Spring Risotto with Morel Mushrooms and Wild Asparagus
Spring is such an exciting time for culinary enthusiasts and nature seekers alike. Fiddleheads spring out from under leaves, nettles blanket sunny patches near streams and ditches, asparagus spears shoot up along the banks of rivers, and wild mushrooms begin to emerge throughout the forest floor.
Foraging for these edible delights provides both entertainment and fresh and nutritious delectables. Morels are a favorite among top chefs and naturalists for good reason. The morel mushroom is a deliciously mystifying little fungus. The sponge-like cap is not smooth like most other wild mushrooms but rigid, with the surface darting in and out, creating crevices and caverns and expanding the overall surface area for holding spores. This hollow-bodied species comes in a variety of colors and grow in a multitude of directions, despite gravity and orientation of light. And the flavor is unparallelled, with a soft, nutty, earthiness that is hard to describe. Hunting for morels can seem a bit eerie—walking through a burnt forest with tall, charred trees creaking around you.
It can also be dangerous. So, if hunting for morels is not something you are ready to take on or there are no burn areas in close proximity, don’t worry, we’ve got you covered with our dried morel mushrooms.
I highly suggest using them to create this Spring Risotto with Morel Mushrooms and Wild Asparagus!
- 1 oz dried morel mushrooms, or about ¾ cup fresh
- 2 cups water
- 6 cups broth (I used a homemade duck broth, but any broth will work)
- 2 cups of short grain rice
- 8 oz of fresh asparagus
- 4 tablespoons butter
- 1 small onion, roughly chopped
- 1 tablespoon minced garlic
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 1 teaspoon truffle salt
- ¾ cup half and half
- ¼ cup good quality white wine vinegar
- About 1 hour before serving, rehydrate the mushrooms in 2 cups of water and 2 cups of broth.
- Strain the mushrooms and reserve the mushroom broth for later.
- Slice the mushrooms in ½ “ rings.
- In a large pot, melt the butter and add the onions. Saute over medium heat.
- Add in rice and cook for 5 minutes, stirring constantly until rice is sufficiently toasted (golden brown)
- Add in garlic and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
- Add mushroom broth and stir simmer until broth has absorbed. Add in ½ cup of broth and again cook down. Continue this process until you have used all the broth
- Blanch or grill the asparagus until stalks are bright green and still have a bit of crunch to them. Chop into 1-inch pieces and stir into the risotto along with the mushrooms..
- Add cream, cheese, and truffle salt.
Scoop entree-sized portions into deep bowls or under your entree (try this vanilla saffron red snapper), top with fried sage or a drizzle of reduced balsamic vinegar.
I can't get enough of morel mushrooms. What other kinds of recipes would you like to see using these dainty little fungus delights?