Just because Valentine’s Day has come and gone doesn’t mean you should stop thinking about sensual foods. Like this Fettuccine with creamy Mushroom Marsala Sauce. This is not only elegant, but like the Pistachio Crusted Flounder, it’s another really quick meal. I’m on a quick meal roll this week.
I made this pasta for our dinner last night; we were expecting to have a quiet evening at home when, around 5 pm, we got the call from our favorite restaurant—we got off the waiting list! (Just as I was starting to get some good mileage out of teasing my husband about it.)
And we got the best table, too! It was comfy and secluded. I’m a huge table snob. To me there’s nothing worse than spending a lot of money to go out to dinner and being seated at a postage sized table wedged in between a loud-talker (Seinfeld was right on about that one) and one of those types who likes to stare at what you’re eating while they wait, endlessly, for their appetizers. Not romantic at all.
This dish is almost as good as going out. I go back to this basic sauce again and again because it’s easy yet so sophisticated. Put your nose up to the Marsala bottle and take a whiff: it’s instant white tablecloth and candlelight. All you need to pick up is some fresh thyme, and a bunch of nice looking mushrooms, whatever kind you like.
My favorite way to use mushrooms is all by themselves. Their flavor and texture is so distinctive it’s a shame to mix them in as an afterthought. Could you add chicken, or shrimp, or asparagus to this dish? Sure. But I wouldn’t.
You’re going to need about 8 ounces of mushrooms for two, or a pound for four people. You should have all the rest in the house: shallot, garlic, Marsala (one bottle lasts forever) chicken stock, cream, lemon and a box of fettuccine.
- 1/3-1/2 lb fettuccine
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tbsp butter
- 1 large shallot, minced
- 1 large clove of garlic, minced
- 8 oz assorted mushrooms, sliced
- 1/3 cup Marsala wine
- 1/3 cup chicken stock
- Juice of 1/2 lemon
- 1/2 tsp of Wondra flour*
- 1/3 cup heavy cream
- several sprigs of fresh thyme, leaves stripped from the stalks
- salt and fresh cracked pepper
- Chopped parsley
- Freshly grated Parmesan for garnish
- In a heavy pot melt and butter and olive oil and saute the shallot and garlic for a few minutes.
- Add in the mushrooms and saute, stirring often, for about 5 to 8 minutes, until the mushrooms just tender. If the pot seems too dry, add a little more olive oil.
- Add the Marsala into the hot pot and let it evaporate for a minute, then add the chicken stock, thyme, lemon juice, salt and pepper.
- Let the sauce simmer and reduce for a few minutes. Sprinkle in a dash of Wondra flour and blend in.
- Add in the cream, and bring back to a simmer. Check for seasoning and set aside while you cook the fettuccine.
- When the fettuccine is just al dente, either add it to the sauce and toss well, or put it in a serving bowl and top with the sauce. Garnish with cheese and parsley.
- Wondra flour is formulated to dissolve instantly in hot or cold liquids, no clumping. It’s the best thing for those times when you just want to slightly thicken a sauce, especially at the last minute. All you do is sprinkle it in and stir.