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Jun 16, 2007 03:25 PM

Looking for help with mushroom pasta dish....

Iron Chef me....

We bought some morels and porcini at the farmers market with the aim of making a mushroom pasta. I also have some hot italian sausage and all the other necessary accoutrement: garlic, white wine, shallot, olive oil, butter....

I already have some ideas on how I might attempt to assemble this dish but because I've never worked/cooked with fresh morels and porcini before, I'm really open to ideas and suggestions. So far all the morel recipes I've glanced at online have cream sauces and I don't have any cream in the house (I could go out and get some if it is necessary but would prefer not to).

Thanks in advance for any ideas/suggestions/advice you might have for assembling this dish.

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  1. Save the sausage for another time. Make a sauce with the porcini and morels - saute in butter or olive oil with shallot and a bit (not a ton) of garlic. Add white wine after the mushrooms have released their liquid and it has evaporated. I would, at this point, add some cream. Because this is a special dish and you really want to underscore the richness of the mushrooms. But if your really don't want to go out, simmer the sauce with a bit of chicken broth. Toss with freshly chopped parsley, salt and pepper. Hot pasta - plenty of Parmesan. Serve with a very good salad.

    Have the sausage tomorrow.

    7 Replies
    1. re: Nyleve

      If the morels and porcini are dried, you have to reconstitute them in some very hot water for fifteen minutes to a half an hour before proceeding. If you have sour cream in the house you could stir a couple of tablespoons of that into the sauce that Nyleve suggests. Just don't boil it once you put in the sour cream or it will separate.

      1. re: diva360

        Oho. I never thought that they'd be dried. Of course - I was, in fact, wondering where porcinis would be growing at this time of year. Right- reconstitute them first. In fact, you can reconstitute them in some heated chicken broth before using - then use the broth (strain to remove dirt) before using in the sauce. And yes - sour cream would be nice.

        1. re: Nyleve

          Actually, there are lovely morels and porcinis fresh in our Seattle farmers' markets right now. ilikepopcorn, are you in Seattle? I may have gotten my morels from the same folks you got your mushrooms from.

          I agree on holding off on the sausage; it will just overwhelm the mushrooms. I agree with the method above, and if you happen to have picked up any spring onions, use those with or instead of the shallots. After the mushrooms and wine, if you don't want cream, you can also hold off on broth too. Try sauteeing in some greens, chopped up well - sorrel, italian parsley, arugula, or some wild greens. Toss in pasta with some olive oil. Definitely parmesan or a similarly nutty cheese.

          1. re: Nyleve

            We have porcinis and morels here in the SF Bay Area now as well, saw them at the grocery store Sunday. (I'm a Berkeley Bowl groupie) Wild asparagus as well.

            1. re: Louise

              Very nice. Morels I can understand, as they're a spring mushroom. But porcinis don't usually show up until August or September. I wonder if they come from South America. A couple of years ago I was surprised to find porcinis available in Italy in July - and they were gathered in Italy (I asked).

              1. re: Nyleve

                Depends where you are. Looking at your posts, I'm guessing Ontario.

                I don't know how familiar you are with California geography, but we have a bunch of very distinct climates all jammed in one state, and it's very possible that the 'little pigs' could have come from one of the more forested areas to the north, where it is cool and wetter. Here in the SF Bay Area it is possible to gather chanterelles, in wet season of course.

                Of course, you are right that they could be from much farther away. I didn't ask.

        2. re: Nyleve

          I have to agree, save the sausage for another time. Italian sausages, particularly the spicier ones, have a... let's say bold taste that is going to completely overwhelm morel mushrooms. Now I was lucky enough to grow up eating wild morels so I don't know what they cost in a market but I'm sure they are pricey. You don't want to take something that cost $1.49 a lb and use it so you cannot taste something that cost $10 (? really, I don't know) a lb. The Stradivarius does not play back up to the tuba.

        3. Hey Y'all
          Nyleve's suggestion sounds great! I would maybe add a touch of nutmeg to underscore the earthiness of the mushrooms.
          Good Luck and Good eating!

          1. I try not to give my fiance too much saturated fat. Last week we had some fresh mushrooms and I wanted a creamy sauce for them. So I just made a simple roux with 1 tablespoon of flour and 1 tablespoon of heart healthy canola oil then added 1%milk slowly to make a nice sauce. It actually came out great! He thought it was cream...true it still had calories and fat, but better calories and fat ;-).

            1 Reply
            1. re: yomyb

              I agree with yomyb-- I whisk up a "fake" cream sauce pretty regularly with milk and fine gravy flour (Wondra) and throw in a little fresh grated parm and herbs.