Saturday, March 3, 2012

Weeknight Fancy

The other night I tried this really tasty chicken dish from Giada De Laurentis.  It even seemed a little, dare I say, fancy.  Not exactly a healthy meal, I'm pretty confident that if you went out and ordered something comparable in a restaurant you'd add at least a few hundred calories to your meal total.  You might have bread and butter while you wait for your server, perhaps you'd get a salad with too much dressing and then they'd serve a large portion that you'd want to eat too much of just because it's on your plate and tastes so darned good.  At home, you can skip the bread, limit your dressing, add a vegetable so you don't want as much entree and save some leftovers for tomorrow.  Oh, and this was pretty quick too.  Weeknight fancy, how about that?  The name of the game is Chicken with Mustard Mascarpone Marsala Sauce.  I made a couple of minor adjustments to the recipe (as usual).
Personally, I'm not a fan of mushrooms.  I do like the flavor they add to certain dishes but I really dislike the texture and the fact they they are fungus.  The original recipe calls for 1 pound of cremini mushrooms but I used an 8oz package which really was plenty. 
I cut the chicken into smaller pieces than instructed to speed up the cooking time.  The recipe advises you to cut it up after it's cooked anyway so do what what you like with that.
After you've browned your chicken on both sides you add some butter and onions and then mushrooms and garlic to the skillet.  You can get your pasta going while this is in the works.
After the shrooms cook for about 12 min or so, you add a cup of Marsala wine.  You might as well grab a bottle of wine for drinking while you're at it.  I'm thinking a nice red.
Once the Marsala reduces by half you add the mascarpone and mustard, the chicken and it's juices, a little parsley and salt and pepper.  Now that is looking really good and a little bit fancy don't you think?
Serve this up with a side of asparagus, broccoli or other green veg of choice.  A side salad wouldn't hurt either!

Chicken with Mustard Mascarpone Marsala Sauce
(adapted from Giada De Laurentis)

1 1/2- 2 lbs boneless chicken breast cut into 3 or more pieces
salt and fresh cracked black pepper
2 TBS olive oil
4 TBS butter, divided (I actually cut this down by a tbs!)
3/4 cup chopped onion
8oz (to a pound, you choose) cremini mushrooms, sliced
2 TBS minced garlic
1 cup dry Marsala wine
8oz mascarpone cheese
2 TBS Dijon mustard
2 TBS chopped fresh parsley
12 oz dried fettuccine

Season chicken with salt and pepper.  Heat oil in a large skillet over medium high heat.  Add chicken and cook just until brown on each side.  Transfer to a plate.

Melt 2 TBS butter in the same skillet (over med-high heat), add onions and saute until tender, about 2 min.  Add the mushrooms and garlic and saute until tender and juices evaporate, about 12 min.  Add the wine and simmer until it's reduced by half, about 4 min.  Stir in the mascarpone and mustard.  Cut chicken into slices (if you didn't cut into smaller pieces before cooking) and return to the the skillet along with any juices.  Simmer uncovered, over medium low heat until the chicken is cooked through and the sauce thickens slightly, about 3 min.  Stir in chopped parsley.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Meanwhile bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and cook fettuccine until al dente, 8-9 min.  Drain and toss with 2 TBS butter (you could probably get away with one, or maybe a little olive oil instead).  Season with salt and pepper.  Place pasta on the plate and top with chicken mixture and enjoy!

This makes 6 servings.  It was a hit with everyone.  Two of us picked around the mushrooms but Hayden decided that if you just mix them up with everything else, you hardly know they are there.  He is apparently braver than I.

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