Sunday, May 31, 2015

Capellini with Morel Mushrooms in Cream Sauce

Capellini - Angel hair pasta - is a favorite at our table. It is dainty and takes well to light sauces, no marinara here. Cream sauces go especially well with it and tossing in some delicious morel mushrooms is the perfect accompaniment.

Let me back up a second, if you haven't had fresh morel mushrooms, find them now. They are truly seasonal, lasting only a few weeks and only in certain places. Mostly farmers markets are the place they will pop up (hee, hee, hee, couldn't resist the pun!). But sometimes a local natural foods store will get lucky and buy some from a local forager, because that's the only way to get them.

In this sauce, I sauted the bulk of the morels and added some cream. Just to gild the lily, I saved a few and fried them quickly to make a crispy garnish. Wow! Spectacular! Don't skip that part!

Capellini with Morel Mushrooms in Cream Sauce
(serves 2-3)

1/2 lb morel mushrooms, roughly chopped, with 2 set aside whole
1/3 lb angel hair
1/2 cup red onion or shallot, minced
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon parsley, minced
1/4 cup white wine (I used a sauvignon blanc)
1 cup cream
hard cheese for grating (asiago, parmesan, pecorino)

Slice 2 morels in half lengthwise and then quarters lengthwise and set aside. Heat a skillet over medium high heat and add oil. Saute onion or shallot until it is soft, and add chopped morels. Saute until they begin to give up their juices and continue cooking until they begin to stick to the pan. Deglaze with the wine and cook until the pan begins to begin dry again. Add cream and stir to mix well. Cook on simmer for another 5-8 minutes until sauce begins to thicken. Season with salt and pepper and keep warm.

Boil water for pasta and cook pasta as directed. Drain and save 1/4 cup of cooking water. Add water back to pasta and swirl in sauce. Swirl with a wooden spoon to bring out the starch and make the pasta creamier. Add all but a pinch of the parsley.

In a small skillet, heat 1 tablespoon of oil on high heat and fry quartered lengthwise morels until crisp. Plate pasta for individual dinners and top with cheese, parsley, more pepper and fried morel pieces.


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