Sunday, May 23, 2010

Fava, Leek, and Morel Pasta

I have no idea how, but Terrin's husband FOUND real morel mushrooms while turkey hunting last week. I saw them for about $50/lb at the co-op last week so that's pretty cool. She generously offered a few of them up for a beautiful Friday night dinner al fresco at Alicia's house.

Morels are just such a fleeting spring delicacy that I wanted to pair them with other elusive and complementary items. I would have loved to have found ramps (wild leeks) but struck out and substituted regular leeks.

Also, I have always wanted to try fresh fava beans. They're labor intensive - you have to peel them twice. Once you get the bright green peas out of the pod, you blanch them in salted boiling water for 2-3 minutes.

After boiling, rinse with cold water and pinch the emerald green beans from their shells.

Marry all these lovely spring things together with some whole wheat fettucini noodles and a huge pile of finely grated parmigiano-reggiano cheese (the real stuff!). The soft leeks, cheese, and pasta water trick you into thinking there's some kind of fatty cream sauce on the pasta!

Try a version of this meal and you'll have a hearty, healthy, flavorful bowl of spring goodness that is best enjoyed with great friends, great wine, and the great outdoors.

Fava, Leek, and Morel Pasta
1 lb fresh fava beans
3 leeks, diced and cleaned
Morel mushrooms (or other wild mushrooms - I added a package of criminis also)
3/4 package whole wheat fettucini noodles
1 cup grated parmigiano-reggiano cheese
lots of freshly ground black pepper

To prep the fava beans: remove each bean from the pod. Boil for 2-3 minutes in salted water. Pop green beans out of light green shells. Set aside.

To prep the leeks: cut off root end and dark green tops. Slice lengthwise then chop into smaller pieces. Soak in a large bowl of cold water and separate all the pieces. The dirt should fall to the bottom of the water bowl.

To prep the mushrooms: wipe with a dry paper towel or brush to remove dirt. Slice.

Heat 2 Tbsp butter and 2 Tbsp olive oil in large skillet. Add leeks and mushrooms. Cook until leeks are soft and mushrooms are cooked, about 10 minutes. Add fava beans, a pinch of salt, and lots of black pepper.

Cook noodles according to package instructions. Reserve 2 cups of pasta cooking liquid. Add pasta to leek/mushroom/fava mixture. Add cheese and enough pasta water to melt cheese and keep everything moist.

Enjoy immediately!

ONE YEAR AGO: Succotash


  1. I found morels recently, too. Isn't it fun?

  2. Catherine - I saw your awesome post about the morels! I was a little skeptical about eating foraged mushrooms but Terrin and Matt didn't die so I knew I'd be OK. Will you post about how you prepared and enjoyed yours? Curious if you did something special with them!

  3. YUM! That's all I have to say!

  4. Being inspired by this post Ben and I FINALLY made the fresh fettuccine that we have had frozen for almost 1 month now! Only changes were that we boiled the pasta and about 4 minuets before it was done added our cut up LOCAL asparagus and frozen peas! after 4 minutes we tossed it w/ the FRESH goat cheese, lemon zest, tarragon and olive oil and lots of parm we had mixed in a bowl while the pasta was cooking! (oh and added the pasta water! which was a great trick! thanks!) the addition of the goat cheese was magnificent it made the pasta even creamier and so fresh! we crawled out onto our fire escape w/ two heaping bowls of pasta, some carrot rappe and a chilled bottle of white wine to enjoy our meal, conversation and two bears rolling around across the street! XO!!!

  5. Cass, that sounds delicious! I made a similar dish with whole wheat pasta shells, canned tuna, peas, lemon juice, and goat cheese but it was just too ugly to blog about!

    And, ummmm, bears rolling around? Yikes.