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archive for pasta

the wamp invasion

Sunday, April 9th, 2017

Recipe: morel asparagus prosciutto lemon pasta

Colorado is undergoing a bout of Seasonal Confusion. It’s technically shoulder season for our two ski mountains as they both closed today until next Fall 2017. By the good graces of the atmosphere, we managed to nab a couple of powder days this past week at Eldora (thank you, upslope!) before closing day. It’s been a toggle from a snowy day to a sunny day to more snow to sun to snow. One day I’m trail running and the next I’m stepping into my powder skis. Makes my head spin.


jeremy gets first tracks in nearly a foot of powder

and it was the fluffy stuff

a half foot in the morning melted to an inch, then by day’s end it began to snow again

seeking fresh pockets the next morning



As the days get warmer, my mountain buddies and I are itching for mushroom season to start around here. Of course, if you want to speed the season up by a month or so, you merely have to drive 3000 feet down to the plains. So that’s what we did. I mean, lots of flatlanders come up to the mountains to hunt for mushrooms, so why shouldn’t the WAMPs (weird ass mountain people – that’s us) reciprocate? It’s early yet, but we were on a scouting run. There’s a reason we generally prefer to stick to our home turf in the mountains. We don’t have to worry about ticks, poison ivy, rattlesnakes, garbage, and a constant stream of people while we forage. And it’s hot on the flats. Oh man, I nearly lost my marbles when the morning sun emerged above the cloud bank to the east. My skin is still in winter mode. But the mushrooms beckon.

hello pretties! a little nursery of baby oyster mushrooms

my pal harvests some old oyster mushrooms to smear on a log at his house

these are western poison ivy stalks (pre-leaf) – don’t touch!

western poison ivy stalks with berries (again, don’t touch)



Since the Colorado high country will be among the handful of locations with the last morel flushes of the season, I’ve decided to share a recipe that I shot the previous spring for those of you with fresh morels in hand right now (or soon). It would seem that the sickness sets in earlier each year, but I like to think of it as diversifying my portfolio… of mushrooms.

there is much joy to be had in the hunt (from 2016)



Mushrooms and pasta are a no-brainer combination. Use your favorite kind of pasta. Mine is pappardelle. Because morels are the epitome of spring, I thought it appropriate to pair them with asparagus, which also sprout forth from the ground in the early season. Morels, more than the other wild mushrooms I forage, have that slight funk in flavor shared with the likes of stinky cheeses, well-aged full-bodied red wines, and cured meats. Therefore, prosciutto is a lovely companion to these delightful fungi, and hints of lemon zest brighten the whole ensemble.

pasta, morels, asparagus, cream, pepper, parmesan, prosciutto, butter, chicken stock, lemon, salt, garlic, olive oil

halve the morels

rinse and dry the mushrooms



**Jump for more butter**

the best part of summer

Sunday, August 21st, 2016

Recipe: chanterelle ravioli with sage brown butter

School is starting and summer is winding down even though we have a good month of it left before we can officially declare autumn’s arrival. We spent the beginning of last week getting outside with Neva to explore and play and continue “training” her – whatever that means. Our neighborhood lake in Crested Butte had some strange water biochemistry going on, so we took little Neva to a nicer lake with cleaner water. This required a much longer drive on bumpy backcountry roads, but instead of puking or drooling or crying, Neva had her nose out the window and she was quite excited about our destination. Our little girl may have finally (finally!!) turned the corner on the car ride! I don’t know what we’re going to do come winter when we can’t open the window if it is -20°F outside, but I’ll take what I can get.


sometimes neva’s life jacket looks like a superhero cape from the front

the happiest, dorkiest dog



Jeremy and I also spent our final morning in Crested Butte hunting for chanterelles as they were starting to flush. Normally I would wait to forage after more time had passed so they would be larger, but we were leaving and I wanted to bring some chanterelles home to make a special birthday dinner for my mom. I only took the biggest ones and left the littles to grow and spore and do their happy mushroom thing. If you’re wondering how I prepared them, I sautéed the chanterelles and fresh local sweet corn in butter and served them alongside a small hash browned potato with two seared scallops on top (drizzled with pan sauce, natch). That was the second course of four.

neva likes to sniff chanterelles

a perfectly mossy home

clean and beautiful

toasting mom’s birthday with some bubbles



I hadn’t planned on trying a new recipe with the chanterelles, but we managed to forage enough that I could make some chanterelle ravioli. I’ve always wanted to make ravioli from scratch and by hand. My mother-in-law gave me some ravioli stamps and a ravioli pasta cutter last year, so I really had zero excuse to not try this. Start with the ravioli pasta dough.

flour, eggs, olive oil, salt



Most pasta I’ve made from scratch involves flour and eggs, but this one had a little salt and olive oil added to the dough. The flour doubled as an ingredient and a bowl because all of the wet ingredients went into a well in the flour. I thought that would be terribly messy, but it was actually rather tidy as long as you didn’t breach the well wall. The recipe called for four cups of flour, but you don’t use all of that flour in the pasta dough. I incorporated as much as needed and then sifted the remaining unused flour and kept it around for working the pasta.

make a well in the flour and add the rest of the ingredients

stir flour into the eggs until the mixture is too thick to stir

then work more flour in with your hands

when the dough won’t take on any more flour, knead it

it’s ready when you poke it and the dough bounces back



**Jump for more butter**

uphill from here

Sunday, May 8th, 2016

Recipe: handmade pappardelle

The last ski resort for which we had access to has closed for the season here in Colorado. But the season isn’t done. At least not today it isn’t. It snowed at our house (along with rain, graupel, sleet, and sunshine) and I’m pretty sure the clouds dropped a few quick inches in the high country. From now until the start of the 2016-2017 ski season, it’s only backcountry skiing for us (skinning uphill and skiing down). Actually, we’ve been doing that exclusively since early April. Here’s what May looked like in our backyard last week.


skiing the powder before the sun turns it to slush

a nice 360° view was had

token selfie before skiing out

…aaaaand the snow is now mashed potatoes



Daytime temperatures soared well above freezing and the snow didn’t freeze overnight at higher elevations. Days like these leave us choosing between running wet, muddy, and patchy trails or skiing slop. We chose both. On our last ski tour, Neva was off leash the whole way down to the trailhead and she was incredibly good. She didn’t run off, she didn’t cross in front of our skis, and she always kept an eye on where Jeremy was (I bring up the rear in case little pup decides to run off).

neva takes a break between digging pits in the snow

skiing out under the hot sun



Jeremy took Neva on her first trail run last week, too. We’ve been slowly gauging how she takes to running on trails by running her for short distances (like 50-200 feet at a time) while we walk or hike. When she was a wee puppy, Neva would jump on your legs and try to bite your pants if you started running. That was (thankfully) short-lived. She did exceptionally well on her first real trail run (a short 5k) – cuing off of Jeremy’s pace, keeping a good distance so no one tripped, and responding to voice commands. So while Neva works up to longer distances, Jeremy and I are both concentrating on uphill climbs – because the prettiest runs are up high in the mountains and we want to be ready when they melt out.

racing a storm back to my house (i’m slow, but the storm was slower)



I regard this time of year as the uphill slog when days get longer and hotter. I don’t consider us to be over the hump until late July even though the summer solstice is in late June (it has to do with the thermal latency of the atmosphere – the same applies in winter). But there is plenty of good adventuring to be had in summer to tide us over until we can glide on snow once again.

Some of that adventuring will involve finding porcini and chanterelles in the forests. An easy meal preparation involving the mushrooms we forage is to sauté the mushrooms in butter and garlic, add white wine and cream, and serve it over pasta. My favorite pasta is pappardelle – wide elegant ribbons of pasta that hold sauces well and wrap around other ingredients. Unfortunately, I can’t buy pappardelle in our little town and I really try to limit my trips to Boulder to once a week. Mountain folk tend to be self-sufficient types and it occurred to me last summer that I knew how to make my own pasta for lasagne, so how different could it be from making my own pappardelle?


all you need: eggs, egg yolks, flour, fine semolina

beat the eggs and egg yolks

pulse the semolina and flour together in a food processor

add the egg mixture to the flour mixture while the processor is running



**Jump for more butter**