Last evening a customer enjoyed our most recent morel entrée which is a direct take off on a similar appetizer that we made during last year's morel season.
You'll notice that I include a cured pork product in both dishes; it's because pork and mushrooms have a great affinity for one another: think bacon and mushrooms! Sometimes I omit the cream and use veal demiglace instead. Sometimes when I use the cream, I mix in a tablespoon of veal demiglace at the end. This dish is also benefits from the addition of a vegetable, especially a foraged one such as wild asparagus, fiddleheads, or stinging nettle leaves. Asparagus and spinach are great as well.
Morels with Pancetta on Pappardelle
8 ounces pappardelle
1 tablespoon clarified butter
2 ounces pancetta in 3/8" dice
1 shallot, halved and thinly sliced vertically
6 ounces fresh morels
1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves (lemon thyme is particularly good)
pinch salt and pepper
1/2 cup heavy cream
Cook the pappardelle in boiling water until done. Meanwhile, heat the clarified butter in a sauté pan and add the pancetta. After this has cooked a minute, add the shallots and continue to cook until the pancetta is nearly crisp and the shallots have started to caramelize.
Add the morels and thyme and cook for another couple of minutes, stirring. Add a pinch of salt and pepper and then the heavy cream. Cook until the morels are soft and the cream is reduced. Add more cream or water as necessary. Add the cooked noodles and mix well. Adjust the seasoning. Garnish with fresh thyme.