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A mix of mighty mushrooms makes for an earthy, irresistible pasta dish

A mix of mighty mushrooms makes for an earthy, irresistible pasta dish. (Photo credit: Doug Young)

Mushrooms seem to be having a renaissance of sorts, in design, in fashion and on the plate. For the latter, perhaps it’s their year-round availability, strong earthy flavor and complementary nature for nearly any savory recipe, whether blended into a bisque or tousled atop flatbread. Added to pasta? A perfect match, as chef Anna Lembo of Hen of the Woods market in Southampton, attests to in this “very simple yet luxurious and delicious” mushroom pasta recipe, their most popular menu item.

Simple, easy but so very delicious, chef Anna Lembo’s mushroom pasta is an easy weeknight staple. (Photo credit: Doug Young)

Celebrating all-things mushroom is why owner, farmer and forager Jonathan Bernard named his establishment after the hen of the woods mushroom (Grifola frondosa), a native North American species that grows at the base of trees—or in this case, a shipping container at his farm in Northport. 

Maitake mushrooms get their nickname from their feathery growth, resembling the plumes of a hen. (Photo credit: Doug Young)

“Mushrooms don’t need a lot of light,” says the Huntington native, “they prefer a ‘forest floor’ environment, cool weather and high humidity.”

With its light-brown color and feathery clusters, this Maitake mushroom resembles a hen and is just one of the many types of mushrooms you can find at this specialty market at 48 Hampton Road. 

The health benefits of eating mushrooms are why Lembo, who is also a nutritionist, was keen to share this recipe.

“My maternal grandmother was a healer who used herbs back in the day to help people with ailments,” says the Republic of Georgia native. “I want to continue that legacy by connecting with our customers through food and helping them to feel good about ‘clean’ eating using organic and sustainable ingredients. It’s what I stand for.”

Served hot, this 1-2-3 step dish is a perfect weeknight meal, great for a crowd or even served cold as a picnic side.

Hen of the Woods mushroom pasta

Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes


  • 1 lb dried pasta (rigatoni or trumpets)
  • 1/4 – 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 4 – 5 cloves fresh garlic, peeled and chopped
  • 1 bunch Italian parsley leaves, chopped
  • 1 lb assorted mushrooms, cleaned and chopped
  • salt and pepper to taste


  • In a large, shallow pan, heat the olive oil to medium heat. Sauté mushrooms, mixing occasionally, about 8 minutes.
  • In a large pot, bring water to a rolling boil and season with salt. Cook the pasta until desired doneness according to package directions. Research 1/2 cup of pasta cooking water, and drain the rest.
  • Add the drained pasta back to the pot and mix in the mushroom medley and the reserved pasta cooking water. Simmer over low heat for a minute, until the water is absorbed and the pasta is glossy.
  • Serve garnished with the chopped, fresh parsley, grated parmesan and a teaspoon of olive oil. Enjoy!