Morels, asparagus, homemade ricotta
It is a sure sign of spring when you start seeing locally grown asparagus and morels in the market. Morels showed up this past week at Central Market, and I think the woman that rung me up is still in shock from the price that appeared on the screen ($25/pound).
One of my favorite spring dishes is a pasta salad using blanched asparagus, sauteed morels, and ricotta. If you are not in a hurry, making your own ricotta is easy and way cheaper than buying it premade. You heat up a gallon of whole milk to 180-185°, then stir in 1/3 cup of white vinegar and salt. Let it sit for a couple hours, then gently ladle out the curds into cheesecloth and let drain. Taste and adjust seasoning. Easy!
The morels got a quick sautee in olive oil or butter and I finished them with some chopped black truffle. The asparagus was blanched for three minutes in heavily salted water. Everything was combined with gemelli shaped pasta and seasoned with truffle salt.
I like this dish cold, but it is also good room temperature, and I’ll eat it warm if I am too hungry to wait.