When people ask me if I use a lot of vegetables in my cooking (well… let’s pretend people ask me that) I want to answer yes. I really do. I think vegetables are very important and obviously need to be included as part of a balanced diet.
But here’s my dirty secret. I claim to like vegetables, but if you listed them out for me, I’d probably make an “ewww, gross” face for more than half. I do not like tomatoes, asparagus, broccoli, cauliflower, squash, kale, artichokes, olives….and the list goes on. Sad I know. I had a courageous friend in college who would eat cherry tomatoes at practically every meal in the dining hall because he wanted to make himself like them. That’s too hardcore for me.
I like my vegetables starchy. My Nana always tells me my favorite food as a young child was peas. I still love peas. And corn, potatoes and sweet potatoes. And carrots, because they’re sweet. I also like onions, garlic, shallots, peppers, spinach and of course, mushrooms.
When I saw the adorable, and well manicured lawn behind our prospective house, I couldn’t help but fantasize about the garden I wanted to have there. But then I thought about my disdain for most vegetables…an herb garden perhaps?
Then I would have fresh thyme for this dish. Marsala and thyme are totally best buddies; like the peanut butter and jelly of the savory world. Their flavors are distinct, yet they meld together in the most delicate and delicious way. Add some mushrooms and cream, and you have yourself one delectable pasta topping.
- ½ lb fettuccine (or other pasta)
- 1 Tbsp olive oil
- 1 Tbsp butter
- 1 large shallot, minced
- 1 large garlic clove, minced
- 8 oz button mushrooms, sliced
- ⅓ cup Marsala wine
- ⅓ cup chicken stock
- Juice of ½ lemon
- ⅓ cup heavy cream
- several sprigs of fresh thyme, leaves stripped from the stalks, or 1 Tbsp dried thyme
- salt and fresh cracked pepper to taste
- Cook your pasta of choice according to the instructions on its packaging. Meanwhile, make your sauce.
- In a Dutch oven or similar pot, melt and butter and olive oil and saute the shallot and garlic for a few minutes until fragrant.
- Add in the mushrooms and saute, stirring often, for about 5 to 8 minutes, until the mushrooms are just tender. If the pot seems too dry, add a little more olive oil.
- Add the Marsala and let it evaporate for a minute, then add the chicken stock, thyme, lemon juice, salt and pepper.
- Let the sauce simmer and reduce for 5-10 mins. If it still seems too liquidy at this point, add 1 Tbsp cornstarch mixed with 2 Tbsp cold water and stir to help the sauce thicken.
- Add in the cream, and bring back to a simmer. Check for seasoning, adding salt and pepper.
- When the fettuccine is just al dente, either add it to the sauce and toss well, or put it in a serving bowl and top with the sauce. Garnish with grated cheese and parsley if desired.
Adapted from The View from Great Island