We all go through phases I suppose. I still do. Right now, I am in my “I going to write an amazing blog and get rich and travel like Bakerella and Pioneer Women” phase. If only it were that simple, right? Anyway, about seven years ago, I went through a long phase of unemployment and boredom, which led me to another phase of daily marathon watching of The Food Network, which in the end, I and my family are very grateful for.
This was back when The Food Network was good. There were no “Next Food Network Star” competitions. It was all the originals. Emeril, Paula, Giada, Alton, Tyler, Bobby, Mario and Rachael, just to name a few. Giada, Paula, Alton and Tyler were my faves. I liked some, more for their recipes and cooking techniques than their personalities. Racheal was always entertaining to watch, but I could never get past that irritatingly raspy voice, and most of her recipes that looked great, I tried, and were terrible. Emeril, also very entertaining, but once I watched one of those “Behind the Scenes” shows and saw how many people it took to run his show and prep everything for him, I lost respect and interest. It seemed ridiculous that so many people had to do so many minute tasks just to produce one episode. I was sure I could do just what he did with far less.
I chose my favorites for various reasons. Giada, for her recipes and techniques, Tyler, for his down-to-earth personality and style, Alton for his ability to teach science and cooking at the same time, along with showing us all those cool kitchen gadgets, and Paula, for her butter. I think I made more dinners from Giada’s show than any other. Everything I ever made of hers was amazing, and today’s recipe is no exception . She cost me a small fortune in specialty items though, Thank God I had a Trader Joe’s one block from my house at the time. Do you have any idea how expensive 8 oz of Mascarpone Cheese is? Or where to find a nice loaf of quality, fresh, crusty Italian bread? I couldn’t drive to Cortina’s every day.
So of all the recipes I have collected from these fine, talented chefs and cooks, one came out ahead as the most requested by my family. I have to say, although the recipe says it is “easy” to make, I beg to differ. The steps are not difficult, but because they are all done in succession, within a short time frame, and there are so many, I find it to be more medium to difficult on the scale. It gives me no time to clean up as I go along either, which makes it more work in the end, and the oil splatters from the pan only add to that. It definitely takes me longer than 30-50 minutes to make, and I am a very experienced cook with better than average skills. But in the end, well worth it all.
So without further adieu…Chicken with Mustard Mascarpone Marsala Sauce.
To start, I like to prep all the herbs and veggies first. That way, I can at least clean up that mess before I heat up the pan and start cooking.
The mushrooms are a breeze because I use these pre-sliced Crimini mushrooms. Baby Bellas are the same thing if you find those. You can slice them yourself if you prefer, thick is best, but I would not use any other type, like a regular button mushroom. They have very little flavor by comparison. 1 lb. mushrooms.
Lastly is the Italian, flat leaf parsley. 2 tbsp.
I chop it coarsely and leave a couple of sprigs for decoration.
I, for one, am very picky about how I chop my parsley and other stemmed herbs. I have a peeve about stems in the mix. I really hate when I am eating a nice dish somewhere and I bite into a stem. The flavor is overwhelming and the texture can be difficult to chew. It represents laziness by the chef to me and completely ruins a beautiful dish the way arrogance makes an otherwise good-looking man, ugly. That goes double for things like jalapeno or pepperoncini stems in my sandwiches from Subway or Togos. No one wants to eat those things, so pick them out!
I think I have said before, I like the Foster Farms boneless, skinless, breasts from Costco. They are packaged two to a bag with six bags per pack. They don’t have hormones, or fillers, so they are plump and juicy and don’t shrink up like other brands I have tried. Sprouts and Henry’s also have good chicken breast when on sale. I just prefer the Costco pack because it’s so easy to freeze, defrost, portion and use.
The recipe says to cut the breast into three pieces, but I prefer large diced pieces. It goes farther. I use four breasts for this dinner, but I am feeding 6-8 people on any given night. Two is probably sufficient for most.
I could seriously kick myself for not remembering to take pictures of each step along the way. I didn’t think of it until I have cooked the chicken and sautéed everything.
So what you missed was heating the oil in the pan (2 tbsp), salt and pepper the chicken before dicing and browning the chicken. As you can see in the chicken pics above, I remove the cooked chicken and then add a couple pats of butter (2 Tbsp.) and the shallots, followed by the pressed or chopped garlic, then finally the mushrooms.
So here’s what it looks like at this point.
I also start a large pot of water to cook the fettucine noodles in. I don’t add salt or oil to my water now, but I usually do add a good amount of Kosher salt once it’s boiling, just before I drop in the noodles. Adding the salt before the boil can cause boiling to delay, and adding oil at any stage will keep the sauce from sticking to your noodles.
Now we just add the Marsala wine (1 cup) and let it simmer for a few minutes until it’s reduced by about half. The recipe calls for Dry Marsala wine, but I have tried both and much prefer the Sweet Marsala.
While the Wine is reducing, the water for the pasta should be boiling. I add the Kosher salt (about 2-4 tbsp), then the fettucine noodles (1 lb box), and stir around for a few seconds so they don’t stick.
So now I add the Mascarpone cheese (1 cup, or 8 oz.). You can substitute for cream cheese, but it really is not the same. Just add it to the pan with all the mushroom, chicken goodness and stir until creamy. You should really try the Mascarpone some time. It’s used to make Tirimisu,which I have also made from scratch, but I like to make individual portions in ramekins or small dessert dishes. I love to take a small spoonful of Mascarpone and dip it in sugar, then eat it. It’s unbelievably good.
It’s good with or without it, but the mustard does add a noticeable zing to the overall flavor of the dish. The one time I didn’t add it, I kind of missed it, but I think some of my kids liked it better without the mustard. I should note that two of my kids hate mushrooms, and two love them, but they all love this dinner. Because it’s a little harder to make, a little expensive and more time-consuming, I usually reserve it for a special occasion.
So I guess we are just about done. I’m tired from just blogging about it.
I strained fettucine noodles returned them to the pot, stirred in 3 tbsp of butter and a little salt. Then I put them gently into the serving dish and poured the contents of the pan over it. You can pre-mix it all together if you like, but I prefer it this way. lastly, I top it with the sprigs of parsley I reserved.
Here’s the finished product…
So that’s my version of Giada’s Chicken with Mustard and Mascarpone Marsala Sauce.
I hope you try it and enjoy it.
Until then…Enjoy your food, cherish your family,
and savor every last crumb life throws at you.