Tuesday, May 7, 2019

Springtime Pasta with Asparagus and Morels

When I get nervous, I cook. Sunday, while listening to the hockey game between the St. Louis Blues and the Dallas Stars, I was very nervous. Baseball is my game, but when a local team advances to the playoffs, I am suddenly an avid fan. The Blues, had they lost the game, would have been eliminated from the playoffs, so I was a bit tense, to put it mildly.

I find cooking during moments like these to be relaxing, and so, with windows and doors open, and balmy spring breezes floating in, I pulled out ingredients suitable for the day and set to work.
Springtime Pasta with Asparagus and Morels

1 lb. Melissa’s asparagus - green, white, or a combination of both
1 ½-oz. pkg. Melissa’s dried morels*, 
hydrated according to pkg. directions
1 T. olive oil
1 T. butter
1 large shallot, minced
2 T. garlic, minced
1½ c. whole milk
1 c. Parmesan cheese
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1 Tablespoon cornstarch
1/3 c. minced fresh parsley
Juice of one lemon (about 3 T.)
8 oz. pasta of choice, I used

Trim asparagus and cut into 2” diagonal pieces. Bring a large pot of water to a furious boil, and drop in asparagus. Return to a boil, cover, and set a timer for 3 minutes. Meanwhile, fill a large mixing bowl with ice water and grab a spider. When the timer goes off, using the spider**, remove asparagus to the ice water-filled bowl to cool, and add the pasta to the boiling water. Cook according to package directions; drain.

Drain asparagus while pasta is cooking.

Heat the oil and butter in a large skillet.  Add the garlic and shallot, and sauté until translucent, approximately 3-4 minutes. Add whole milk to the skillet and whisk occasionally, bringing to a simmer; whisk in cornstarch. Stir in the Parmesan cheese, parsley, salt, and pepper.  Simmer until sauce thickens slightly. Taste and adjust seasoning. Add pasta and vegetables, stirring to coat.

Just before serving, drizzle the lemon juice over the whole skillet. Serve with an additional sprinkle of parsley and Parmesan cheese.

Makes 4 main dish servings.

*If you are lucky enough to have fresh morels, by all means, use them!

**If you don’t have one, get one, you will find them invaluable. I have this one.

If you are the morel fan that I am, you will certainly enjoy this Poached Wild Salmon with Pea and Morels.

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