We are definitely blessed here in Seattle when it comes to availability of fresh fungus.
Or, at least, I assume we are.
I never used to like mushrooms, or really even shopped locally, before moving here. That’s two strikes against me actually knowing what my previous abodes had for mushrooms at varying times of the year, at least in terms of local availability. Global commerce, trains, planes and automobiles, all make it so that just kipping on down to the supermarket is all you need to do to pick up some fresh mushrooms.
But again, here? Every Spring signals the start of the morel season. Well, this year, the weather we’re having, it might be morel season all year long. Morel season begets Chanterelles begets Black Trumpets and Bolettes… or… well, I think. I don’t know, I’m not a great forager. Langdon Cook would know far better than I.
Anyways, as I said, the weather has been crazy this year and, maybe it is just my faulty memory, but I don’t remember having morels in almost July last year.
But, on the other hand, I’m not complaining.
As we were walking through Ballard Farmer’s Market this past Sunday, after picking up some salmon from Wilson Fish, we spied the largest morels sitting out on Foraged and Found’s table and couldn’t resist. We weren’t entirely sure what we were going to do with them, but we knew we’d come up with something.
What we did manage to come up with was not just one, but two recipes using these lovely little mushrooms. And joy of joys, both of the are exceedingly easy. This one here, with prep time, was probably 30 minutes from start to eat.
And this was tasty. Creamy, rich, cheesy, everything you want in a pasta dish assuming, of course, that you don’t want red sauce. Maybe it’d be better to say everything you want in a white pasta dish. That better?
Pasta with Morel Sauce (serves 2)
- Morel mushrooms, 2 cups fresh, sliced thin
- Butter, 2 tablespoons
- Spring onion, 1/2 tablespoon, finely chopped
- Chervil or Parsley, 1 tablespoon, finely chopped
- Pasta, 5 ounces (or whatever feeds the two of you)
- Cream, 1/4 cup
- Parmesan or Romano cheese, freshly grated
- Fill a pot with water, a splash of olive oil and put on medium high heat. Once it hits a boil, add the pasta.
- Add butter to a large skillet and sauté the mushrooms on medium heat.
- After 2-3 minutes, stir in spring onion, chervil and salt and continue cooking until mushrooms are tender, around 5 to 10 minutes. If mushrooms start to dry out, add in a small splash of water.
- When pasta is finished cooking, drain and return to pot.
- Add the cream to the mushroom sauté and occasionally stir.
- Once it has thickened, mix in cheese to taste (and more cream if you want to adjust the consistency) and pour into the pasta pot and mix.
- Top with cheese, parsley and black pepper and serve.
Note: The eagle eyed among you, or those who just happen to make the dish a lot, may notice that the morel mixture is very similar to the Creamed Morels on Toast. And it is. Very similar. And, atop pasta, it’s awesome. We were a little worried there just wouldn’t be enough sauce, but, it clung to the pasta (spaghetti in our case) like the taste of Summer in those first few days of Fall.
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