I recently went on a hunt for morels and came home with more than I knew what to do with! A rare and delicious fungus delicacy, foraging for morels is fun and rewarding (and maybe a bit dangerous).
Tired of frying morels? Curious what else you can make with them? After making a $100 black truffle and morel mushroom pizza, I decided it was time to taste test something new – and perhaps a bit more affordable.
Carbonara is a simple and savory dish that originates from Rome. Cooked with cured pork bacon, hard cheese, black pepper and eggs, it’s an easy dish to dress up or down depending on the occasion.
Morels make a great addition to carbonara – not only in flavor but texture as well. Packed with umami flavor, their soft and tender texture blends in well with the pasta and the boost of flavor enhances the eggy-cheesy sauce tenfold.
The key to the perfect carbonara, in my opinion, is to use a Dutch oven to cook it all in one pot. The grease from the bacon helps to saute the mushrooms and helps the sauce adhere to the noodles.
If you can’t go forage for your own wild morels, double check your local grocery! I’ve actually been seeing more and more morels available – especially during their peak season of April to June (in the Great Lakes region).
Just the other day I discovered my local store carries a variety of dried wild mushrooms, including morels (affiliate link) much to my surprise. It’s the first year I’ve seen anything like that in Northeast Ohio, so I’m hoping that morels are gaining popularity – they are legit so freaking delicious!
I dressed up my carbonara with morels (duh!), fresh spinach and a generous dash of red pepper flakes. Not to mention all of the garlicky, cheesy goodness cooked into the pasta itself.
Just don’t forget to top it all off with a big ol’ handful of parmesan.
Morel carbonara just might be my new favorite weeknight meals – that is, whenever I can get my hands on the good stuff. While I haven’t personally tried this recipe with dried morels, I’d love to know how it goes if you attempt to make this recipe with them! I would toss in the mushrooms early to get them rehydrated as the rest of the dish cooks. Let me know how it goes in the comments!
Morel Mushroom Carbonara
- 4 servings thin spaghetti or angel hair
- ½ cup reserved pasta water
- 4 morel mushrooms sliced thin
- 8 cloves garlic roughly chopped
- 4 slices bacon chopped
- ½ cup Parmesan cheese shredded
- 2 eggs
- 2 egg yolks
- 1 teaspoon pepper or lemon pepper
- 2 cups fresh spinach
- 2 tablespoons white wine
- 2 green onions chopped, for topping
- 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes for topping
- Fill the Dutch oven with water and bring to a boil. Cook the noodles according to the instructions on the box. Reserve 1/2 cup of the pasta water and drain the rest. Set cooked noodles aside.
- Dry the Dutch oven completely over high heat then add the chopped bacon. Cook until just starting to crisp, about 5-8 minutes. Remove the bacon from the pot but leave the grease.
- Fry the morels and chopped garlic in the bacon grease until the garlic is beginning to brown and the morels have shrunk in size, about 3-4 minutes.
- Deglaze the pot with the white wine then add the noodles and stir until the bacon and morels are evenly distributed throughout the noodles. Reduce the temperature to medium.
- In a small bowl, whisk together the eggs, yolks, Parmesan and pepper. Slowly stir in the warm reserved water. Slowly pour the egg mixture over the noodles, stirring the entire time. You don't want to scramble the eggs so the slower you pour, the better.
- Stir in the spinach and continue to cook for another 3-4 minutes, until the spinach is wilted and a thick, creamy sauce has formed.
- Return the bacon to the pot and remove from heat. Serve with a pinch of red pepper flakes and green onions on top. Enjoy!
- To reheat, add two tablespoons of water priror to microwaving for 90 seconds. Leftovers keep for up to one week in the fridge.