Mrs. Vino recently had an interesting life experience that reminded her to count her blessings every day. A few days ago, I had more blessings to count than usual because a member of our vino family came to pick up a wine shipment and gifted me with a beautiful bag of dried Morel mushrooms. Coincidentally it was the same day that I received my favorite cooking magazine – Cooking Light – which had a great feature on . . . Morel Mushrooms. So with HUGE thanks to our Club Member Maria L., here is my tweak on Cooking Light’s Spring Pasta with Morels.
SPRING PASTA WITH MORELS
1 T butter
1 t. olive oil
1/2 medium onion finely minced
1 T chopped fresh thyme
1 t Herbs d’Provence
1/2 t. Kosher Salt
2.5 ounces dried Morel mushrooms (1 package of dried Morels)
1 C. chicken stock
1/2 lb of Asparagus
1/4 c. half-and-half
grated rind of 1 lemon
3 ounces low fat cream cheese (softened)
1/2 t. freshly ground black pepper
Shaved Parmesan or Asiago to garnish
Your favorite dried pasta
PREP: Put the chicken stock into a 2 cup pyrex measuring cup or large coffee cup and microwave for 1 minute to warm. Immerse the dried mushrooms in the chicken stock and let rehydrate for 15 minutes. With a vegetable peeler or mandoline (watch your fingers!!!), shave the asparagus into long thin strips. Bring a large pot of water to a boil.
COOK: Scoop the mushrooms out of the stock with a slotted spoon. Give them a rough chop. Save the stock. Melt butter and oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onion, Herbs d’Provence, salt and mushrooms. Saute for 4ish minutes. Add the reserved stock – pour it out slowly, there will be some grit from the dried mushrooms in the bottom of the cup and you do NOT want gritty pasta sauce. Bring mixture to a boil then reduce heat to a simmer until liquid is reduced by half (about 2 minutes). Pull off the heat.
Add the dried pasta to the pot of boiling water and cook per package directions. When there are 2 minutes left in the cooking time of the pasta, add the shaved asparagus to the boiling water. While that is finishing –
Add the half-and-half to the mushroom mixture, then return the mixture to medium heat. Add the cream cheese, lemon zest, pepper and thyme, stirring until the cream cheese melts and the sauce thickens (about 2 minutes). Drain the pasta/asparagus and toss it with the mushroom/cream mixture. Put on pretty plates. Top with the shaved parmesan. We had this with Morovino’s new Merlot and it was just amazing. Mr. Vino made happy food noises.