We were in Newport Beach with Jacob’s manager several years ago when I had my first taste of marsala sauce. It was a little hole in the wall Italian meat market that had a restaurant to the side. I ordered mushroom ravioli with marsala sauce, and I was in heaven. I don’t even know how to describe the flavor that marsala brings to the plate, but it makes you feel warm and sensual and happy happy happy.
When I got home I thought Julia Childs’ book would be a good place to start as I began my search for how to make this deliciousness.
I started experimenting and came up with a recipe that we love. It’s our date night go-to, and is perfect paired with some petit syrah or zinfandel. Parts of it are from Julia, and others are added by yours truly.
Here is a perfect date-night or girls night dinner for you!
Mushroom Marsala Sauce
Makes about 2 cups
2 cups beef bouillon
2 bay leaves
1-2 sprigs of thyme
3 Tbsp finely minced onions
2 Tbsp cornstarch
Bring the above ingredients, besides the cornstarch, to a boil, then turn down to simmer for 10 minutes or so. Strain the bay leaves, thyme and onions out with a slotted spoon.
With a fork, whisk 2 Tbsp of cornstarch into 2 Tbsp of cold water. Drizzle into hot broth while whisking. Simmer for about 5 minutes, or until the broth has thickened considerably, to the consistency you would like your sauce. Pour into another glass pitcher or bowl, and let cool a bit while you do the next step.
While you put a big pan of salted water on to boil for the ravioli, your sweet husband will set out some aged whiskey cheddar to tide you over while you cook, and pour you a glass of something to get your night together started. 🙂
Have a bite and a sip (don’t forget the “thanks, babe!” kiss), then start getting your next ingredients out.
12 oz mushrooms, very finely chopped
2 Tbsp of minced shallots or yellow/sweet onion
1 Tbsp butter
1/2 Tbsp olive oil
1/2 cup marsala
Chop the mushrooms and the shallots/onions.
Heat up the pan with the butter and oil in it.
Add the shallots/onions first, for 30 seconds or so, then add the mushrooms.
Saute the mushrooms and onions in the hot butter and oil for 4-5 minutes or until soft. Remember right around now your water should be boiling to cook the ravioli…toss it in to cook according to the packaging. I used Buitoni Mushroom Agnolotti.
Now back to the sauce: Add the wine and boil it down rapidly until it has almost completely reduced.
Add the thickened brown sauce, and simmer for about 5 minutes.
Add a swirl of heavy cream or half-and-half to add some rich color and texture.
In the meantime, I roasted some asparagus so we would have some veggies with our pasta, too. Just drizzle olive oil over the top, sprinkle with salt, and pop into a 350 degrees fahrenheit oven for 8-10 minutes.
Plate your ravioli and spoon the sauce over the top. Sprinkle parmesan over the top, and set asparagus on the side.
The man I love + the food I love + the wine I love = Perfection.