Mushroom Marsala with Penne Recipe-Confident in the Kitchen-Jean Miller

Mushroom Marsala with Penne

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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. If a substitution for the shallot is required, use 4 teaspoons minced scallion (white part only) plus 2 teaspoons minced garlic. Sometimes I add chives for a fresh hit of flavor and a boost of color. A little green makes for an extra special presentation.

Mushroom Marsala with Penne Recipe

  • Servings: 2
  • Calories per: 389
  • Active Time: 15 min
  • Total Time: 25 min
  • Difficulty: Easy
WHAT YOU NEED WHAT TO DO WHY
  • 1 ½ quarts tap water
  • 4 ounces dry penne rigate (ridged)
  • 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
Pasta: In a covered 3-quart tri-ply saucepan, bring water to a rolling boil over high heat (~5 minutes). Add pasta and salt and give a big stir. When boiling resumes, reduce the heat to hold at a low rolling boil. When pasta is al dente (as per package), ladle ~1 cup of hot pasta water into each serving dish to prewarm. Drain pasta thoroughly in a mesh strainer, giving vigorous shakes. Return to the pan and cover with a lint-free dishcloth. Meanwhile… Turbulent water helps prevent gummy pasta. Adding salt after water is hot reduces metal pitting. A cloth keeps pasta warm and moist without holding in excess steam.
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • ½ teaspoon thyme flakes
  • ½ teaspoon fine sea salt
  • ¼ teaspoon tarragon flakes
  • ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/32 teaspoon cayenne
  • 2 tablespoons shallot, finely diced
  • 8 ounces (4 cups) crimini mushrooms, sliced to 1/4 inch
In a 12-inch tri-ply everyday pan over medium heat, circulate the butter to coat the base. When it begins to foam (~2 minutes), add mushrooms and seasonings in an even layer. Cook, undisturbed, until they throw off their liquid and brown (~7 minutes). Sprinkle shallots on top and cook just until fragrant (~1 minute). Tri-ply is nonreactive and will not release undesirable flavors during deglazing. Mushrooms cooked undisturbed brown nicely, giving up enough moisture to prevent burning. A shallot resembles a tiny red onion. Its flavor is a cross between onion and garlic, and its texture is so fine that it disappears into the sauce during cooking.
  • ½ cup sweet Marsala
Pour half over mushrooms to deglaze the pan; allow half to evaporate (30-40 seconds). Add remaining half; allow half to evaporate again (60-90 seconds). Deglazing uses liquid to
release tasty bits. Unnecessary stirring hurts mushroom texture.
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 2 tablespoons heavy cream
With a bamboo spatula, gently stir in butter and cream just until fully incorporated (~25 seconds). Add pasta to the pan and gently toss with two forks until evenly coated. Discard pasta water from the serving dishes, and serve pasta with mushroom sauce arranged over the top. Serve immediately. Bamboo is gentle on cookware. The final hit of butter and cream add body to the sauce.

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