Pasta with Morels, Marsala and Cream

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Morels have a rich woody flavour and they are a decadent treat. Like truffle, they should be used simply. Use fresh or dried pasta for this recipe though we prefer the silky texture of fresh – you’ll find it in the chilled section of most supermarkets. Check the pack for timings, fresh pasta takes about 6 minutes to cook and dried pasta between 7-12 minutes depending on the type you choose.

Ingredients

400g tagliatelle, spaghetti, linguine or penne
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
200g morels, cleaned and trimmed and quartered
2 tablespoons olive oil
20g butter
3 shallots, peeled and sliced finely
2 tablespoons marsala or white wine
150ml vegetable or chicken stock
150ml single cream

Instruction

1. Cook the pasta in lots of boiling salted water according to the pack instructions until the pasta is al dente. Drain.

2. While the pasta is cooking, fry the morels in a large frying pan over medium heat using half the olive oil and butter until thoroughly cooked (see note below). Remove the morels to a plate. Add the rest of the olive oil and butter to the pan and cook the shallots over a gentle heat until soft. Add the marsala or white wine and stock and turn the heat to high. Reduce the liquid by half. Remove the pan from the heat, add the cream little by little, stirring as you add it so it doesn’t curdle.

3. Add the cooked morels to the sauce, toss, heat through, add more salt and some freshly ground black pepper and toss through the drained pasta.

FOOD NOTE: Always make sure that you cook morels very well as they are poisonous raw and safe when cooked! Never use them raw in any dish, salad or as a garnish. We have suggested that you quarter them for this recipe to make sure they cook through.

HOW TO ADAPT THIS RECIPE
You can use any mushrooms – fresh or dried – In this recipe.

TO USE DRIED MUSHROOMS
Use half the quantity of dried morels or porcini instead of fresh, rehydrating them in boiling water for ten minutes first.  Strain the dried mushrooms, chop finely and fry briefly with the garlic and continue following the instructions in the recipe above. Keep the strained soaking liquid and use as part of the volume for the stock.

TO USE FRESH MUSHROOMS
Switch the fresh morels for any other fresh mushroom from shiitake to porcini, ceps to button or portobello mushrooms, slicing them finely first.

ADD CHICKEN | Cut 2 chicken breasts into strips, fry in olive oil until golden and cooked through (there should be no pink when you cut into a piece). Toss the cooked chicken into the finished pasta.

ADD A VEGETABLE | Steam chopped tenderstem broccoli or asparagus and toss through the pasta and sauce.

COOKING TIP | HOW TO STOP A HOT SAUCE CURDLING WHEN YOU ADD CREAM
The safest way to add cream (or any dairy cream addition) to a hot sauce is to spoon some of the sauce into a bowl or cup, add the cream (or yogurt, creme fraiche or sour cream) little by little while stirring, then add this warm liquid back into the hot sauce. This tempers the cream, warming it up so it is close in temperature to the sauce and stops it curdling. If the sauce does curdle blitz it in a bullet blender. Never heat a sauce with cream over high heat or it will split.

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