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Taglierini With Fresh Morels

Morels are delicious simply sauteed in butter, with a light sprinkling of salt at the end of cooking. One of my favorite recipes, clipped from The New York Times in 1984, places them in a heavenly pairing with cream sauce and pasta.

1/2 pound fresh morels
1 bunch scallions
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 pound taglierini or other narrow ribbon pasta
1 cup table cream
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

Put about 4 quarts of water in large pot, cover and set over high heat. While waiting for water to come to rolling boil, begin making sauce.

If necessary, trim morels, removing any moss or decay. Slice small morels in half; larger ones may be cut into 1/4-inch chunks or strips. Place in colander.

Trim scallions and slice, including green tops. Melt butter in saute pan and gently saute sliced scallions until limp. Just before putting morels in pan, run them under cold running water to rinse off any dust, shake vigorously and add to scallions. (Do not rinse morels far in advance as they may absorb too much water and become mushy.) Stir well, and saute morels over medium heat until liquid they have thrown off evaporates.

Add tablespoon of salt to boiling pasta water, stir with wooden spoon or fork, then put pasta in all at once and push it down with wooden implement. Cover partly until water returns to boil, then cook, uncovered, until pasta is done.

Meanwhile, turn heat under mushrooms to medium high and add cream. Let cream bubble rapidly and reduce to thicken. At point when pasta is ready to drain, add 2 tablespoons of grated cheese to morel mixture and mix well. Taste for seasoning.

Drain pasta and immediately turn into bowl or onto warm platter or individual plates. Top with morel sauce and serve, passing rest of grated cheese separately.

Yield: 4 to 6 servings, depending on whether first course or main course.

From the article "Fresh Morels: Unique Flavor Makes Them Worth the Effort," The New York Times, 1984

Thursday, April 27, 2000

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