1 Bottle of Marsala Wine, Five Different Italian Recipes
Last week my mom called me to ask if I had any ideas for a recipe with chicken. Having Italian on my mind, I replied with a classic, Chicken Marsala. It is super quick, easy, tasty and elegant. It’s also fairly cheap once you have the wines. For those of you who have not tried chicken Marsala, it consists of a wine reduction resulting in a dark, thick and slightly sweet sauce. The chicken is often cooked in the sauce, making it very juicy and tender. Thinking about the marsala sauce made me want to make it as well. The challenge, however, was to make a good vegetarian marsala, as I have never seen marsala paired with anything else but chicken, steak or veal. This weekend I played around a bit with some ingredients and came up with a variety of different ways one can make a marsala meal.
Traditional Marsala sauce is very simple to make, but first it will require a trip to the grocery store (for those of you in Utah, the liquor store :)) to purchase a bottle of sweet Marsala wine and a bottle of dry Sherry wine–and trust me, it is well worth the investment. If you can only get one, skip the Sherry and get a dry Marsala wine, then substitute the Sherry with beef/chicken broth.
TRADITIONAL MARSALA SAUCE
- 1 onion, chopped into small pieces
- 1-2 cloves garlic
- 3/4 c. sweet Marsala wine
- 1/2 c. dry Sherry wine
- 1 package mushrooms
Extra ingredients I like to add for a HEAVENLY Marsala recipe:
- 1 tsp Dijon mustard
- 1/2 – 1 package cream cheese
- 1/2 c. heavy cream or whole milk
- 1/2 package gorgonzola cheese (a must in all the dishes below except the chicken)
Note: traditional marsala sauce has butter which is added at the beginning with the wine. Since I like to add the cream and the gorgonzola I skip the butter.
Marsala Sauce Directions:
- Saute onion and garlic in a bit of oil, season lightly with salt and pepper. Cook for a couple minutes.
- Add wine and Dijon mustard and simmer for about 10-13 minutes.
- In separate saucepan heat heavy cream (or milk), cream cheese, and gorgonzola until melted. Do not allow to boil.
- When Marsala sauce is reduced, add mushrooms and cook for a few minutes. Turn off heat and whisk in cream & cheese mixture at the end.
1. CHICKEN MARSALA
- Lightly season and brown 4 whole chicken breasts (does not need to cook through at this stage, only brown). Set aside.
- Prepare Marsala sauce as above. Instead of simmering wine by itself, add chicken to sauce and simmer with chicken to finish cooking.
- When chicken is done, add cream sauce at end.
- Garnish with fresh parsley, and serve with warm fettuccine with olive oil.
2. STUFFED MUSHROOM RAVIOLI WITH GORGONZOLA MARSALA SAUCE
Mushroom Ravioli Ingredients:
- Marsala Sauce (see above) (don’t forget gorgonzola cheese!!)
- wanton or egg roll wrappers
- Extra handful mushrooms
- 1 c. Ricotta cheese
- 1 egg yolk
- 1/4-1/2 Parmigiano Reggiano or Romano cheese
- 1/4-1/2 of extra cheese (either mozzarella, provolone, swiss, fontina…)
- Prepare sauce as above
- At asian market or local grocery store, purchase either wanton wrappers or egg roll wrappers
- Mushroom ravioli filling: Combine 1 c. ricotta cheese, the rest of cheese, egg yolk, and mushrooms (chop very small). Season with salt and pepper. Add 1 tb fresh parsley (optional).
- Place filling in middle of wanton/egg roll wrapper and use water to seal. Make sure there are no air pockets. Square wanton-make a triangle ravioli by folding in half. To seal, slightly wet edges with water. Fold over, and press to seal. Round wantons- place filling in middle, and layer with another round wanton for a round ravioli.
- Carefully place in salted boiling water for about 2-3 minutes.
- Add to sauce and plate. Garnish with fresh parsley and parmesan and serve with side caesar salad.
3. MUSHROOM GORGONZOLA LASAGNA
Same ingredients as ravioli, except instead of wonton wrappers use lasagna noodles. I would choose this recipe if you are feeding a large family–it would be much easier to make.
- Boil noodles or use no-bake noodles.
- Make marsala sauce as above. If making a big lasagna for a big family, I would use two packages of mushrooms in the sauce and a bit more wine/cheese.
- Make cheese filling like ravioli above, but you can omit the chopped mushrooms.
- Assemble in layers. First, the marsala sauce, then the lasagna noodles. Spread the ricotta cheese on top of the noodles and then with marsala sauce. repeat. Top with noodles, marsala sauce, and mozzarella cheese and parmesan.
4. GORGONZOLA-MARSALA GNOCCHI WITH STEAK
Gnocchi is an italian potato dumpling that tastes like heaven. You can usually find gnocchi in either the pasta section or in the refrigerator section. Sometimes it is a bit difficult to find, but if you ask someone they will usually know.
I love gnocchi, but it has to be paired with the right sauce. Water-based sauces don’t usually work well with gnocchi because it has a hard time sticking or absorbing any flavor. I have found cream sauces work best, and pairing gorgonzola with gnocchi and steak is divine (or was divine, since I no longer eat meat).
- Make marsala sauce as above. Turn off heat when you incorporate the cheese sauce.
- Boil gnocchi for about 5 minutes, until they float to the top
- Transfer gnocchi to sauce
- Mix in cooked steak (optional).
5. FETTUCCINE MUSHROOM MARSALA
You get the idea. This would be even tastier than Fettuccine Alfredo!