Chicken & Morels over Wild Mushroom Fettucine has pleasing earthy taste
Peggy Lampman | Contributor
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Richard and I were in the Traverse City area a few weeks back, and our waiter informed us he believes this will be a great year for morel hunting; we've had a very wet spring. I, however, have yet to find time to go hunting in my favorite hot spots, but that's not to stop me from enjoying this recipe.
Morels are beginning to sprout at markets, such as Hiller's, across town; past sightings have been at Village Corner; if you seem 'em, grab 'em before they're history. But not to fret if you don't have fresh morels at your disposal, this recipe is divine substituted with the ubiquitous shiitakes. I highly recommend using the Al Dente Wild Mushroom fettucine as the base for the dish. This pasta has an earthy wild mushroom flavor, integral to the dish's success.
Time: 35 minutes
Number of servings (yield): 4
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons finely chopped shallot
4 (2 pounds) skinless, boneless chicken breast halves, sliced lengthwise into strips
1 red pepper, seeded, membranes removed then cut into matchstick pieces or diced
Fresh morel mushrooms, as many as you can find or afford, brushed dry or wiped gently clean,* or 1/2 ounce dried, soaked morels. Leave morels whole if small, cut in half if large.
1 (12 ounce bag) Al Dente Wild Mushroom pasta or egg fettuccine
1 teaspoon fresh chopped thyme, plus several sprigs for garnish
3 tablespoons heavy cream
1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. In a large sauté pan over medium heat, heat olive oil and butter. Add shallot and saut&eaucte; until transparent, about 3 minutes.
2. Lightly season chicken breast strips with kosher salt and freshly ground pepper and add to pan; sauté 3 minutes per side. Add red pepper and sautÃ© an additional 2 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the morels and sauté 1-2 minutes, until they begin to wilt and brown. (You will lose the “snap” of the texture and much of the elusive flavor if cooked too long.)
3. Meanwhile, add pasta to boiling water and cook according to package directions. With a slotted spoon, remove chicken and morels from pan and whisk in chopped thyme and cream. Return chicken and morels to pan and stir into cream, gently reheating.
4. Serve pasta topped with chicken and morels. Garnish with thyme sprigs and serve.
*Cut off the stem close to the cap to avoid heavily sandy areas. Rinsing can compromise the crispness and flavor so only wipe off what is necessary to remove excess sand or dirt. If damp, pat morels gently dry before cooking.
Peggy Lampman is a real-time food writer and photographer posting daily feeds on her website and in the Food & Grocery section of Annarbor.com. You may also e-mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org.