widen the crannies,
Shoulder through holes. We
Diet on water,
On crumbs of shadow
I've written about morels before, specifically Creamed Morels and if the idea of them piled on toast appeals as much to you as it does to me, you'll follow the link. But today I've made fresh Tagliolini, which falls like the tresses of Botticelli's Venus - yes, I am having a dreamy day in the kitchen!
Once you've made your pasta, you need only morels, shallot, a little butter, cream and, perhaps, chervil, and it takes moments to prepare.
Tagliolini with Creamed Morels
200g (8oz) '00' flour
2 large eggs
pinch of salt
a little extra flour and some fine polenta to prevent sticking
50g (2 oz) unsalted butter
1 shallot, peeled and very finely diced
About 75g (3 oz) fresh Morel mushrooms, sliced in two (more if large), brushed to clean
175-200ml (7-8 fl oz) double cream
Salt and pepper
To make your pasta, put the flour and salt in a bowl. Make a well and add the eggs. Mix to bring the ingredients together. Either knead in a mixer with a dough hook for 2 minutes or on a work surface, by hand, for 10 minutes. If you use a machine, knead the dough by hand on the worktop for a further half minute (the warmth of your hands finishes it off perfectly). You will now have a smooth firm dough. Wrap it in cling film and allow to rest in the fridge for at least half an hour (it will keep happily in the fridge for 2 days).
Feed the pasta dough through the pasta machine on its lowest setting. Fold the dough in two and repeat 3 more times. Increasing the setting by one mark each time, feed the dough through the machine once until you reach setting No. 6. I'm short of kitchen space so find it easier to cut the rolled pasta in two, or more, part-way through the rolling to make it more manageable and resulting in 2-4 sheets of pasta. Lay the sheets on a very lightly floured work surface for 10-15 minutes to dry out a little (I tend to move it around a little to make sure it isn't sticking). This resting/drying period makes it easier to handle.
Feed the sheets of pasta through the Tagliolini (fine) cutter and lay the results out on a tray. Scatter lightly with fine semolina (flour is OK but semolina is better) to make sure the strands don't stick together.
Bring a large pan of water to the boil and add salt (correctly it should be 1 litre of water to 10g of salt and for this quantity of pasta you should use at least 2 litres/20g).
As the water comes to the boil, melt the butter in a large frying pan. Add the finely-diced shallots and cook gently until completely softened. Add the morels and cook for 2-3 minutes until softened. Season with salt and pepper.
Add the tagliolini to the rapidly boiling water, bring back to the boil and cook - 90 seconds is right for me. As the pasta boils, add the cream to the morels pan, cook gently until slightly thickened and remove from the heat. Drain the pasta and add it to the sauce, stirring well to coat the pasta. Stir in a little of the pasta water to loosen the mix a little.
Serve with a shower of chervil leaves and with parmesan on the table. A sprinkle of poetry is optional.