With Autumn upon us, I’m in that mindset to switch to my colder weather cooking – casseroles, crockpots and last Sunday, my mouth-watering pot roast. I’d bought the most perfect carrots at the Farmer’s Market and thought they’d be a colorful and tasty side dish.
While I could have dropped them in with the simmering pot roast I wanted to change it up and do something visually stunning and delicious. Though it’s in the seventies today, on Sunday our furnace was on and having the oven fired up was welcome, making the kitchen cozy.
After perusing lots of recipes, as usual, I took those ingredients that looked the best from several recipes and came up with this. Visually stunning – check. Delicious – check. I wanted to share it as it would make a perfect side dish for Thanksgiving.
Oven-Roasted Honey Glazed Carrots
6-8 large carrots, peeled and cut into 3 inch long sticks
3-4 T honey
1-2 T extra virgin olive oil
1/2 t coarse black pepper
1/2 t sea salt
2 t balsamic vinegar
chopped flat leaf parsley, chives and thyme for garnish
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Line a shallow baking pan with foil (for super easy clean up), drizzle with olive oil and smear to cover the surface.
In a bowl, mix the olive oil, honey, pepper, salt and balsamic till blended. Add the carrot sticks and toss to completely coat them. Place the carrots in a single layer onto the pan, use a spatula to get any excess glaze out of the bowl and drizzled over the top. Bake for 20 minutes. Remove from oven, onto your serving platter and top with the chopped herbs. If you don’t have honey or want to make this vegan, maple syrup would be wonderful as a substitution.
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
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.