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The highest quality that a human being can reach is to be independent of the good opinion of others. Mazlow
They are such fickle creatures. Arbitrary, inconsistent and delightfully elusive. They care little about conforming to our modern ways, or fitting in, or being good, or being liked. They just live their life, their own way, on their own schedule, independent of our good opinion. And we love them all the more for it.
What are Morel Mushrooms?
Morels, if unfamiliar, are mushrooms found in the wild, and have a delicate earthy, nutty flavor. They are distinct in appearance with their coned-shaped “hats” and honeycomb texture. But it’s their aroma that strikes me today. Not exactly pleasant, but not exactly off-putting either. Quite intriguing actually. Beguiling.
Morel Mushrooms refuse to be tamed. As our relationship with the earth continues, fewer and fewer things have remained truly wild. We have managed to domesticate, manipulate, govern and control the production of most of our food. But morels, admiringly, have evaded all our efforts to cultivate them in any commercial fashion and to this day, must be hand foraged in the wild.
Where to forage for Morel Mushrooms?
Part of the challenge of finding morels is their unpredictability. They do not stay in the same place from year to year but move around without rhyme or reason with a detached aloofness. People spend hours searching for them, combing woods and forests, and often to return home empty-handed. And perhaps this is part of the allure. The stumbling upon them, the chance encounter, the seeking but not always finding; this is what makes the hunt so much sweeter.
There are many theories on where to find them. Some believe they grow mainly in forested areas that have been burned or cleared…or in orchards. But they pop up in surprisingly common places as well. A friend of mine once found some growing in her backyard. Lucky, that one.
Another found some near a garbage dump. Still, to depend on them to return to the same place the next year, or to hope for any future with them, or consistency, or loyalty, is only asking for heartache.
I wish I could say I stumbled upon these, but no, not this time. For a wedding reception we catered last weekend, I purchased some fresh morels from a couple of local foragers, Gourmet Foragables in Spokane. Because they are found in the wild, and not easy to find, prices can run pretty high. But regardless, I bought a few extra to bring home with me.
The challenge was creating something that would enhance them without overpowering them or lose them among too many other ingredients. The other challenge was not having to run to the store again, and instead, try to use what I already had at home. Which was pasta.
For a flavorful and luxurious topping, skip the pasta and just serve Morels with Miso Brown Butter over fish, chicken, beef or even seared tofu.
This whole-wheat spaghetti was toothsome and hearty. Toasted, it had an even deeper flavor.
Serve with good crusty Bread. You could use olive oil instead of butter, but butter really does enhance the morels. When cooking I try to use butter sparingly, but there are some situations where butter is just… better! Butter and mushrooms are good together. 😉
More mushroom recipes you may enjoy:
- Mushroom Toast
- Polenta with Wild Mushrooms, Garlic and Sage
- Mushroom Risotto with Frizzled Leeks
- Creamy Mushroom Soup
- Creamy Vegan Mushroom Artichoke Pasta
Spaghetti with Morels and Miso Brown Butter Sauce
- Prep Time: 15
- Cook Time: 20
- Total Time: 35 minutes
- Yield: 4 1x
- Category: vegetarian main
- Method: stove-top
- Cuisine: northwest
Spaghetti with Morel Mushrooms and Miso Brown Butter Sauce, and simple delicious meal highlighting morel’s special flavor.
- 6–8 oz pasta (we used whole wheat spaghetti)
- 1/4 cup butter
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 teaspoon white miso dissolved in 1/4 C hot water ( or 1 more tsp miso– if not using cheese)
- 1–2 cup morels ( or more!)
- 2–3 cloves garlic, sliced or big chop
- 1 tablespoon seasoned rice wine, mirin, cooking sherry, wine, or even marsala wine (1/8 C- ish)
- Cracked pepper to taste
- 1/4 cup Italian parsley
- pecorino for dusting
- In a large pot, bring salted water to a boil for the pasta and cook spaghetti uncovered until al dente. For extra nuttiness, toast your pasta first, placing it single-layered on a sheet pan in a 375F oven for 15-20 minutes, or nicely browned. Then cook like normal.
- In a large sauté pan, sauté butter on Med Low or low heat until light golden brown and aromatic and nutty smelling. Add the olive oil and garlic. Saute 1-2 minutes until just fragrant. Add mushrooms. Saute on med-low heat until tender, careful not to burn the butter ( the olive oil helps here). You may need to turn the heat down to low, and stir often.
- When the mushrooms are tender, add a splash of wine Mirin, marsala wine or sherry. Let the alcohol cook off reducing about 1 min.
- Add the miso water. Cook for another min until reduced and most water is evaporated. Set aside. (You could stop here and spoon this over fish- halibut, salmon, scallops- or Beef or Chicken).
- Drain pasta saving 1/2 cup of pasta water. Place the pasta into the skillet, combining with the mushrooms and browned butter, coating the pasta. If too dry for your taste, and a splash of pasta water to loosen it.
- Stir in fresh parsley, plate and serve with a light sprinkling of fresh grated pecorino and cracked pepper. Taste for salt.
- Calories: 375
Keywords: mushroom pasta, morel recipes, morel mushroom recipes, wild mushroom pasta, mushroom pasta recipes, morels, morels recipes
Yum! I used 170-grams morels and 8-oz whole wheat garlic fettuccini. I followed the recipe as written and it turned out fantastic. Morels are such a special treat so I was excited to see you had a recipe that made them the star. 🙂 Thank you for all the amazing recipes you share!
I’m so happy you found this older recipe- one of my favorites!
That was super delicious! Took me awhile to figure out how to brown the butter the right color. I used 2 cups or morels, added a sprinkle of cilantro because that was the only green I had. It was “restaurant quality”!!!
Awesome Karen! I bet the morels were delicious!
I live in Florida and cannot source fresh Morels. Can I sub dried in this recipe?
Hi Dana, you know I haven’t tried this with dried mushrooms, so I’m not sure. What if you mixed dried morels with another fresh mushroom?
Trying it tonight. I will let you know.
Wondering about the dried morels? What did you think?
This miso brown butter sauce is so delicious!
This was delicious and allowed for the morels to be the star of the dish! Definitely use more morels if you can! 🙂
Im so glad you enjoyed this!!!
Very creative pasta dish! Pinned!
In Indiana, we typically coat morels in a bit of flour and egg for a pan-fried treat, but my parents and I wanted to try something a little different last year and found your recipe. It’s fabulous! We bought our usual batch of morels from a local forager yesterday, and we’re looking forward to using this recipe again this weekend. Thanks so much!
Oh Im so glad! Thanks for sharing…I just got some morels too yesterday~ they are the BEST!
Thank you for this recipe. I made this tonight and my husband and I really enjoyed it. It was exactly as you intended,enhancing the morels without too many ingredients to hide the flavor. I even had all the ingredients on hand (was looking for a new morel recipe for my foraged morels)which made it even more satisfying.
I’ve been thinking of cooking morels since ever! Just haven’t had the chance. Your miso brown butter sounds lovely too…not a combination I’ve had before.
If you have never tried them, and you are a mushroom lover, you will fall in love with them.
Interesting post. Never tried morel before. I am gonna check out and find some in our area and try your recipe. This is a unique pasta dish!
Great, let me know if you like them!