Spring for spring pasta

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Just this morning showed again how rapidly fast nature starts to blossom and bloom and spring back into life. The surrounding fields are a carpet of furrowed rich brown earth, lush green wheat and bright yellow rapeseed while the apple trees are dressed in clouds of white blossom. Buttercups have appeared overnight, red poppies are dotting the green and whispy grasses sway on wonderful sunlit meadows. I’ve seen a pheasant this morning and the first butterfly of the season – I am overflowing with joy & gratitude & general happiness (while engaging a little sporting activity).

Overwhelming bliss caused by everything spring – or La Primavera if you speak Botticelli – is mirrored in this delightful pasta dish where indecisiveness and immoderation are a good thing.Go for it, just get the lot, a handful of this and a bunch of that at the market stall: fresh new peas, tiny broad beans, green asparagus, chives and spring a few extra bucks / pounds / euros for some morels (shying away from fresh morels and their regular inhabitants, dried ones are perfectly fine to substitute here). Naturally, a good homemade or artisan (read: special) pasta should match this luxuriousness.

What to do when you are desperate to have dinner, the pasta is hot and smells delicious while your better half is getting edgy & exasperated: take the damn picture and get on with it, you wait and see for yourself! I do not cook for a photo, I photograph what we eat and most of the times that’s done right before supper (when things get hectic & people are hungry). Sometimes I am prepared, occasionally (here) I am not, sometimes I have daylight & time, sometimes not. Oh, wait, I’ll better cook it again soon and make another picture. Jolly good, I knew I could find a reason to splurge on morels again…

 

Add a starter: salmon tartare & salmon tartare, Pea shoot salad with bacon wrapped chèvre, Jambon persillé (Ham hock terrine with parsley), Duck eggs with Dukkah, Whitefish salad from halibut, Leeks with yoghurt & sumach, Tandoori octopus with preserved lemon relish, Palmiers,

 


Tagliatelle with fresh peas, broad beans, green asparagus tips & morels

Serves four. Inspired by the equally delightful ricotta gnocchi in Bon Appetit.

 

 

2 handfuls of morels (if using dried: 30-40g / 1-1½ oz.)
2 handfuls of fresh peas (in their pods)
2 handfuls of broad beans (pods)
1 bunch of green asparagus, using just the tips or cut into 1 inch / 2.5 cm pieces
1 banana shallot (or two small ones), finely chopped
butter (about 3 tablespoons)
olive oil
Fettucine or Tagliatelle (I use 70g or 2.5 oz. per person)
chives, finely chopped or snipped
zest of one lemon
salt & white pepper
Parmesan (Parmigiano Reggiano), grated

 

If you are using fresh morels, clean them thoroughly & check the inside for any grit or insects, it is best to halve them and give them a good rinse. If you are using dried morels, which are quite clean and have a little more concentrated, intense morel flavour, place them into a bowl and cover with boiling water, leave to rehydrate for 20 minutes. Rinse and pat dry.

Prepare the vegetables: Have a pot with hot salted water ready and blanch the vegetables (separately) for about thirty seconds to a scant minute and refresh in ice water. Dry and set peas & asparagus aside. Remove the tough white skin from the broad beans and set aside as well.

In a pan, melt 1 tablespoon of butter with a lug of olive oil and slowly cook the fresh or dried morels for about 5 minutes, add the finely chopped shallot and cook until translucent and soft (5-8 minutes). Add 2 more tablespoons of butter and the reserved vegetables, season. Meanwhile cook the pasta and add a few tablespoons of the pasta water to the vegetables shake the pan and let reduce for a minute for a light, emulsified sauce. Toss with the pasta, sprinkle with lemon zest, chives and Parmesan.

 

 

 

 

 

Deutsches Rezept:

 


Tagliatelle mit frischen Erbsen, Saubohnen, grünem Spargel & Morcheln

Für 4 Personen. Inspiriert vom leckeren Rezept in Bon Appetit.

 

2 Handvoll Morcheln (oder 30-40g getrocknete Spitzmorcheln)
2 Handvoll frische Erbsen (in Schoten), gepalt
2 Handvoll Saubohnen (in Schoten), ausgepalt
1 Bund grüner Spargel, in 2.5 cm Stücke geschnitten
1 Bananenschalotte oder 2 kleine Eschalotten, fein gehackt
Butter (ca. 3 EL)
Olivenöl
Tagliatelle oder Fettuccine (ich rechne 70g pro Person)
Schnittlauch, fein gehackt oder geschnipselt
Zesten von einer Zitrone
Salz & weißer Pfeffer
Parmesan (Parmigiano Reggiano), gerieben

Frische Morcheln gründlich reinigen und auf Insekten untersuchen, am besten halbieren und kurz waschen. Getrocknete Morcheln sind bereits ziemlich sauber und haben durch das Trocknen einen intensiveren Geschmack. Sie werden mit kochendem Wasser übergossen und für ca. 20 Minuten eingeweicht. Abspülen und trockentupfen.

Das Gemüse vorbereiten: Einen Topf mit kochendem Salzwasser vorbereiten und die Erbsen, Saubohnen & den grünen Spargel einzeln kurz blanchieren (ca. ½-1 Minute), anschließend in Eiswasser abschrecken, abtropfen lassen. Erbsen und Spargelstücke beiseite stellen, die harte weiße Haut von den Saubohnen abziehen und ebenfalls reservieren.

 

In einer Kasserolle oder Pfanne 1 EL Butter mit einem Schuß Olivenöl erhitzen und die Morcheln für 5 Minuten langsam kochen, nicht braten. Die Schalotten hinzugeben und beides zusammen für weitere 5-8 Minuten erhitzen bis die Schalotten glasig und weich sind. Zwei EL Butter und die reservierten Gemüse hinzufügen, mit Salz und Pfeffer würzen und erwärmen. In der Zwischenzeit die Tagliatelle oder Fettuccine kochen und ein paar Löffel vom Pastakochwasser zum Gemüse hinzugeben, die Pfanne leicht schütteln und 1-2 Minuten zu einer leichten Sauce verbinden lassen. Mit den Nudeln vermischen und mit Zitronenschale, Schnittlauch und Parmesan bestreuen.

 

 

 

 

 

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19 thoughts on “Spring for spring pasta

  1. I LOVE MORELS! There, I said it. Picture made me salivate, no matter what you say. Beautiful recipe and it is with a bit of sadness that I have to admit that I haven’t seen anyone selling them fresh here in Somerset. Know the dried are fine, but the fresh ones are so much more subtle in taste albeit a bit of a pain to clean. Off to the Farmer’s market on Saturday to shop and replicate this wonder. Thank you!
    J x

    • My pleasure, love to be the inspiration for your supper plans and I hope you’ll find some! How odd, the stalls here are brimming with fresh morels and I was amazed how many there were and good they looked – hence the ‘give me two handfuls of this and that and throw some more in’. I’m off to get sardines on Saturday thanks to you and Picasso…. n xx

  2. I don’t think I’ve ever eaten a morel mushroom… though I’ve read a lot about them 🙂 This looks delicious! Love the idea of the fresh greens with the lemon and butter. Yum. A perfect celebration of Spring 🙂

  3. I always enjoy reading your posts! This recipe looks delicious and I will have to try it soon. Plus, it sounds like a go-to meal when I’m in a rush to make dinner at night. 🙂

  4. You remind me of a package of dried morels waiting for me in my pantry! How did you know? I´m sure they´re fantastic in your recipe. And the asparagus is of course a must these days, I have some green spears in the refrigerator, what a lucky coincidence!

    • You’re welcome, Sabine, a fabulous treat is awaiting you!
      That reminds me to get some more – since I made this dish for the first time last year, I find the thought of not having dried morels in stock somewhat disconcerting. N xx

    • I am so amazed how much changes in a day or two – saw two cornflowers yesterday! Thank you so much, Claudia, I cannot wait to make it again while we are inundated with morels, hope that’s the same for you. N xx

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