Mafalde Pasta with Morel Mushrooms and Asparagus encompasses everything magical about spring: bright, tender shoots of green asparagus, and mushrooms that can only be found with a walk in the woods, suddenly pleasant after several months of cold. I am tardy with sharing this recipe, however, since my own spring turned magical with a trip to Italy, and boy have I got things to say about driving here! Scroll to bottom of post for the recipe.
I will get to the pasta in a minute, but first, admit it, you have been wondering about me driving in Italy. Or you are Facebook friends with me and already know that I have (re)mastered stick and now zoom up and down 15-20% grade hills that are only about as wide as my car.
You think I jest. Ha.
Many people advised me not to drive in Italy. To that I said hogwash. I guess it is the American in me, but I just cannot fathom being somewhere for 4 weeks without a car–and that is not a large city. Emphasis on that last part. I could live in Rome or Paris or London for 4 weeks without a car easily, but Calabria is pretty remote. I am more convinced than ever now that I have done it that I would have missed so much without the car. Like what you ask? Medieval (Baroque? Some era, who knows, but OLD) cities carved out of mountaintops appearing out of nowhere when one gets lost driving to Poitano, for example (top middle photo and the church in the second complete row).Breathtaking mountain vistas. Farms with wooly lambs. The experience of being unfazed by 3 lane creation in a 2 lane road just so people can pass. Crazy switchbacks for getting up and down mountains. My personal favorite, stopping for a shepherdess and her goats crossing the road coming home from Tropea:
Notice the dog on the far right? There were several, one was chasing a car, or so it seemed, but then we realized he was with the goats. Made me nervous! But still! Goats! Crossing the road! That made me so happy I took 2 pics:
Anyway, suffice to say it has been exhilarating and I would now rent a car anywhere in Europe. Except the British Isles. I need more than 4 weeks to work up to right sided driving in the left lane!
OK this dish. Remember the asparagus dish I shared a little bit ago? I served pork tenderloin to my family with asparagus. I had leftovers of each, but no leftover bread and not enough leftover asparagus for all 4 of us. So I re-served the pork as it was, but I turned the asparagus into a new dish, helped by the fact that while my family was with me they went mushrooms hunting and found several pounds of morel mushrooms on my property!
If you cannot find (or afford the ones in the store) morels, I would still make this dish with different mushrooms. The morels were amazing, but not worth not making the dish over. Because the dish is fantastic. Likewise, if you do not have leftover Asparagus with Lemon and Sesame, just blanch fresh asparagus and add some lemon juice and zest. And if your store does not carry Mafalde pasta, just grab some tagliatelle or fettuccine.
- 1 T extra virgin olive oil
- 3 T unsalted butter, divided
- 1 large yellow onion, thinly sliced
- 6-8 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 T fresh minced thyme
- approx. 1 lb fresh morel mushrooms, quickly soaked to remove any hiding critters and bottoms of stems removed
- salt to taste
- 1/4 cup dry white wine
- 1/4 cup heavy cream
- leftover asparagus (if using fresh use 1 bunch, blanched and add lemon juice)
- fresh ground black pepper to taste
- 1 lb dry mafalde pasta, cooked to your preference
Heat the oil and 1 tablespoon of butter in a large skillet over medium high until shimmering. Add the onion with a pinch of salt. Cook, stirring, until the onions are translucent and starting to get golden, about 10 minutes.
Add the thyme and garlic and mix. Cook for another 1-2 minutes.
Add the mushrooms with another pinch of salt. Cook, stirring, until the mushrooms have released their water and have shrunk a bit, 5-8 minutes.
Add the wine and stir, cooking until the moisture has evaporated.
Add the cream and asparagus and toss. Cook until the sauce has thickened and the asparagus is heated through.
Add salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste. Add the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter, as well as the cooked pasta, and toss. Serve immediately.
I still believe that morels must be dredged in flour and sautéed in butter, but this looks very tasty. And I love all the ingredients. By the way, you drive like an Italian and I had a blast being the world’s worst navigator.
I love the pictures! And I know what you mean about the goats. Years ago I was in Durango, Colorado and we had to stop on a back mountain road for several Cowboys on horses who were herding cows. It was amazing!
We are going to be driving in Italy (just in Tuscany..and just the.boy – I don’t really drive) and we definitely went back and forth on it but Tuscany is so spread out that we definitely need it. This pasta is definitely spring epitomized!
Exactly! We are just hitting Florence for a few days, but if I was spending 4 weeks (like here, or even just a week or 2) in a smaller town in Tuscany? Absolutely. You want to get out and see it!
Barrett @dirtylaundrykitchen.com says
Morels. Morels. Morels. I haven’t had mine yet this spring. Maybe this is the vehicle.
Alisa @ Go Dairy Free says
You are so brave! I would definitely leave the driving to my husband if we opted for a car – which I know he would for the same reasons as you!
Morel mushrooms are on my foodie lust list! That sauce must get in all the little groves and pockets. Mm mm mm!
Kate @ Diethood says
That looks like driving through Macedonia, my home! 😀 I refuse to drive out there… my hat’s off to you!!
Such beautiful pictures of the food and Italy… that dish sounds so, so good!
Barbara | Creative Culinary says
I would have to have a car too…and the dog thing would freak me out; I hear they are CRAZY drivers in Italy…but then they stop for goats so that makes up for it right?
One word. Morel mushrooms; or I guess two. Ah…the days when I would hunt for them and eat them lighted floured and fried in butter. No more…now a dish like yours has me salivating for just one tiny bite. Yum is the word!
It is AMAZING to me how well they stop for everything honestly. Thanks re the dish!
Faith (An Edible Mosaic) says
Your pics are so pretty! I love the goat crossing – that would have made my day too. 🙂
And I don’t think pasta gets any better than this! Mushrooms + creamy sauce = perfection.