I'm lucky enough to have a friend who hunts for mushrooms but doesn't eat them. Gretta enjoys the thrill of the hunt. So, for the second year in a row, she has brought me part of her bounty: a tupperware full of beautiful blondish brown morels.
This recipe, roughly inspired by a Suzanne Goin dish, highlights the flavors of the morels beautifully. They're sauteed in butter, thyme, and salt and pepper and then joined with blanched asparagus and leek. The dish is pure mushroomy goodness with the crunch and zing of asparagus.
Morel, Asparagus, and Leek Pasta
1 pound pappardelle
2 medium leeks, trimmed of the green part and quartered lengthwise
2 cups (or more!) or fresh morel mushrooms, halved if large
2 tablespoons fresh thyme leaves
2 tablespoons minced parsley
1 garlic clove, minced
Juice of 1/4 lemon
4 - 5 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons good quality olive oil
salt and pepper
Blanch the asparagus and leeks in heavily salted water for five minutes each.
Cook the pasta as directed on the package in heavily salted water. Drain and then toss with lemon juice, olive oil, parsely, and garlic.
Heat a non-stick pan for two minutes. Add 3 - 4 tablespoons of butter. When it foams, add morels. Cook for another 3 - 4 minutes on high heat. Turn down the heat and add thyme, salt, and pepper.
Cook for another 3 - 4 minutes until the mushrooms are slightly crispy on the outside. Add another tablespoon of butter and the blanched asparagus and leek. Simmer for another two minutes until all the vegetables are hot and coated with butter.
Pour over pasta and serve.