One of my favorite treats during this time of the year is morel mushrooms. Morels, with an earthy, nutty, steak-like flavor, are considered by many to be the king of mushrooms. They certainly are in our family!
Morels have a sponge-like appearance and hunting them down can be quite challenging.
According to Mother Earth News, their five year growth cycle and tendency to cross-pollinate make finding them something akin to a connect-the-dots game. In our neck of the woods, morels are plentiful after wildfires, a time after which they tend to grow abundantly in the forest.
I made a pasta dish with my recent collection of morels. I’m hoping for more before the summer is over.
- 1 ½-2 cups of morel mushrooms
- 2 TBSP butter
- 1 TBSP olive oil
- ½ shallot, chopped
- 1 clove garlic, chopped
- 2 TBSP tarragon
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 1/3 cup chicken broth
- ¼ cup cream
- Sprinkle of flour
- Parmesan cheese
- ½ pound pasta, prepared al dente
Sauté mushrooms in butter and olive oil for about 15 minutes, until somewhat crisp. Add shallots and garlic on low heat for another 2-3 minutes. Add tarragon. At this point, you can proceed to the next step or turn off the heat until you are ready to finish the sauce.
When the pasta is almost ready, add the chicken broth, cream and Parmesan cheese to the mushroom mixture. Mix in a little flour to thicken, then season with salt and pepper to taste.
Pour the sauce over the pasta and add more grated Parmesan cheese on top.
Serve with a tossed salad and bread. Serves 2-3.
Note: The “negotiable” ingredient in this dish is the cream. If you prefer a broth flavor and lower fat dish, leave out the cream. If you prefer a creamier, richer taste, you can add more cream.
Photo courtesy of Mother Earth News.