Minnesotans prize their morels. We have friends who are brothers and each know 'secret' trees that erupt with morels in the spring. And neither will tell anyone where they are. They won't even tell each other.
If you're lucky to get a hold of these earthy morsels, don't wash them. Just shake them and wipe them with a paper towel. They do have a small amount of toxins in them so they must be cooked. This is not a salad mushroom.
To find them at the St. Paul Farmer's Market you must be at the market at 7 a.m. on a Saturday. (I love the Market but am very attached to my bedroom at 7 a.m. on a Saturday.) By 7:10 a.m., they're gone. I had secured some morels but not enough for the dish. I filled in with shiitake, oyster and crimini mushrooms. You can make this with a mixture of any of your favorite mushrooms. And soak some dried porcini and add them into the mix. This dish can never be earthy enough.
- Pasta with Morels Ingredients - generously serves 4
2 tablespoons Earth Balance butter
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 large shallot, minced
- 16 ounces favorite mushrooms (I had 8 ounces of morels and 8 ounces of "other")
- 1/2 cup half-and-half
- 3/4 cup chopped Italian parsley leaves
- 12 ounces tagliatelle or fettuccine (the sauce adheres nicely to the wide noodles; although curly noodles - a rigatoni would also help the sauce and mushrooms to cling to it)
Coarsely chop your mushrooms. Heat your butter and oil. Add your shallot and saute till soft (about 1-2 minutes).
Add mushrooms and saute till softened - about 8 minutes. Add 1/2 cup of the chopped parsley. If pan is dry, add a few more drops of olive oil.
Add your half and half and simmer together 4-5 minutes. The half-and-half will reduce a bit and become thickened.
While mushrooms are cooking, cook pasta according to package directions. This is heavenly-good with fresh pasta. Reserve 1/4 cup of pasta cooking liquid in case the pasta is not coated with sauce.
Combine pasta with mushroom sauce. Add the remaining Italian parlsey. If pasta is too dry, add a wee bit of the reserved pasta water. Breathe in the heady aroma. Some wanted freshly-grated Parmesan. Mushrooms and cheese. Wonders from fungus.