I'm just going to let this picture speak for itself. Hungry yet?
Morel mushrooms - although not exactly purty - are one of the mushroom kingdom's greatest gifts to the world. And if you're as big a fan of morels as I am, meaning you covet them, and stalk them for the few weeks of the year when they are available fresh, and are willing to pay out the nose for them if you don't hunt them yourself ($50 a pound is not uncommon)... well then - the photo and recipe for this pasta dish should set you drooling. And I can assure you, it is as good as it looks and sounds. (Truth be told - this dish can be made with any meaty mushrooms: portobellos, shiitakes, crimini or even plain old white buttons. Good to know for the other 11 months of the year when you can't get morels!)
Credit goes to my friend Pauline for the suggestion of adding sage to the browned butter (I'm usually just a purist - butter, mushrooms and a dash of salt please!) - but the herb just livens up the earthy, woodsiness of the mushrooms even more. You really can taste the forest from whence they come - and if you're lucky, the smoke from the fires that coaxed the spores to life. Just thinking about it makes my mouth water.
So get theyself to a good Farmers Market in the coming weeks and gorge on these goodies while you can. Mother Nature giveth, and she taketh away - so don't let Spring pass you by without making a meal out of some morels!
Lemon/Pepper Pappardelle with Morels, Broccolini and Sage Browned Butter
- 8 ounces pappardelle pasta (I used the DELICIOUS lemon/pepper variety from Trader Joe's)
- 1/2 pound of fresh morel mushrooms (To clean morels: soak in really cold water to remove dirt; rinse/repeat until water runs clear. You can also gently rub them between your fingers to loosen dirt from the grooves. Air dry thoroughly.)
- 1/4 pound broccolini, trimmed (broccoli rabe will also work)
- 1/4 cup butter
- 6-8 large sage leaves, chopped