Avant Gardening

Look What We Found!! Morel Mushroom Sighting at Avant Gardening & Landscaping

Hooray, spring is here! While it’s time for flowers and showers, it’s also time for Morels!

These little, golden beauties are a favorite of mushroom eaters and mushroom hunters everywhere. Each spring hundreds of people take to the woods to look for these delicious little treasures. 20160502_113534_croppedIf there is one thing I remember from my forest ecology course it’s never to eat a wild mushroom unless you are absolutely, 100% certain you know what it is. This statement is not to be taken lightly considering there are over 10,000 species of mushroom in North America alone and only about 25% of those are edible.

Fortunately for us the Morel is relatively easy to identify. It has a distinct appearance and only one real look alike, which also fortunately enough is not toxic but can make you sick. Across the country, hunting Morels is a spring time tradition for many. There is even a website, www.morelhunters.com that contains updated soil temperatures, message boards and a Morels sightings map. People who hunt for Morels will tell you it is addicting. There is something about finding that hidden jewel in the forest, and then another, and another and hopefully just one more… They typically grow on the edge of a forest especially at the base of dead elm, ash and oak trees. However, we recently found some growing right out Avant Gardening & Landscaping‘s back door next to our bluestone patio!

The small town of Muscoda, WI devotes an entire weekend each year to the Morel. This year the 34th annual Morel Mushroom Festival will be May 14th-15th. It features arts and crafts, music, helicopter rides, a parade, and of course all the Morel related food and drink you could want.

While there are several ways to prepare Morels perhaps most popular is simply to sauté them in butter. Given that they are tasty, rather elusive and frequently drenched in butter is it any wonder these funky fungi are so popular?20160502_101135

Wondering what else you can do with these weird little mushrooms? Try this awesome recipe from Muscoda’s Morel Website!

Pasta With Morel Mushroom Cream Sauce


  • 1 lb. homemade pasta or ½ lb. Capellini or thin Linguine (Linguine Fina)
  • 2-3 tablespoons butter (or your favorite substitute)
  • As many morels as you can find or substitute 6 ounces dry morels or porchini mushrooms* or one pound of fresh white button mushrooms, Cremini mushrooms or Portabello mushrooms.
  • ½ cup of cream or half and half (you can substitute any soup stock or the water from reconstituting dry mushrooms instead of cream if you want to go low cal.)
  • 1 Tbsp chopped wild leeks or garlic
  • 2 Tbsp fresh coarsely chopped parsley
  • Grated Parmesan or Romano cheese (to taste)
  • Pinch of salt and pepper (to taste)


Slice mushrooms into bite size slices. *If using dried mushrooms reconstitute them in a bowl by covering them in warm water for half an hour. Then, lift them from the water and squeeze out most of the liquid. Reserve the liquid.

Melt butter in a large sauté pan. Add sliced mushrooms and sauté on medium heat. As the mushrooms begin to release their juices, stir in the wild leeks or garlic, the chopped parsley and a pinch of salt.

While the mushrooms are cooking, cook and drain the pasta so it will be ready as soon as the mushroom sauce is done. If the mushrooms begin to dry out, add a little water (use the mushroom water if using dry mushrooms). Cook the mushrooms until they begin to brown in spots. Stir in the cream.

Heat through until the mixture thickens a little (you can add more cream if you are serving 4 or more people). Stir in a tablespoon or two of grated cheese and add some black pepper. In a large serving bowl mix pasta with the cream sauce a little at a time. if you add too much pasta it will be dry. Serve with fresh ground black pepper and grated cheese. Garnish with fresh parsley sprigs. This should serve from 4 to 6 people, depending on appetites…

For more great morel recipes, visit: Muscoda Morel Mushroom Recipes