Rigatoni with Morels and Asparagus

Preparation info

  • Difficulty

    Easy

  • Serves

    4 to 6

Appears in

Everything on the Table

Everything on the Table

By Colman Andrews

Published 1992

  • About

The combination of fresh morels, asparagus, and Parmi-giano Reggiano is one of my favorite blends of flavor. Up jumped spring!

Ingredients

  • 1 pound fresh morels*
  • 1 pound fresh asparagus
  • Salt
  • Extra-virgin olive oil
  • 4 tablespoons (½ stick) unsalted butter
  • ½ cup good-quality dry red wine
  • 1 tomato, peeled, seeded, and finely chopped
  • ½ cup heavy cream
  • 1 pound rigatoni pasta
  • Freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano
  • freshly ground black pepper

Method

Trim morel stems slightly if they appear woody (do not remove too much), then rinse morels carefully in cool water. If they seem particularly sandy, clean them gently with a mushroom or pastry brush, then rinse again. Cut them into quarters and set aside.

Snap or cut off fibrous lower stems of asparagus spears, then cut asparagus into IV2” to 2” lengths. Blanch for about 3 minutes in boiling, salted water, then drain and rinse in cold water. Set aside.

Bring a large pot of salted water, to which a bit of olive oil has been added, to a boil.

Meanwhile, melt butter in a saucepan. Add morels and cook over low heat for about 5 minutes, stirring frequently, then add red wine to pan and increase heat. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes more, or until wine has reduced completely. Add tomato and cream, stir well, add salt to taste, and remove pan from heat.

When water is boiling, cook pasta to taste. Just before it finishes cooking, add asparagus to morels and reheat.

Drain pasta well, then toss thoroughly in a large bowl with a handful of Parmigiano Reggiano. Add morel mixture and toss thoroughly again. Add plenty of pepper and serve at once with additional Parmigiano on the side.

* This dish is incomparably better made with fresh morels, but dried ones may be substituted if necessary. Soak 3 to 4 ounces dried morels in warm (not hot) water for 20 to 30 minutes, changing the water once, drain, then proceed as with fresh morels.