced in the Po River Valley in Northern Italy. Grana Padano Riserva is aged for over 20 months resulting in a wonderful depth of flavour.

It has a flaky, salty, nutty interior, encased with a thick, golden rind. Grana Padano has been a PDO (Protected Designation of Origin – an EU certification of quality and provenance) since 1996 and is now the best-selling PDO cheese in the world!

Extra Virgin Olive Oil – Buy the best you can afford, the flavour makes all the difference.

Here’s a post I wrote on the differences between olive oils, what to look for when purchasing them and how to best store olive oil. You may find useful.

Mushrooms – You can use whatever type of mushrooms you can get your hands on. But this dish works particularly well with any kind of wild mushrooms, chanterelles or ceps.

A view from above of a hand holding a plastic container full of different types of mushrooms, with a view of the feet of the person holding the box

If you happen to be cooking for someone who doesn’t like mushrooms, short of un-friending them (I jest!) you can leave them out entirely.

The mushrooms that is, not the friend.

You can instead reserve a little of the pasta water and mix the pesto into that, rather than the mushroom juice. See Step 4 below.

Pasta – I used linguine but feel free to use any shape pasta you have to hand.

While I have you hear and now I know you’re a pasta fan, you might like to take a look at my recipe for a traditional Turkish Cypriot pasta dish with halloumi and mint, too.

Step-By-Step Instructions

Equipment Prep

  • Find a large saucepan and fill with well salted water, you’ll use this to boil the pasta.
  • You will also need a large frying pan with a lid, a wok works great here.
  • Get your food processor out and ready to use if you have one. Don’t worry if you don’t, you can still make this pesto recipe – look out for the tip in Step 1 below.
  • You will also need a knife and a fine cheese grater.

Ingredients Prep

  1. Weigh out the amount of parsley and Grana Padano Riserva you need, pour the amount of olive oil required into a measuring jug, and squeeze out the juice from half a lemon – watch out for pips!
  2. Finely grate the Grana Padano Riserva. That’s the side of the box grater with the really small holes. It’s quite key that the cheese is grated as finely as possible.
  3. Remove the skins from the garlic cloves and roughly chop the mushrooms.

Step 1 – Make the pesto

Place the parsley, chestnuts, grated cheese, garlic cloves and lemon juice into the food processor and blitz.

Pour in the olive oil while the machine is on, scraping down the sides when needed. It should look something like the below.

Season the pesto to taste with salt and pepper.

TIP

Don’t worry if you don’t have a food processor, you can still make this pesto recipe. It will just take you a little longer.

You will need to chop the parsley and chestnuts by hand as finely as you can, and grate or mince the garlic.

Place them in a large mixing bowl, add the lemon juice and thoroughly combine. Then add a little olive oil at a time, further combining before you keep adding more, until you’ve added it all. 

Step 2 – Get the pasta on the boil

Turn on the hob to heat up your saucepan of salted water.

Once it’s reached a rolling boil, add the pasta and cook according to the packet instructions.

Step 3 – Cook the mushrooms

While the pasta is cooking, add a glug of olive oil to the large frying pan or wok, along with the knob of butter, and place over a medium heat.

Once the butter starts to sizzle a little, tip in the mushrooms, a pinch of salt and give everything a good stir.

Pop the lid on and cook until the mushrooms are soft and brown, approximately 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Turn off the heat when the mushrooms are done and there’s still a little mushroom juice left in the pan.

Step 4 – Combine the mushrooms and pesto

Tip all of your pesto into the mushroom pan (remember the heat is now off) and combine until you have a smooth and silky mushroom-studded sauce.

Yum.

TIP

If you’ve chosen to make this dish without mushrooms, tip your pesto into a frying pan and add a splash of pasta water.

Combine well, and keep adding more pasta water (if needed) until you achieve the same silky pesto sauce as in the image, just without the mushrooms.

Also turn on the heat to warm it up a bit, otherwise it will be a stone cold sauce. But don’t cook the sauce – you just want it warmed through.

Step 5 – Coat the pasta in the pesto sauce

Drain your now cooked pasta and add the pasta to the mushroom and pesto sauce pan.

Use some tongs to combine everything fully, you want every bit of pasta covered in this glorious pesto sauce!

Step 6 – Plate up your beautiful pesto pasta!

Immediately serve up the pasta and finish with a drizzle of olive oil and extra gratings of Grana Padano Riserva, of course.

FAQs

Can I still make this recipe if I don’t have a food processor?

Don’t worry if you don’t have a food processor, you can still make the pesto recipe. It will just take you a little longer.

You will need to chop the parsley and chestnuts by hand as finely as you can, and grate or mince the garlic.

Place them in a large mixing bowl, add the lemon juice and thoroughly combine. Then add a little olive oil at a time, further combining before you add keep adding more, until you’ve added it all. 

What if I’m making this for someone who doesn’t like mushrooms?

If you’ve chosen to make this dish without mushrooms, tip your pesto into a frying pan and add a splash of pasta water at Stage 4.

Combine well, and keep adding more pasta water (if needed) until you achieve the same silky pesto sauce as in the image, just without the mushrooms.

Also turn on the heat to warm it up a bit, otherwise it will be a stone cold sauce. But don’t cook the sauce – you just want it warmed through.

What wine pairings would you suggest with this dish?

If you’re using Grana Padano aged between 9 and 16 months, try a wine with roundness, good acidity, light tannins, fruity aromas and low alcohol. For example, sparkling and white wine.

If you’re using Grana Padano “over 16 months”, try a slightly tannic wine such as a red with moderate intensity and character, yet still young and fresh, with aromas reminiscent of grapes.

If your cheese is Grana Padano “Riserva” (over 20 months), this dish is best enjoyed with a soft red, intense, tannic wine which has a moderate to high alcohol content and a lingering and persistent flavour. But it would also work with a full−bodied and rich red wine.

What dessert would you recommend after this meal?

I would stick with the Italian theme and there are surely few better Italian desserts that tiramisu!

Lucky for you, I have a great recipe for the ultimate tiramisu – an absolute cracker. Plus, you can make it ahead of time, up to the day before if needed.

A frying pan full of a pasta dish that's just been cooked, set down on a tea towel on a wooden board, alongside a pretty blue bowl containing the pasta plated up, as well as the raw ingredients that went into the pasta dish, including parsley, Grana Padano cheese, mushrooms, chestnuts and lemon

Mushroom Pasta With A Chestnut And Grana Padano Riserva Pesto Sauce

A very simple mushroom pasta recipe with a pesto sauce that uses chestnuts, parsley and wonderful Italian Grana Padano Riserva cheese. Perfect for the colder months!
5 from 1 vote
Print Pin Rate
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Italian
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Servings: 6
Calories: 835kcal
Author: Leyla Kazim

Equipment

  • Food processor

Ingredients

Pesto

  • 80 g flat leafed parsley including stalks
  • 180 g cooked chestnuts
  • 40 g Grana Padano Riserva cheese finely grated
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1/2 lemon juice squeezed
  • 280 ml extra virgin olive oil plus extra for frying

Remaining

  • 1/2 tbsp butter
  • 300 g mushrooms roughly chopped
  • 500 g linguine

Instructions

To make the pesto

  • Place parsley, chestnuts, cheese, garlic and lemon juice into a food processor and blitz.
  • Pour in the olive oil while the machine is running, scraping down the sides when needed.
  • Season the pesto with salt and pepper to taste.

To make the dish

  • Boil the pasta in plenty of salted water according to packet instructions.
  • While the pasta is cooking, fry the mushrooms in a little olive oil and the butter, with a pinch of salt over a medium heat, with the lid on. Sautee for around 5 mins until the mushrooms are soft and brown and there's still some mushroom juice in the pan.
  • Turn off the heat, add all the pesto to the mushroom pan and combine until you have a smooth and silky sauce.
  • When the pasta is al dente, drain it and add the pasta to the pesto pan.
  • Thoroughly combine so all the pasta is coated in the pesto and mushroom sauce and serve into warmed bowls immediately.
  • Serve with a drizzle of olive oil and extra gratings of cheese.

Notes

1. Food Processor
Don’t worry if you don’t have one, you can still make this pesto recipe. It will just take you a little longer.
You will need to chop the parsley and chestnuts by hand as finely as you can, and grate or mince the garlic. Place them in a large mixing bowl and add the lemon juice and thoroughly combine. Then add a little olive oil at a time, further combining before you add more. 
2. Parsley
Don’t forget the stalks! There’s a whole load of flavour in parsley stalks, be sure to include them.
3. Chestnuts
You want ready-cooked chestnuts for this recipe, unless you happen to have some you’ve cooked yourself to hand!
4. Cheese
Cheese is a key ingredient for any pesto recipe and my choice here is Grana Padano Riserva, a fantastic Italian cheese produced in the Po River Valley in Northern Italy. Grana Padano Riserva is aged for over 20 months resulting in a wonderful depth of flavour.
5. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Buy the best you can afford, the flavour makes all the difference. Here’s a post on the differences between different types of olive oil, what to look for when purchasing and how to best store olive oil.
6. Mushrooms
You can use whatever type of mushrooms you can get your hands on. But this dish works particularly well with any kind of wild mushrooms, chanterelles or ceps.
7. Pasta
I used linguine but feel free to use any pasta shape you have to hand.

Nutrition

Calories: 835kcal | Carbohydrates: 79g | Protein: 16g | Fat: 51g | Saturated Fat: 8g | Cholesterol: 7mg | Sodium: 132mg | Potassium: 582mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 4g | Vitamin A: 1204IU | Vitamin C: 36mg | Calcium: 125mg | Iron: 3mg
Have you made or do you plan to make this recipe?Let your online community and me know what you think! Mention @TheCutleryChronicles or tag #TheCutleryChronicles. I love to see them 😊

Leyla Kazim
Leyla Kazim

Spending most of my time either eating or travelling. Constantly in awe of nature and on a mission to seek the joy in every moment. Please feel free to leave a comment below, I love hearing from you all!

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