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Marsala Sauce

Friday, January 15, 2016

[Recipe serves 6 to 8].

Homemade pappardelle tossed in a hearty Marsala sauce (not to be confused with masala sauce) is, in my opinion, the perfect dish.  Whenever I have a place of my own, there's a good chance that a variation of this dish will be front and center on the menu.  It screams comfort food yet can easily pass as a gourmet dish.  It has a complex yet familiar flavor profile that everyone enjoys, and the dish calls for truffle oil.  You can't go wrong with truffle oil.

I've made many different variations of this dish with other types of starch and proteins, but I've never taken the time to write down specific ingredients used and their amounts.  Being that it'll be the perfect meal to come home to over these next few sub-zero days, I thought today would be the perfect day to finally get a recipe put together for the dish.  It's great as-is, but could also be turned into some beef stroganoff with the use of beef tips and wide egg noodles, chicken Marsala with the addition of a chicken breast on top and chicken stock instead of beef stock, or could be turned completely vegetarian with the use of a mushroom stock rather than beef stock.

INGREDIENTS:

6 tablespoons unsalted butter
6 tablespoons all-purpose flour

2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons truffle extra-virgin olive oil
1 pound cremini mushrooms, cleaned and quartered
1 red onion, julienned
6 garlic cloves, minced

1 cup Marsala wine
3 cups low-sodium beef stock
1/2 cup heavy cream
2 teaspoons au jus mix
4 teaspoons shiitake or porcini powder
2 teaspoons truffle extra-virgin olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Fresh Parmesan, shaved
Fresh chives, minced

DIRECTIONS:

In a small sauce pan, melt the 6 tablespoons of butter.  Whisk in the flour.  Continue whisking the roux for 1 minute over medium heat to remove the raw flour taste.  Remove from the heat and reserve for later.

In a large cast iron pot or similar heavy-bottomed pot, heat the butter and truffle oil over medium heat.  Add the mushrooms and onion, season with salt and pepper, and cook until the mushrooms are fully cooked but still firm, roughly 8 minutes.  Add the garlic and cook for 30 seconds.  Deglaze the pan with the Marsala wine and reduce until most of the wine has evaporated.  Add the beef stock and reduce for 10 minutes.  Stir in the heavy cream, au jus mix, mushroom powder, and truffle oil.  Whisk in the roux until the sauce has thickened to your liking, remove from the heat, and season to taste with additional salt and pepper.  Serve with your favorite pasta and top with freshly shaved Parmesan, fresh chives, and a drizzle of additional truffle oil.  [Side note:  The above picture used homemade pasta sheets cut into wide strips for pappardelle.  If you go this route, increase the amount of pasta from the linked recipe by 50 percent to match the amount of sauce this recipe makes].

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