When I found myself with an abundance of mushrooms last fall (thank you, Costco), I decided to use them in one my favorite ways— with pasta, of course.

Will dubbed it the “fall pasta,” and dinner was served.

As I glanced through the pantry this past weekend to decide what to make us for lunch, Will mentioned the “fall pasta” and fortunately, I had all the ingredients on hand. Including the Gemelli from Giadzy.

On a side note, I’m not a spokesperson or influencer for Giadzy, I just love the real-deal Italian products.

A friend of mine asked how I made the pasta so here’s my “recipe.” Or as I like to think of it, a collection of things that taste good together.

Christa’s Creamy Mushroom Gemelli

1 package of your favorite mushrooms (cleaned and sliced) * two shallots (or half of a medium-sized onion) * 4 cloves of minced garlic * 4 sprigs of fresh thyme * a splash of balsamic vinegar * a splash + of heavy cream *  1 pound of your favorite short pasta (penne or rigatoni would be great, too) * freshly grated Pecorino or Parmesan cheese (or both)

Fill your favorite pasta pot up, up, up with water and bring to a boil. When it’s at a rolling boil and not a moment before, add 2T of kosher salt to the water. Don’t neglect this step or the pasta will be tasteless and compromised. LOL. But seriously, salt the water and drop the pasta. Follow package direction and reserve one cup of the pasta water before you drain it.

For the “sauce” I like to use a big ol’ skillet (at least 12 inches or larger) for maximum mushroom browning. Heat up 2 T of olive oil over medium heat and sauté your shallots (or onion) until translucent. Season with salt and freshly ground pepper. Add another tablespoon of olive oil to the pan and begin sautéing your mushrooms. They release a lot of water, so make sure not to crowd them in the pan. Like someone reading a really good book at the library, they like their space. When the mushrooms are almost browned, add the minced garlic and salt and pepper to taste.

Move the garlic around with your stirring implement so it doesn’t burn. Burnt garlic will ruin all the good things you’ve done here. Mushrooms are bland little things that desperately need seasoning, so don’t skimp on the salt and pepper. Add the thyme leaves that you’ve stripped from the stem or 1/2 tsp of dried thyme (it’s potent, so less is more).

Add the splash of balsamic to de-glaze the pan and your onions and mushrooms will now have a bit of acidity which is delicious here. By this time your pasta should be perfectly al dente. Transfer all of the noodles into the skillet (which is why we like a big skillet here), add your cheeses on top of the pasta, and begin to stir the mushrooms and shallots into the pasta. Add a bit of the reserved pasta water if it looks too dry.

Keep stirring until the pasta and the mushroom goodness are perfectly co-mingled. Stir in the cream and voila, you’ve got creamy mushroom pasta. I like to top it with even more cheese because I’m from Wisconsin and I like all the cheese.