Pasta with morel mushrooms and ramps tastes like Spring in a bowl and is one of my favorite recipes with ramps and morels. Just about every year I try to get out and hunt a few morels with my old chef, friend and mentor Chef Andy Lilja. He's currently chef at Colossal Cafe in St. Paul.
After a great hunt one morning near Frontenac Minnesota we came home with a bunch of fresh morels. This simple morel pasta sauce with ramps is what he put together for dinner. I try to make it once a year-here's how to make it.
Ramp and Morel Spaghetti Ingredients
This is a light pasta dish without cream, reminiscent of dishes Andy taught me to make at the Italian restaurant we worked at. You'll need fresh ramps, or shallots, garlic or green garlic, dried pasta, butter, parmesan cheese, chicken stock, white wine, and a little anchovy paste.
How to Make Ramp and Morel Spaghetti
First the morels are washed and cleaned, then sliced in half or cut into pieces if they're large. You start the pasta with a little oil and the morels.
Next you add sliced ramp bulbs or shallot and garlic and cook. A little anchovy paste is also added.
Then the pan is deglazed with white wine and the ramp leaves are added and cooked to wilt them.
Chicken stock is added, then the mixture is cooked down and reduced by half. This helps make a nice, light sauce. Then the pasta is added off the heat and tossed with the morel sauce.
You finish the dish by adding some ramp leaf butter or unsalted butter and mixing to form a creamy sauce. At the end, you add parmesan cheese to taste, and twirl the noodles into a bowl, spooning the goodies from the pan on top.
- Make a creamy morel sauce for pasta by adding ¼-1/2 cup heavy cream after the chicken stock is reduced.
- If you don't have ramps, use a combination of shallot and garlic.
- If you're vegetarian, use mushroom stock or vegetable stock instead of chicken stock.
- The hot chili is great here and makes it taste Italian, I don't recommend skipping it.
- You can undercook the pasta slightly and finish cooking it in the sauce for maximum flavor.
Ramp and Morel Spaghetti
- 1 10 inch saute pan
- 1 2 quart pasta pot
- 4-8 ounces fresh morels depending on availability
- 4 oz dried spaghetti
- 2 teaspoons anchovy paste or a couple filets optional
- Pinch of crushed red pepper flakes
- ¼ cup dry white wine
- ½ cup chicken or other stock
- Kosher salt to taste, plus more for the water
- 3-4 Tablespoons grated parmesan to taste
- 4-5 large ramps bulbs and leaves sliced, reserved separately
- 3 tablespoons ramp leaf butter or unsalted butter
- 1 tablespoon olive or other cooking oil for sweating the morels and ramps
- If the morels are very large, halve them, small morels can be trimmed, rinsed, and added whole if clean. Rinse the morels in water to remove any detritus, then dry on towels.
- Afterwords, cut the morels into roughly 2 inch pieces and reserve.
- Add a tablespoon of cooking oil to a large saucepan on medium heat. Add the morels season with a pinch of salt, then add the ramps, or shallot and garlic, anchovy paste stir and cook for a minute more, stirring occasionally. If the pan gets dry, add another glug of oil.
- When the pan starts to color around the edges, deglaze with the wine, cook down by half, then add the stock and cook down a bit more.
- Meanwhile, cook the pasta in salted water until al dente, drain, and add to the pan with the morels and ramps.
- Add the crushed red pepper, ramp leaves and the ramp leaf butter if using. Turn the heat to medium, then reduce the liquid to concentrate the sauce, turning the pasta over with tongs to coat with the sauce, allowing the heat to melt the butter. Add a splash of pasta water if the pan gets dry.
- Season with salt and pepper to taste as needed, toss in half the parmesan, divide between 2 heated bowls and serve with the extra parmesan on the side.