Creamy Morel Pasta Recipe

by vitus
Creamy Morel Pasta

Today, I’m thrilled to share a recipe that holds a special place in my heart: Creamy Morel Pasta. If you’ve ever wandered through a forest in spring, the allure of morel mushrooms is undeniable. Their earthy aroma and delicate texture elevate any dish they grace, and when paired with a rich, creamy sauce, they create a symphony of flavors that’s simply unforgettable. Join me as we dive into the enchanting world of morel mushrooms and make a pasta dish that celebrates the best seasonal ingredients and comforting flavors.

What Is Creamy Morel Pasta?

Cream Morel pasta is a delicious dish that combines pasta with morel mushrooms, typically in a creamy sauce. Morels are prized for their unique flavor profile – earthy, nutty, and with a hint of smoke.

Ingredients:

  • Pasta: Choose a pasta that will capture the sauce well, like fettuccine, tagliatelle, or even pappardelle. 12-16 ounces of dried pasta will serve 4-6 people.
  • Morel Mushrooms: The amount depends on their size. Fresh morels can be tricky, so 1-1.5 ounces of dried morels is a good starting point. If using fresh, aim for 8-10 ounces.
  • Heavy Cream: This creates the base of the creamy sauce. You’ll need 2 cups.
  • Parmesan Cheese: Freshly grated parmesan adds a salty depth and umami flavor. Aim for about 1 cup.
  • Aromatics: Shallots or garlic (or both!) add complexity to the sauce. 1 shallot, finely chopped, or 2 cloves of garlic, minced, will do.
  • Butter: 3 tablespoons of unsalted butter will be used to saute the mushrooms and build the sauce.
  • Fresh Thyme: A couple of tablespoons of fresh thyme leaves add an herbal touch that complements the earthiness of the morels.
  • White Wine (Optional): 1/2 cup of dry white wine can deglaze the pan and add acidity, but it’s not essential.
  • Stock (Optional): A vegetable or chicken stock splash can add extra depth, but reserved pasta water works well too.
  • Salt & Freshly Ground Black Pepper: To taste.

Instructions:

  1. Prep the Morels: Gently brush off any dirt and carefully trim the stems. Slice the morels in half (lengthwise for larger ones).
  2. Dried Morels: Rehydrate them by soaking them in warm water for 20 minutes. Strain the soaking liquid (reserve for later) and pat the morels dry.
  3. Cook the Pasta: Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the pasta and cook according to package instructions, aiming for al dente (slightly firm to the bite). Reserve about 1 cup of pasta water before draining.
  4. Saute the Morels: Melt the butter in a large skillet or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the shallots or garlic and cook until softened about 2 minutes. Add the morels and cook for 5-7 minutes, stirring occasionally, until golden brown.
  5. Deglaze (Optional): If using white wine, pour it into the pan and scrape up any browned bits from the bottom. Let the wine simmer for a minute or two to cook off the alcohol.
  6. Build the Sauce: Add the heavy cream, reserved soaking liquid (if using), and a splash of stock (optional)—season with salt and pepper. Bring to a simmer and let the sauce thicken slightly about 5 minutes.
  7. Incorporate the Pasta: Add the drained pasta and the grated parmesan cheese to the pan. Toss everything together until the pasta is well coated with the sauce.
  8. Finish and Serve: Stir in the fresh thyme leaves and adjust seasonings with salt and pepper to taste. Serve immediately in warmed bowls, with additional grated parmesan on the side for those who like it extra cheesy.

Tips:

  • Don’t Overcook the Morels: Morels cook quickly, so be mindful not to overcook them. They should be tender but still have a slight bite.
  • Pasta Water is Gold: Reserve some pasta water before draining! When incorporated into the pan, the starchy water helps create a silky smooth sauce.
  • Spring Variations: If you can’t find fresh morels, substitute with other wild mushrooms like chanterelles or shiitakes. Add fresh spring vegetables like peas or asparagus for extra color and texture.
  • Leftovers: Creamy morel pasta dishes can get heavy when reheated. Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 days. Reheat gently on the stovetop, adding a splash of milk or cream to prevent dryness.

What To Serve With

Light And Simple:

  • Arugula Salad: Arugula’s peppery bite cuts through the creaminess of the pasta beautifully. Dress it simply with a lemon vinaigrette and a sprinkle of shaved parmesan cheese.
  • Roasted Vegetables: Roasting vegetables brings out their natural sweetness and caramelizes them slightly. Roasted asparagus, Brussels sprouts, or cauliflower would all be delicious options.
  • Garlic Bread: A classic for a reason! Crusty bread allows you to soak up the leftover sauce, and the garlicky flavor adds another dimension to the Creamy Morel Pasta.

Heartier Options:

  • Grilled Chicken or Steak: Pair the creamy morel pasta with grilled chicken or steak if you want a more substantial meal. This adds protein and keeps everyone satisfied.
  • Sautéed Greens: Sauteed spinach, kale, or Swiss chard with a touch of garlic and olive oil add a pop of color and extra nutrients to the plate.

Something Special:

  • Truffle Oil: A drizzle of truffle oil adds a luxurious touch that complements the earthy flavor of the morels. Just be sure to use high-quality truffle oil sparingly, as a little goes a long way.
  • Fried Sage Leaves: For a crispy and flavorful garnish, fry some fresh sage leaves in butter until crisp. Scatter them over the pasta for a beautiful and delicious finishing touch.

Drinks:

  • Wine: The morels’ earthy flavors pair well with white and red wines. Choose a crisp white wine like Pinot Grigio or Sauvignon Blanc to stay light. For a red option, try a Pinot Noir or a lighter-bodied Chianti.
  • Sparkling Water: If you’re not a wine drinker, sparkling water is a refreshing accompaniment to the rich flavors of the creamy morel pasta dish.

Health Benefits

  • Nutrient-Rich: Morel mushrooms contain essential vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. They are exceptionally high in vitamin D, crucial for bone health, immune function, and overall well-being.
  • Low in Calories: Pasta with morels can be a relatively low-calorie dish, mainly if you use whole wheat or grain-based pasta. This makes it suitable for those watching their calorie intake or trying to maintain a healthy weight.
  • Rich in Fiber: Whole wheat pasta, often used in pasta dishes with morels, is an excellent source of dietary fiber. Fiber is essential for digestive health, promoting regular bowel movements and reducing the risk of constipation, hemorrhoids, and diverticulosis.
  • Protein Content: Pasta itself contains some protein, and when combined with morel mushrooms, it becomes a more protein-rich dish. Protein is essential for muscle repair and growth and for the production of enzymes and hormones in the body.
  • Antioxidant Properties: Morel mushrooms are rich in antioxidants, including phenolic compounds and flavonoids. These antioxidants help to neutralize harmful free radicals in the body, thereby reducing oxidative stress and lowering the risk of chronic diseases such as heart disease, cancer, and neurodegenerative disorders.
  • Immune Boosting: The high levels of vitamin D found in morel mushrooms can help support immune function, reducing the risk of infections and illnesses. A strong immune system is essential for overall health and well-being.
  • Supports Bone Health: Vitamin D is crucial for calcium absorption, and mineralization is essential for maintaining strong and healthy bones. Including more mushrooms in pasta dishes can contribute to bone health and reduce the risk of osteoporosis and fractures.
  • Versatility: Pasta with morels is a versatile dish that can be customized to suit individual tastes and preferences. You can add a variety of vegetables, herbs, and spices to enhance the flavor and nutritional content of the dish, making it a nutritious and delicious meal option for the whole family.

Final Thoughts

The journey through the flavors of pasta with morels has been nothing short of enchanting. From the earthy aroma of the forest to the delicate dance of flavors on the palate, this dish is a testament to the beauty of simplicity in cooking. As we’ve explored the process of preparing creamy morel pasta, it’s evident that the key lies in honoring the ingredients. With their unique umami-rich taste. The morels impart a depth of flavor that elevates the dish to a gourmet experience. Combined with the simplicity of pasta, garlic, butter, and a sprinkle of herbs, each bite becomes a symphony of taste.

Other Pasta Recipes:

Creamy Morel Pasta

Rating: 5.0/5
( 1 voted )
Serves: 4 Prep Time: Cooking Time: Nutrition facts: 385 calories 19 grams fat

Ingredients

  • Pasta
  • Morel Mushrooms
  • Heavy Cream
  • Parmesan Cheese
  • Aromatics
  • Butter
  • Fresh Thyme
  • White Wine (Optional)
  • Stock (Optional)
  • Salt & Freshly Ground Black Pepper

Instructions

  1. Prep the Morels: Gently brush off any dirt and carefully trim the stems. Slice the morels in half (lengthwise for larger ones).
  2. Dried Morels: Rehydrate them by soaking them in warm water for 20 minutes. Strain the soaking liquid (reserve for later) and pat the morels dry.
  3. Cook the Pasta: Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the pasta and cook according to package instructions, aiming for al dente (slightly firm to the bite). Reserve about 1 cup of pasta water before draining.
  4. Saute the Morels: Melt the butter in a large skillet or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the shallots or garlic and cook until softened about 2 minutes. Add the morels and cook for 5-7 minutes, stirring occasionally, until golden brown.
  5. Deglaze (Optional): If using white wine, pour it into the pan and scrape up any browned bits from the bottom. Let the wine simmer for a minute or two to cook off the alcohol.
  6. Build the Sauce: Add the heavy cream, reserved soaking liquid (if using), and a splash of stock (optional)—season with salt and pepper. Bring to a simmer and let the sauce thicken slightly about 5 minutes.
  7. Incorporate the Pasta: Add the drained pasta and the grated parmesan cheese to the pan. Toss everything together until the pasta is well coated with the sauce.
  8. Finish and Serve: Stir in the fresh thyme leaves and adjust seasonings with salt and pepper to taste. Serve immediately in warmed bowls, with additional grated parmesan on the side for those who like it extra chee

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