Monday, November 14, 2011

Backyard Wild Morel Pasta

Photo by shantilly picnic
Last weekend was the closest I've ever been to foraging, when I picked some wild morels that were growing in my parents backyard. It's an incredible treat to find edible mushrooms in your own backyard and morels might be the most easily identifiable. Also called Morchella, morels appear sponge-like, similar to pine cones or honeycomb. There are black and brown morels, the brown being most common. There aren't many mushrooms that can be mistaken for a morel but it is possible. The best way to be sure is to cut them in half, lengthwise. If it's hollow, you've got yourself a morel! They do contain small amounts of hydrazine toxins, which means they shouldn't be eaten raw and apparently, shouldn't be consumed with alcohol. I learned this after enjoying my delicious finds with a big glass of unoaked chardonnay..

Ingredients:
Makes 4 servings

Fresh pasta
4-6 large brown morels
2 Tbsp butter
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup white wine
Grey sea salt 
Fresh ground black pepper
Shaved Parmesan

Procedure:

First, try not to over wash the morels, as it may ruin the delicate flavor. I rinsed them very carefully under a slow stream of water using a small paint brush to remove some of the hard-to-get soil. Remember to cut them lengthwise to (1) make sure they're morels and (2) get rid of any stowaway buggies. 

Photo by shantilly picnic
In a large skillet melt butter on medium heat. Add garlic and saute until lightly browned, then add morels and saute until the mushrooms have given off most of their liquid and are slightly browned. Remove the morels and set aside. Add the white wine and a pinch of salt to the remaining butter. Boil the liquid until is had evaporated to the consistency of syrup. Add the morels back to the skillet and briefly mix everything together. Remove from the heat and serve over fresh pasta, topped with freshly shaved Parmesan, salt and pepper to taste.  


Photo by shantilly picnic
Add the white wine and a pinch of salt to the remaining butter. Boil the liquid until is had evaporated to the consistency of syrup.


Photo by shantilly picnic

Add the morels back to the skillet and briefly mix everything together. Remove from the heat and serve over fresh pasta, topped with freshly shaved Parmesan, salt and pepper to taste. 

Photo by shantilly picnic
Photo by shantilly picnic

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