Let me start by saying “I LOVE MOREL MUSHROOMS”.
Many years ago I tried morels after Spence returned from a visit to Charlevoix (in northern Michigan) with a paper lunch bag chock full of them. They grew on private wooded property belonging to his friend Don. I’d only heard of morels but knew they were not to be squandered. I proceeded to prepare scrumptious meals over the following days with this “gift”; we were in foodie heaven.
And I was hooked.
On very rare, random occasions I’ve come across morels since then and always succumb to their allure. A dear, lifelong friend was coming this past Wednesday for a visit and I was grocery shopping when my eyes locked on two boxes. They were perfect and they were mine. There was no price – I didn’t care! I now knew what the menu for the following night would be. After I’d purchased them I texted Jerene to ask “do you like Morels?“. Almost instantly she replied “I love them” (not a surprise as she is a fellow foodie).
My herb garden is bursting and I went foraging to find those which would complement the “recipe” I was formulating. “Which pasta?” I pondered. I recalled during my recent visit with her in Grand Rapids, I’d purchased a box of artisan Butternut Sage Pappardelle made at this amazing market that we’d visited. “Perfect!” I thought since I’d already planned to use the gorgeous sage growing on my patio. Funny how a plan comes together right? Here’s how I prepared it:
Morels with Herbed Butternut Sage Pappardelle serves 4-6
- 7 oz Butternut Sage Pappardelle
- 12 oz morel mushrooms
- 1 minced shallot
- fresh chopped herbs – flat leaf parsley, sage, thyme, garlic & regular chives, rosemary
- really good extra virgin olive oil
- 1 T butter
- 1 – 2 T all purpose flour
It is important to soak the morels in salted water for at least twenty minutes (per Pinterest morels have all these little crevices and tiny insects could be lurking…). Drain and rinse them thoroughly and place on paper towels in a single layer and let them air dry.
While the morels are drying, all the herbs should be given a fine chop. I kept them seperated so that I could add pinches as I went along, saving some for garnishing.
Heat a deep skillet, adding the butter and enough olive oil to cover the bottom of the pan. Add the shallots and saute for about 2 minutes.
Raise the heat to medium high. Toss the mushrooms with that little bit of flour, they’ll be coated very lightly. Add them to the skillet with the shallots. Move them around as you want them to cook for about six minutes, browning a bit. Start adding pinches of the various herbs to taste.
While they are cooking, prepare the pasta per the package instructions, drain and drizzle with olive oil, toss in some of the herbs. Add the morels to the pasta, tossing gently. Garnish with any herbs that remain. As a special treat, I fried 10 velvety sage leaves in a bit of butter till they begin to crisp and topped the pasta with them. Serve immediately and bon appetit!
I served this meal with a salad of baby spinach, sliced strawberries, dried cherry covered goat cheese, toasted pecans, slivered red onion and avocado chunks, dressed with a White Peach & Strawberry Vinegar, EVOO and a pinch of sea salt.
As a side dish, I wrapped bundles of 4 asparagus spears with a slice of prosciutto, drizzled with extra virgin olive oil, fresh lemon zest and cracked black pepper, roasted at 375 degrees for about 10 minutes.