Botanical: Morchella spp.
Notes: Rather than giving a description of morels leading to a few key ID characteristics, please read the excellent article by Michael Kuo on MushroomExpert.com about the trouble with identifying morels by their characteristics. He indicates that there are 16 types of morels identified by DNA analysis, but only 4 of them can be easily separated by physical features.
Asparagus & Morel Linguine with White Wine Mornay Sauce
1.5 lb. asparagus, trimmed, cut into 1-2″ diagonals
3/4 lb fresh morels (2 oz. dried, soaked in warm water, squeezed of water), cut crosswise into 1/4″ rings
6 spring onions, white part minced, greens sliced in thin diagonals
8 oz. linguine
5 T. butter
3 T. flour 1 bay leaf
1 C. dry white wine
1 t. salt
1/8 t. white pepper
1 C. half-and-half
4 oz. fresh goat cheese
1 oz. grated sharp cheddar
1 oz. grated Parmesan
- Cook the linguine in well-salted water until al-dente.
- Melt 3 T. butter over medium-high heat in a medium saucepan. Add the flour and bay leaf, stirring constantly for 1 minute or until lightly frothy. Whisk in the half-and-half and continue to whisk until the sauce simmers. Add 3/4 C. wine, 1/2 t. salt and the pepper and cook until the sauce thickens and simmers. Reduce heat to medium-low and stir in the cheeses. Continue to stir until cheeses are melted.
- In a very large skillet, melt the remaining 2 T. butter over medium heat. Add the morels and saute for 5 minutes. Add the minced white portion of the green onions and saute for 1 minute. Add the asparagus, the remaining 1/4 C. wine, and 1/2 t. salt. Braise covered for another 5 minutes or until asparagus is just tender.
- Drain the pasta thoroughly and add to the mushroom/asparagus skillet. Remove the bay leave and add the sauce. Add the green part of the green onions. Toss everything together and serve immediately.