Mushroom Marsala with Penne Pasta

This is so satisfying.

One of the things I love about this recipe is its versatility. It makes a lovely entrée or a sumptuous side, and it even steps in as a sauce when the pasta is omitted.

Sometimes I add chives for a boost of color. A little green just makes a more lively presentation.

  • Servings: 2
  • Time: 0hr 25mins
  • Difficulty: Easy

Gently stir butter into the mushrooms to melt. Gently stir in the cream just until fully incorporated (20-30 seconds). Add pasta to the pan and gently toss until evenly coated. Serve in shallow serving bowls.The final hit of butter and cream give beautiful body to the sauce.

1 1/2 quarts water Meanwhile, prepare and set aside.
Tip: With shallot on its side, cut off and discard both ends. Cut in half from pole to pole; peel off any layers that look dry or tough; discard. Place cut sides down and slice to 1/8-inch, holding the pieces together as you work. Cut across slices to dice.
A shallot looks like a tiny red onion. Its flavor is a cross between onion and garlic, and its texture is so fine that it virtually disappears into the sauce during cooking.
8 ounces button or crimini mushrooms, sliced Add pasta to the now boiling water; briefly stir to separate the pieces. When boiling resumes, reduce heat to hold at a low rolling boil until pasta is al dente (as per package). Strain thoroughly, return to the pan and cover with a lint-free dishcloth. A cloth keeps pasta warm and moist without holding in excess cooking heat or steam.
1 tablespoon unsalted butter Sprinkle seasonings and shallots over mushrooms. Cook until fragrant (about 1 minute).
1/2 cup Marsala (sweet, fine) Drizzle 1/4 cup over mushrooms, let half evaporate (30-40 seconds). Drizzle remaining 1/4 cup, let half evaporate again (60-90 seconds). Unnecessary stirring hurts mushroom texture.
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
2 tablespoons heavy whipping cream

If serving these mushrooms as a steak sauce, substitute starting the pasta water with heating the grill. Start searing the steaks on the grill while the sauteuse pan is heating. After the Marsala evaporation, follow with a drizzle of jus (French for “juice”) from the resting steaks; finish sauce as directed. Note: For a greater quantity of sauce, increase Marsala by 1/4 cup and heavy whipping cream by 2 tablespoons. Plate the steaks; spoon sauce attractively over top in a diagonal. Garnish with fresh chives for a livelier presentation.

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