Bucatini with Asparagus and Morels

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Dinner, Main Course Italian/American
By Kelly Djalali Serves: 4
Prep Time: 45 Minutes (includes 30 minute morel soaking time) Cooking Time: 15 Minutes Total Time: ~1 Hour

This pasta dish is perfect for Spring; it's light, with a freshness from the snappy asparagus and the earthy, nutty flavor of the morels.


  • 1-2 tbsp. Olive Oil, plus more as needed and as garnish
  • 1 bunch Asparagus, woody ends trimmed, stalks cut into 1 to 2-inch pieces
  • Kosher Salt, to taste
  • 1 oz. Dried Morel Mushrooms, rehydrated and patted dry (larger mushrooms cut in half)
  • Fresh Cracked Black Pepper
  • 4-6 Cloves Garlic, minced or pressed
  • 1 lb. Dried Bucatini Pasta
  • 1/4 cup Grated Parmesan Cheese, plus more for garnish
  • 2 tsp.-1 tbsp. Crushed Red Pepper
  • 1 cup Reserved Pasta Water



Bring 6 quarts of water to boil in a large pot. Then cover the pot and reduce the heat until we're ready to cook the pasta.


Heat 1-2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Transfer the asparagus slices to the heated pan. season with a pinch of kosher salt. Sauté the asparagus, stirring occasionally, until it turns bright green, about 1-2 minutes. Then reduce the heat to medium.


Add another drizzle of olive oil to the skillet and then add the morels to the pan. Increase the heat as needed to keep things lightly sizzling. Sauté for about 2 minutes.


Then add the pressed or minced garlic and stir to combine. Let the garlic cook with the morels and the asparagus for about 1 minute. Season with another pinch of kosher salt and black pepper. Stir to mix, then turn the heat to low to keep the veggies cooking slowly.


Remove the lid from the water pot and increase the heat to bring back to a boil. When it's boiling again, add about 2 tablespoons of kosher salt, give the water a stir, then drop in the pasta. If you're using bucatini, set a timer for 8 minutes. Stir the pasta occasionally to keep it from sticking. Stir the asparagus and morels every now and then.


When the timer dings, use a measuring cup to scoop out about 1 cup of the pasta cooking water.


Then drain the pasta and add it back to the pot. Turn the burner to medium-low and add back in about 1/4 cup of the reserved pasta liquid.


Vigorously stir the pasta in the cooking liquid. Then, sprinkle on the 1/4 cup grated Parmesan and vigorously stir the pasta with the cheese, add another 1/4 cup of the pasta liquid and keep stirring. There should be a lightly creamy texture developing.


Add the crushed red peppers and vigorously stir again. Add more pasta liquid to keep everything lubricated. Then add the morels and asparagus to the pasta. Stir well to incorporate the veggies in the pasta. Then turn off the heat.


Squeeze in the juice of half a lemon and stir again.


Serve in wide shallow bowls with a drizzle of olive oil, a sprinkling of flaky finishing salt, fresh cracked black pepper and grated Parmesan.