Serves 3 (as a first or pasta course)
3/4 oz dried morel mushrooms (1 cup) or 1/4 lb fresh
3 cups straight vegetable broth or a mix of morel soaking liquid and vegetable broth
1 lb medium asparagus, peeled, trimmed and cut diagonally into 1‑inch-long pieces (about 3 cups)
2 bunches spring onions, or scallions
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
2 bay leaves
1 pinch salt
1 tablespoon butter
2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 cloves finely chopped garlic
1 cup frozen peas
1 teaspoon finely grated fresh lemon zest
1 (9 oz) package Buitoni Wild Mushroom Agnolotti
grated Parmesano-Reggiano cheese (optional)
- If using dried morels, soak them in enough warm water to cover them for 30 minutes. To clean dried morels, agitate the water 2 or 3 times during soaking. For fresh morels, submerge them in cool water for 30 seconds, shaking them a bit to dislodge any grit. Then lift them from water, shaking and gently squeezing out excess. Pat them dry with paper towels. Cut morels (fresh or dried) in half length-wise wise, Smaller morels may be left whole at your discretion.
- If using dried reserve the soaking water.
- The key to success in this recipe is cooking all the vegetables separate. By cooking the vegetables separately you can ensure that the results are tender, and perfect. Creating a wonder foil for the sliky testure and rich flavor of the agnolotti.
- If you have chosen thick asparagus (which I think are the best choice here) they will need to be peeled. I would not want you to overcook these beauties. So I have a tip for peeling asparagus. I have mentioned it before, but I have included a photo that I hope makes it easier to understand.
- The tip is this: lay the asparagus one at a time prone on the countertop. Starting just below the bud run your peeler down to the bottom, rolling each spear as you work. This way the pressure you exert to get the peeler to work will not snap the asparagus in two. When you have finished them all, you can trim of the woody ends off for a very neat and consistent appearance.
- Once peeled, pour 3 cups vegetable broth (or 3 cups total soaking liquid plus vegetable broth) into a medium sized saucepan. If you are using the soaking liquid be careful to keep the grit from that has settled to the bottom from getting into your pan. Bring this liquid to a boil. Add asparagus and cook, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until tender-crisp, about 3 minutes. Transfer asparagus with a slotted spoon to a large bowl of ice and cold water to stop cooking, then drain and pat dry.
- Turn the heat down and reduce this liquid to about 2 cups. Set aside.
- Trim the onions, being careful to keep the root end intact so they stay whole while cooking. If using spring onions use the whole small bulb plus about 1/2 inch of the stalk. If using scallions use only about 1 1/2 inches of the white bottom part of each onion.
- Choose a saucepan that will hold all the onions in a single layer, add the onions to the pan. Add just enough water to just barely cover them along with the sugar, thyme, bay leaves, peppercorns, salt and butter.
- Bring the liquid to a boil, and then turn the heat down. Your goal is to gently simmer the onions for 15 or 20 minutes. They are ready once tender when pierced with a knife. The liquid should have reduced to a shiny glaze.
- Remove the onions from the heat and add 2 tbsp white wine vinegar. Roll the onions around the pan to make sure they are well coated. Set aside.
MORELS and PEAS
- Heat 2 tablespoons butter in a 10-inch heavy skillet over moderately high. When it becomes foamy but before it begins to brown add the morels and garlic. Sauté them, stirring occasionally, until garlic is pale golden, about 4 minutes. Pour in 1 cup reserved broth and bring to a boil. Stir in peas, asparagus, spring onions, lemon zest, as much of the remaining broth you think is needed, You want it brothy, but not to soupy. Season with 1/4‑teaspoon salt and 1/4‑teaspoon pepper.
- Simmer, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are heated through, about 2 minutes. Remove from heat and add remaining 2 tablespoons butter, swirling skillet until butter is incorporated, then season ragoût with salt and pepper.
- The ragoût is now ready to serve. I served mine as a sauce for a new product from Buitoni that was supplied to me by FoodBuzz. Wild Mushroom Agnolotti. Perpare them as the packages instructs and serve warm with some more grated Parmesano-Reggiano cheese.