This is a pasta that emphasizes the rich, savory taste of mushrooms instead of covering it up with heavy cream. The citrusy notes brighten it up and pop on your palate. Try it with... a thin pasta like whole-whet spaghetti or linguine, or with a wider egg pasta like pappardelle — it’ll be delicious with either choice.
Cut the stalks from the mushrooms. Remove any roots, then cut the stalks into chunks. Wipe the caps with a damp cloth and cut into a ½-inch dice.
Heat the olive oil in a saute pan over medium-high heat. Add the garlic, thyme, and cayenne pepper, if using. Cook until the garlic starts to color. Add the shallots. Saute until the shallots start to color and soften.
Add the mushrooms and salt and pepper to taste. Saute until the mushrooms start to give up their juices and color.
Take the pan off the heat and add the lemon juice and parsley. Mix well, cover the pan, and let it sit while you cook the pasta. Cook the pasta according to package instructions. When the pasta is done, drain and toss the dripping pasta with the mushrooms. Serve with a grind of black pepper and freshly grated Parmesan cheese, if desired.
Make sure the mushrooms are fresh. The gills (underside of the mushrooms) should be a velvety, pink-brown color with no dark, wet patches.