A happy, hygge wild mushroom and morel pasta sauce

Regular readers of Saucy Dressings will know that I’m a regular visitor to Hamburg – so regular in fact that I  have a ‘regular’ AirBnB fixed up for a monthly stay. But sometimes I’m just there on a flying visit, and on one happy occasion I was treated to a night in Hygge – a hotel which lives up to its name, bedecked as it is with sheepskin and candles, and with a restaurant serving fabulous comfort food to match.

There are always comfortable classics on the menu – Wiener Schnitzel, Roastbeef-Stulle, and Kaiserschmarrn – to name but a few. But head chef, Thomas Nerlich, also rings the changes frequently with seasonal, country-style dishes. I was very tempted by the beetroot risotto with apricots, sheep’s cheese and blackberry balsamic vinegar. But in the end I tried Nerlich’s pasta with a wild morel sauce and it certainly hit the spot.

 

wild mushroom pasta sauce recipe
The restaurant at Hygge, in Hamburg

 

This is my attempt to recreate it. As we are coming up to morel season (March to May) I am using morels; but an alternative is to use whatever wild mushrooms you can get hold of, and supplement with dried morels – Vigorous Mountains and Hatton Hill both supply good quality specimens.

 

Recipe for a happy, hygge wild mushroom and morel sauce for pasta

Serves 2

Ingredients

  • 75g/½ cup frozen peas
  • a couple of walnuts … or more of butter
  • 110g/4 oz/about eight medium morels (or that amount of mixed wild mushrooms and add four or so dried morels, soaked for an hour or so in milk, drained, and roughly chopped)
  • 1 banana shallot
  • 120 ml/½ cup of crème fraîche
  • 60 ml/¼ cup of dry, nutty, sherry (or dry vermouth)…. or, richer and darker, armagnac
  • a few sprigs of thyme
  • smoked salt and a pinch of Urfa pepper flakes
  • serve with pasta….tagliatelle ideally

Method

  1. Measure out the peas, and leave to slowly unthaw.
  2. Peel and chop the shallot and fry gently in a medium frying pan until translucent.
  3. Meanwhile, sand and grit collects in the frills of the morels (if you are using fresh ones) so wash them in a bowl of water and dry them in a salad spinner. Cut them, lengthways, into four. Add to the shallot… you may need to add a bit more butter. Season the lot. Add the thyme leaves.  At this stage you may be thinking about cooking your pasta.
  4. Add the peas, and cook until unthawed completely, stirring every now and then.
  5. Add the sherry, vermouth, or Armagnac, and cook off the alcohol.
  6. Lower the heat, and add the crème fraîche. Heat through.
  7. Serve on top of the pasta, and enjoy!

mushroom and sherry sauce for pasta recipe

 

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