Linguine with Mushroom 'Bacon,' Onion, and Tomato

Try this vegetarian version of pasta Amatriciana using mushrooms in place of bacon.

Picture of linguine with mushroom bacon, onion and tomato

Updated on October 26, 2022.

Amatrice is a small town in Italy not too far from Rome. It is famous for its eponymous bucatini pasta made with guanciale (cured pork jowl), onion, and tomato. This version of Amatriciana, from The What to Eat When Cookbook, swaps the bacon for shiitake mushrooms. Trust us: You won’t miss the bacon at all! The umami created by sauteing the mushrooms is equally delicious in flavor, but without the saturated fat.

Prep: 25 minutes
Cook: 22–24 minutes
Makes: 2 servings
Serving Size: 1 cup


12 ounces fresh, plump shiitake mushrooms
¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
¾ teaspoon kosher salt
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 small red or yellow onion, halved lengthwise, thinly sliced crosswise
3 large garlic cloves, minced
½ cup crushed tomatoes
¼ to ½ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes, to taste
8 ounces whole grain linguine
Grated pecorino or Parmigiano Reggiano cheese (optional)


1. Wipe the shiitake mushrooms clean with a damp paper towel. Cut off the stems and discard. Cut the caps into 1/8-inch-thick slices.

2. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the olive oil, then the mushroom slices. Season with salt and pepper. Saute until the mushrooms are brown and begin to crisp, stirring frequently, 10 to 12 minutes.

3. Add the onions to the skillet and saute over medium heat until very tender, 10 to 12 minutes. Add the garlic and stir 2 to 3 minutes. Add the crushed tomatoes and red pepper flakes and cook for 1 minute longer. Remove from the heat; cover to keep warm.

4. Meanwhile, bring a large pot of water to boil (large enough to hold the linguine without breaking). Add salt to the boiling water, then add the linguine and cook until al dente according to the package directions.

5. Using tongs, transfer the pasta from the cooking water to the skillet with the mushroom mixture. (You want to bring some of the pasta cooking water with you, so don’t drain it in a colander.) If more moisture is desired, add more of the pasta cooking water by tablespoonfuls until the sauce is the desired consistency.

6. Toss the pasta in the sauce and cook for 1 minute more. Transfer the pasta to a large serving bowl. Add a dusting of grated pecorino or Parmigiano Reggiano cheese, if using, and stir to combine and serve.

What to swap when

The sauce in this recipe is traditionally served with bucatini, a spaghetti-like noodle with a hole down the center, but it’s often hard to find whole grain versions. Linguine, fettuccine, or another long noodle are good substitutes.

Calories: 361 kcal; Total fiber: 7.8 g; Soluble fiber: 0 g; Protein: 7.2 g; Total fat: 28.8 g; Saturated fat: 4 g; Healthy fats: 24.4 g; Carbohydrates: 22.8 g; Sugars: 4.1 g; Added sugars: 0 g; Sodium: 253 mg; Potassium: 701 mg; Magnesium: 42 mg; Calcium: 33 mg

Excerpted from The What to Eat When Cookbook, by Michael F. Roizen, MD, Michael Crupain, MD, MPH, and Jim Perko, Sr., CDC, AAC. Copyright © 2020 by Michael F. Roizen, MD. Reprinted by permission from National Geographic. Photo credit: Scott Suchman

More On

What are some healthy alternatives for sweets during the holidays?


What are some healthy alternatives for sweets during the holidays?
Chocolate holiday bark is a sweet seasonal treat, but one little piece can be loaded with fat and calories. Nutritionist Rachel Beller shares her reci...
Brain Fit Fajitas Recipe


Brain Fit Fajitas Recipe
6 Takeout Recipes That Taste Better Cooked at Home


6 Takeout Recipes That Taste Better Cooked at Home
From pad Thai to pizza, check out these better-for-you versions of takeout classics you can cook at home.
9 food serving sizes that are way smaller than you thought


9 food serving sizes that are way smaller than you thought
Serving sizes are often misleading and can easily be misread and misinterpreted. Read and understand what you are consuming for better nutrition contr...
Healthy snacks to fuel your student athlete


Healthy snacks to fuel your student athlete
Keep your student athlete fueled with these healthy snacks.