Mushroom Marsala with Penne

Mushroom Marsala with Penne Pasta

One of the things we love about Mushroom Marsala with Penne is its versatility. It easily doubles as a satisfying main or as a sumptuous side. It can even serve as a sauce if omitting the pasta.

Sometimes I add chives for fresh hit of flavor and a boost of color. A little green makes for an extra special presentation.

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


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
With a bamboo spatula, gently stir in butter and cream just until fully incorporated (20-30 seconds). Add pasta to the pan and gently toss with two forks until evenly coated. Serve in shallow serving bowls. Bamboo is gentle on cookware. The final hit of butter and cream add body to the sauce.

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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