Photo by Eugenia Bone
Provenance of Dish
The sauce in this dish is created when the starch from the pasta mixes with the chicken stock.
For this recipe use about 6 morels around 2 to 3 inches tall per person, or the equivalent mass in other sized morels. You can use dried morels: rehydrate in cool water, and then wash thoroughly. It is best to use thin spaghetti (spaghettini) or thin linguini (linguini fini). They will absorb the stock more efficiently.
Thicker pasta will work, but you will need more stock and the taste will be wheaty. Very thin pasta like fedelini is good, but it absorbs fast, and tends to get knotted and overcooked. If I use stock to cook fedelini, I prefer to serve it as a soup.
4 to 6 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons thinly sliced shallot
24 fresh morel mushrooms, washed well
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
24 oysters, shucked, with liquor strained and set aside
1 ½ quarts chicken stock
¾ pound spaghettini (thin spaghetti) or linguini fini
6 to 8 tablespoons pea shoots or baby arugula
Heat the butter in a Dutch over a medium heat. Add the shallots and morels and cook, stirring frequently, until the morels emit their liquor (dried morels won’t produce much liquid), and become perfumey, about 5 minutes. Continue cooking until the shallots are soft and the morels are cooked, another 7 minutes or so.
Bring the stock to a gentle boil in your pasta pot over a medium high heat. Season the stock to taste. Add the pasta. It will be stiff and stick out of the stock. Be patient. Gently push down the pasta, and after about 5 minutes it will soften and collapse into the stock. Stir often, as the pasta tends to stick together. Cook the pasta in the stock until it is al dente. You will notice the starch from the pasta thickens the stock to create a sauce. Add a little more stock or water if the sauce gets sticky. Do not overcook the pasta. It is best to serve this pasta loose.
Add the cooked morels and raw oysters and broth to the pasta and cook for a few minutes until the oysters are opaque and the flavors meld. Season to taste
Pour the pasta into a serving plate making sure each serving gets equal numbers of mushrooms and oysters and garnish with the pea shoots.