Morels, with their earthy mushroom flavor, make this spring pasta special. They grow all over the Northwest in the spring.
Recipe courtesy of Williams-Sonoma
- 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 ounces fresh morel or other flavorful wild or cultivated mushrooms (about 6 large), rinsed quickly or wiped clean and halved, if large
- 1 leek, white and light green portions, rinsed well and finely julienned
- 2 ounces prosciutto, diced
- 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 1 bunch Swiss chard, about 3/4 pound, leaves finely shredded and stems cut into 1-inch pieces
- Salt, to taste
- 1 pound asparagus, tough ends trimmed, spears cut into 1 1/2-inch lengths
- 1 cup fresh or frozen baby lima beans
- 1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
- 1 pound penne
- Grated zest of 1 lemon (about 2 teaspoons)
- 1/2 cup grated or shaved pecorino romano cheese
- 1 In a large fry pan over medium-high heat, warm the olive oil. Add the mushrooms, leek, prosciutto and red pepper flakes and cook, stirring occasionally, until the leek is soft, about 2 minutes.
- 2 Stir in the chard leaves, cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until the chard wilts, 3 to 4 minutes.
- 3 Meanwhile, bring a large saucepan three-fourths full of water to a rolling boil over high heat. Add salt and the chard stems and boil until tender, about 3 minutes. Using a wire skimmer, scoop out the stems and add to the fry pan.
- 4 Add the asparagus to the boiling water and cook until tender, 2 to 3 minutes. The timing will depend upon the thickness of the spears.
- 5 Scoop out the asparagus and add to the fry pan. Add the lima beans to the boiling water and cook until tender, about 4 minutes. Scoop out the beans and add to the fry pan. Season the vegetables with the coarse salt; keep warm.
- 6 Add the pasta to the boiling water and cook until al dente (tender but firm to the bite), about 10 minutes. Drain, reserving 1/2 cup of the cooking water. Transfer the pasta and the reserved water to a warmed large serving bowl.
- 7 Pour the contents of the fry pan over the pasta, add the lemon zest and cheese, and toss well. Serve immediately.