Friday, June 22, 2007

Banana Bread and Morels

I made some banana bread today in my lovely bread bowl and have been nibbling on th wheat bread I made last night (which was ugly but tasty) I am pleased that my banana bread is not ugly.

Here in the midwest people are rather into a mushroom called the morel. Apparently people guard their morel gathering spots with their lives and the little blighters are prohibitively expensive anywhere else in the country. Here they cost six dollars for a small container courtesy of the local mushroom growers Forest Mushrooms.

Thanks to an NPR story (all good things are from NPR) we will de eating this meal tonight.

Pasta with Morel Cream Sauce

Morels have a tendency to turn cream a bit gray with prolonged contact, so in this recipe, they are sauteed separately then mixed with the cream at the last minute.

Serves 4

2 tablespoons olive oil

3 to 4 medium shallots, minced

2 cloves garlic, minced

1/2 pound morels, rinsed in cold water and drained on paper towels

1 cup heavy cream

1 pound dried fettucine or taglierini (or 1 1/2 pounds fresh pasta)

Fresh chives, snipped

Salt and pepper to taste

Bring a large pot of generously salted water to a boil.

While the pasta is cooking, heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat until it just shimmers. Add the minced shallots and a pinch of salt and saute until just beginning to color, 3 to 4 minutes. Add the minced garlic and saute until aromatic, about 30 seconds. Add the morels and saute for 2 to 3 minutes.

With a slotted spoon, remove the morels to a plate and reserve, leaving the aromatics in the pan. Add the cream to the pan and slowly simmer to reduce by nearly half.

Meanwhile, cook the dried pasta in the boiling, salted water until just al dente. If using fresh pasta, wait until the cream sauce is nearly done and cook the fresh pasta for just 2 to 3 minutes.

Drain the pasta and transfer to a warm serving bowl. Add the morels to the cream and heat briefly. Toss the morel cream sauce with the pasta and scatter with chives.

Serve immediately.