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.
|WHAT YOU NEED||WHAT TO DO||WHY|
|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.|
MUSHROOM MARSALA STEAK
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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