Meatless Monday Marsala

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Whenever I am planning dinner, I always like it to be something that accommodates everyone in our family, both the vegetarians and the carnivores.  I usually end up altering original family recipes that use meat to make them lighter or entirely vegetarian.  Chicken Marsala is the perfect example of a dish that can be delicious without meat.  The mushroom base is hearty enough that it makes a satisfying vegetarian dinner. Here is the recipe that I used the other night:Image

Vegetarian Marsala Pasta

Yields 6-8 servings

Ingredients

1 lb of fettuccine or linguine pasta

3 Tablespoons of butter

2 shallots, minced

2 Tablespoons of flour

2 cloves of garlic, minced

3 cups of mushrooms, sliced (I used Cremini mushrooms but you can use any assortment)

1/3 cup of Marsala cooking wine

1 cup of vegetable stock (might need more if your sauce becomes too thick)

1/4 cup of finely chopped parsley (more for garnish)

Parmesan cheese to sprinkle on top of the pasta

Salt and pepper to taste

Directions

Heat the butter and add the shallots over medium heat in a sauté pan.  Cook until the shallots become translucent.  Then, stir in the flour and cook together for about 1-2 minutes so the taste of the raw flour cooks out.  Add in your garlic and mushrooms.  Cook them together for about 1-2 minutes.  Then, add in the Marsala cooking wine.  Cook until the mushrooms absorb the liquid.  Then, add in the vegetable stock and turn down the heat to low. Let the sauce simmer and cook your fettuccine or linguine pasta according to the box.  Strain the pasta until just before it reaches al dente (it will finish cooking with the sauce).  Add the pasta to the sauté pan.  Cook together for 2 –3 minutes.  Stir in the chopped parsley and season with salt and pepper to taste.  Serve the pasta immediately after.  You can garnish this with Parmesan cheese and additional parsley.

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My brother’s don’t consider it a meal unless there is some form of meat on their plate.  So, I baked chicken tenders to pair on the side of this dish. If everyone you planned on serving this dish eats chicken you could cook the raw, breaded chicken in your sauté pan along with your sauce (once it is finished).  This will unify the chicken and sauce together better than adding it on the side. I chose to keep this vegetarian to showcase the mushrooms in the dish.  Also note that, it won’t be as easy to mix your pasta in at the end so I would recommend cooking your pasta until it is al dente and then pouring the sauce and chicken over the top.

Baked Chicken Tenders (on the side)

Yields 12 tenders

Ingredients

2 lbs of boneless, skinless chicken tenderloins

2 large eggs

3 Tablespoons of water

2 cups of seasoned breadcrumbs (I make homemade breadcrumbs by adding bread ends/stale bread, a handful of fresh parsley, and salt and pepper to a food processor.)

2 teaspoons of olive oil

Directions

Preheat your oven to 375º and line a cookie sheet with parchment paper. Wash the chicken tenderloins and place on a plate or piece of wax paper.  Wisk together the eggs and water in a large shallow bowl and place breadcrumbs in another large shallow bowl.  Dip the pieces of chicken in the egg and then the breadcrumbs.  Then, place them on the cookie sheet.  Bake for 35-40 minutes until the juices of the chicken run clear (if you want to take extra precaution in cooking your chicken, cut the center of one to make sure they are fully cooked before serving.)

Enjoy!