Mushroom Marsala

I’m so distracted lately. I’ve almost forgotten to eat, much less shop for groceries. Wanna know why?

His name is Nero and we adopted him this weekend. I’m so in love.

So to combat the past few days of take-out dinners (and the urge to forget eating when I’m so busy marveling at Nero’s every move), when I got home this evening I was determined to do a little scrounging to figure out what I could make for dinner. And then I discovered the secret ingredient hiding out in my fridge:

Can you see it? That pink circle is drawing your attention to a bottle of Marsala wine that I’ve been storing in the fridge for quite some time. It’s almost empty. I just had to finish it. But, you know, Marsala wine is not really a drinking wine. At least not that I’ve seen. It is excellent in cooking, though, and really does have a different taste than white wine. (We’ll take a real tour of my fridge soon, I promise).

So what I did was I chopped up a bunch of mushrooms and sauteed them in butter until they browned crisply at the edges and smelled heavenly. I added some slivers of onion, deglazed with a gigantic hiss of Marsala, and whisked in some fresh whole milk (because the cream I found buried in the depths of my fridge smelled rather sour. Ew.) until it was a bubbling pan of rib-sticking goodness. I added some butter with a Julia Child-esque flourish to make it extra silky and then tossed with some fusili pasta–the corkscrew kind that really soaks up creamy sauces (which, incidentally, is a fact I learned from Boston Market and their macaroni and cheese). And now, as the weather is cooling off, you can enjoy it too.

Mushrooms in Marsala Cream

Yum Factor: Alex – 7.5, Jessalyn – 9

– 2 big scoops of cremini mushrooms, cleaned and sliced
–  1/2 an onion, sliced
– 1/2 cup Marsala wine
– 1+ cup whole milk or cream
– 1/2 bay leaf
– 1/4+ teaspoon garlic powder
– a small spoonful of flour
– 3+ tablespoons butter

1. Saute the mushrooms in 1 tablespoon of butter over medium heat. Season with salt and pepper once they start to soften. (You may need to do this in batches, depending on how big your pan is. You don’t want the mushrooms to steam each other–only enough room to shrink and then brown). Set aside.

2. In same pan, saute the onions in 1 tablespoon of butter. As they soften,  sprinkle in the flour and stir to coat. Return the mushrooms to the pan. Pour in the Marsala wine to deglaze the pan, scraping off any browned bits from the bottom with a wooden spoon. Let the wine simmer down so that everything is coated in its sticky goodness. You want it so that most of the liquid has evaporated before going on to the next step.

3. Slowly stir in the milk or cream. Add the bay leaf and garlic powder. Allow to return to only the gentlest of boils–a rigorous simmer, if you will. Stir frequently to prevent the bottom from scorching. It will take about 10-15 minutes for the milk to reduce slightly and the flour to help it thicken up.

4. Just before serving (or dressing your pasta*, as we did this evening), melt in another tablespoon of butter for that extra silky texture. Re-season with salt and pepper as needed.

*Note: If you prefer a pasta that is flavorful but not appallingly creamy, use a full pound of fusili pasta with this recipe. If you prefer a creamier pasta, use about 1/2 box of fusili pasta with this recipe (or double the amount of sauce).

I made mine in a bit of a hurry and primarily out of the necessity of needing something to eat with the random stuff I apparently have in the fridge and pantry. But can’t you just imagine this topped with a nice thick grilled portobella mushroom? Or some grilled chicken? MmmMMmm.

Having never grown up with a dog, I had no idea how happy one could make me. Can’t wait to see what doggy treats I can whip up in the kitchen. Nero didn’t seem too interested in this dish. Not that I would have fed it to him anyway.

Do you have any dishes you like to whip up when your four-legged friends do something that captures your heart? Do tell.

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One thought on “Mushroom Marsala

  1. […] indifferent about my absence besides) because much of my free time is spent keeping an eye on the newest member of our family who is at times calm and serene, content to play simultaneous sous-chef and clean-up crew while […]

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