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.
ONE YEAR AGO: Succotash