Morels are for more than fryin’

It’s that time of year when Appalachian delicacies start popping up on the hillsides around here, after a good rain and the sun comes out. The past couple years, since I’ve been eating more locally, after a long, dark winter of sweet potatoes and winter squash, I really look forward to having something fresh to put on the plate.

I had my one bite of ramps for the season. And it’s just as well. I tasted that one bite for the next three hours.

I was more excited about the annual appearance of morels. I was listening to Martha Stewart Radio a few days ago, and there was a piece on recipes with spring produce, including morels. I hadn’t thought about doing much with them besides frying them, to be honest. They are just so freakin’ good breaded and pan fried.

I am hoping there is a “patch” starting in our back yard. Last year, we had two big ones around the base of the poplar tree, which we didn’t pick. What’s the use of two mushrooms? This year, we found SIX big ones. I’m hoping it triples every year. Eighteen mushrooms that size is a pretty good mess for fryin’.

So, I had six good size mushrooms. Hmmmm. Ravioli, anyone?

I chopped up the mushrooms and mixed them with some ricotta, an egg, garlic and parmesean cheese.

My mom bought me a raviloi cutter for Christmas. It made them look like Chef Boyarde. Kinda. I still haven’t mastered making my ravioli “pretty” after a handful of times making it from scratch. The cutter helps substantially, though.

Even if it wasn’t pretty, it sure was tasty. I had an opened jar of spaghetti sauce my mom and I canned last summer in the fridge. Perfect. The good news is that I made WAY too much filling, so I put the rest in the freezer for lasagna or stuffed shells sometime in the near future.
In the upper right corner, there is some sausage on the plate. I can’t post this pic without giving a shout out to Carmine Pagliaro, who made it. He is the dad of my coworker, Melanie, who keeps us eating all the Italian goodies her family makes. I’m not even kidding by saying that we’ve been spoiled since she started working with us. Fontinella cheese, hot peppers, olives, pizzelles, Italian bread, and my favorite, dried sausage.
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