“Lobster Mushroom” Spaghetti – Recipe

Spaghetti with lobster mushroom

I found this enormous lobster mushroom at our neighborhood co-op last week. You can see it in the picture at the bottom, next to my 8" chefs knife. It had "ears" but they broke off. The whole thing weighed just over a pound! That’s a big parasitic ascomycete. A say what? Well it turns out lobster mushrooms aren’t really mushrooms (nor are they lobsters). They are a fungus that grows on a host mushroom, turning them red and rendering the original mushroom unidentifiable. Yum, right?!?

Well, it turns out yes. Yum. My first thought of course was to do something that played on the idea of it being lobster like. But when I fried a test piece, sliced thin and well browned, it was distinctly gamey. I’d like to do a plate with a big lobster mushroom "steak" with possibly a huckleberry chutney that plays off the forest gameyness.

But pressed for time for a quick dinner, I ended up dicing the whole thing, sauteeing it with garlic and thyme and lots of butter, and serving it with spaghetti. The pan was a bit crowded so instead of browning, it developed a softer, sweeter flavor, so I’ll give you both options below. You could do something similar with other varieties of wild mushroom, or even a mixture.

Lobster Mushroom Spaghetti
Serves 4
Vegetarian; vegan if you omit cheese and use oil instead of butter

  • 1 lb. lobster mushroom, cleaned well and cut into 1/2" dice
  • 1 lb. spaghetti
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1.5 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves, or 1 t. dried
  • either 4 T. butter or 4 T. vegetable oil, see below
  • juice of 1/2 lemon
  • asiago cheese or parmigiano reggiano
  1. Heat at least 1 gallon of water to a boil with 2 tablespoons of salt.
  2. Option 1: heat a skillet over medium-high heat and melt the butter. Add the garlic, saute for a few seconds, then add the mushroom and some salt and saute for about 10 minutes until tender.
  3. Option 2: heat a skillet over high heat and the oil. Add the garlic and saute for a few seconds. Working in two batches, fry the mushroom with some salt, and without stirring very much so it really browns and caramelizes on some surfaces.
  4. For either option, add the thyme leaves towards the end of cooking.
  5. Boil the spaghetti according to the package directions, being sure to stop at al dente. Drain and toss with a bit of butter or olive oil. Divide among 4 bowls. Add the lemon juice to the mushroom mixture. Taste and add salt if needed. Top with the mushrooms and cheese.


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Posted by Michael Natkin on Monday, October 13th, 2008 in Main Courses, Recipes.

22 Responses to ““Lobster Mushroom” Spaghetti – Recipe”

  1. Reply
    October 13, 2008 at 9:43 am #

    Gosh, I have never heard of a lobster mushroom, but what a crazy fungi … lol!

    Sounds like a wonderful meal.


  2. Reply
    October 13, 2008 at 10:01 am #

    I almost skipped this recipe in my feed reader because I thought it was for pasta with mushrooms and lobster! I’m glad I checked it out – it sounds delicious.

  3. Reply
    October 13, 2008 at 10:56 am #

    I tasted my first lobster mushroom this weekend, at the Dundee Bistro (owned by the Ponzi family, of Ponzi Vineyards). I thought it was quite mild with a great texture. They are beautiful, too, aren’t they?

  4. Reply
    October 13, 2008 at 2:23 pm #

    Woah- that is an awesome mushroom. I’ve always wanted to taste one.

  5. Reply
    October 13, 2008 at 10:14 pm #

    Wow. This is entirely new to me, but sounds like it might be really tasty. I’ll have to set my lobster pots in the woods and catch one! 🙂

  6. Reply
    October 14, 2008 at 7:15 am #

    What a neat find! I’ve never had this kind of mushroom. You whipped up something that sounds fantastic.

  7. Reply
    October 14, 2008 at 9:45 am #

    This looks like an awesome recipe. Thanks for sharing.

  8. Reply
    October 15, 2008 at 7:40 am #

    This looks absolutely amazing. I’m new to your blog, but I’ve been browsing your archives and I love what I see. I’ve been complaining to everyone I’ve met about the fact that vegetarian cooks so often try to replicate meat-based dishes (often unsuccessfully) rather than being creative and making use of all of the wonderful properties of vegetarian ingredients. I see in your blog the creativity and flavor that I have been craving. Thank you!!! Welcome to my blogroll.

  9. Reply
    October 15, 2008 at 8:14 am #

    I had no idea there was such a thing. Love new things, it looks great.

  10. Reply
    October 17, 2008 at 7:31 pm #

    oooh! Lobster mushrooms are lovely. I think I say that about a lot of things, but I LOVE them…with pasta = perfetto 🙂

  11. Reply
    October 18, 2008 at 5:29 am #

    i heart lobster mushrooms! this looks very yummy!

  12. Reply
    October 28, 2008 at 1:38 am #

    I also heart lobster mushrooms. We are lucky where we live, we get to pick wild lobster mushrooms locally!

  13. Reply
    August 6, 2009 at 4:18 pm #

    A belated thank you for posting this. I found some lobster mushrooms at a local shop and yours is the first vegetarian recipe I’ve found for them. I’ve never cooked with them before and am looking forward to trying your recipe.

  14. Reply
    August 20, 2009 at 6:59 pm #

    I just made the vegetable oil version of this, using pecorino romano as the cheese, and it came out beautifully! Thanks for posting it.

    I usually make risotto with lobster mushrooms, but they were cheap in the market this week and I didn’t have time to make something that labour intensive – this is now a great alternative that I’ll definitely make again.

  15. Reply
    Arnie Mitchell
    October 3, 2010 at 9:55 pm #

    Very good recipe, We picked fresh mushrooms and tried it out, very good , Only one problem, I had to cook the mushrooms twice, I ate the first batch after saute. Got to Love those mushrooms

  16. Reply
    Michael Natkin
    October 3, 2010 at 10:01 pm #

    That's a good problem to have 🙂

  17. Reply
    October 23, 2010 at 12:01 am #

    my husband and I just harvested our first lobster mushrooms, the reciepe looks great thanks!

  18. Reply
    October 7, 2011 at 1:14 pm #

    this came out great! we found our mushrooms in the woods near us, and i used the butter option. added some thinly sliced and lightly fried butternut squash as a side, even my two year old ate it! unbelievable!

  19. Reply
    September 28, 2013 at 10:12 pm #

    One of our servers was hiking in the hills , found a cash of Lobster mushrooms, brought them back to the bistro, asked me what they were, told her to find more. as a reward I cooked her up a delicious omelet with the mushroom and some other things. Fresh is best.

  20. Reply
    October 11, 2014 at 2:33 pm #

    I made it!!…lobster mushrooms with fettuccine not spaghetti and used butter…added few chunks of roasting ham…excellent pasta dish!! I loved the flavour of lobster mushroom…just don’t let them sit in your fridge for too long after you buy or pick them…

    Bon appetit to all food lovers!!

    • Reply
      October 13, 2014 at 5:38 am #

      Glad you enjoyed it!

  21. Reply
    July 28, 2015 at 6:00 am #

    I have come across a ton of these in Arizona if anyone is interested

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