Recipe: Linguine With Mushroom ‘Bacon,’ Onion and Tomato (Also Known as ‘When Way’ Amatriciana)

This delicious pasta dish substitutes mushrooms for bacon, but keeps the full flavor
A bowl of linguine with mushrooms

Amatrice is a small town in Italy not too far from Rome. Named after the town, this dish is famous for its bucatini pasta (a thick spaghetti-like noodle with a hole in the middle) made with guanciale (cured pork jowl), onion and tomato.

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The “When Way” version (an eating/diet lifestyle) of Amatriciana swaps the bacon for shiitake mushrooms. Trust us: You won’t miss the bacon at all! The umami (savoriness) created by sauteing the mushrooms is equally delicious in flavor, but without the saturated fat.

Prep time: 25 minutes

Cook time: 22-24 minutes

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  • 12 ounces fresh plump shiitake mushrooms
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 small red or yellow onion (6 to 7 ounces), halved lengthwise, thinly sliced crosswise
  • 3 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 cup crushed tomatoes
  • 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes, to taste
  • 8 ounces whole-grain linguine*
  • Grated pecorino or Parmigiano Reggiano cheese (optional)

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


  1. Wipe the shiitake mushrooms clean with a damp paper towel. Cut off the stems and discard. Cut the caps into 1/2-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.

Nutrition information (per serving)

Makes: 2 servings (serving size = 1 cup)

Calories: 361
Total fiber: 7.8 g
Soluble fiber: 0 g
Protein: 7.2 g
Total fat: 28.8 g
Saturated fat: 4 g
Healthy fat: 24.4 g
Carbohydrate: 22.8 g
Sugar: 4.1 g
Added sugar: 0 g
Sodium: 253 mg
Potassium: 701 mg
Magnesium: 42 mg
Calcium: 33 mg

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From The What to Eat When Cookbook by Michael F. Roizen, MD, Michael Crupain, MD, MPH, and Jim Perko, Sr., CEC, AAC.

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