Posts Tagged ‘marsala’

“Out-FREAKIN’-standing” my father said as he spooned the luscious mushroom gravy over his veal. The brown-red sauce had the color of rich soil, with a much better flavor; sage, marsala wine, and figs amalgamate into a sweet and earthy sauce. My mother was caught up in her lamb chop bone, grazing on the lean herb-coated meat and gnawing down until only the tendons and bone remained.



  • 1 rack of lamb
  • 3-4 sprigs of Rosemary
  • 1 handful of parsley
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • olive oil
  • thyme or oregano make good additions

1. When you bring the rack of lamb home, salt it generously and cover it in the refrigerator. When given time—anywhere from ten minutes to a few hours—the salt will draw out flavorless moisture. Your lamb will still be moist from the fat, but the meat will have a more concentrated flavor.

2. Roughly chop the herbs and garlic and grind in a food processor with olive oil, salt and pepper. Keep adding oil until you have achieved a loose paste with small pieces of herbs. Slather on both sides of the rack and, if you have time, let the flavors merry. Cook in a 350º until it reaches an internal temperature of about 120º, anticipating carry-over cooking while it rests.

3. Stand the rack vertically (frenched bones up) and cut the chops. You can cut every one or every two bones.


  • 2 cuts of veal (No idea what cut. I rarely have veal.)
  • About 6-8 baby bella mushrooms (about 1/2 a container) substitutions are fine
  • 4-5 dried figs chopped
  • 2-3 cloves of garlic
  • A handful of sage, de-stemmed and chopped
  • Olive oil
  • 2/3 cup Marsala wine
  • Red wine
  • flour
  • 3 tablespoons butter

1. With a damp paper towel, clean the mushrooms and slice them. In medium-high heat, sauté the shrooms with sliced garlic cloves in olive oil. Sprinkle in chopped sage, salt, and pepper and add a tablespoon of butter. Simmer with the marsala wine and the figs to reduce.

2. Season with veal liberally with salt and pepper as early as possible. Heat a large metal pan (and only a metal pan will work) on high heat. Drizzle in enough olive oil to coat the entire pan and sear the veal without crowding the pan. Brown both sides and also the thin sides if possible with tongs.

3. Envelope the veal in the sauce with a little wine and bake in the oven, covered, until it reaches an internal temperature of 130º. It will continue to cook while resting on a plate.

4. In a small saucepan, melt two tablespoons of butter with a hefty pinch of flour. Whisk the roux to create a gluey paste. Incorporate some cream as well. Add the gravy, bring to a boil, and simmer. You can add cream to reach your desired color. Pour some over the veal and reserve the rest for the table.

My dad said he would pay fifty bucks for the meal at a restaurant. He also said that he’d much rather eat it at home for free.

-Thanks to my Aunt and Uncle for sending the meat-

-Thanks to my parents for not raising me a vegetarian-

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  • penne pasta (rigatoni or practically any similar-sized pasta will work)
  • heavy cream
  • freshly parmesan cheese
  • marsala cooking wine (real marsala wine will work as well, but I’m only 18 and couldn’t buy the real wine)
  • fresh parsley (It is as important in Italian cuisine as olive oil)
  • 2 containers mushrooms (I would suggest a crimini mushroom or any mild, tender, and small mushroom)
  • 1 vidalia onion

1. Start by chopping onions in half inch squares. I used vidalia, yet any sweeter onion will work. Cut the criminis in half, if necessary, to make bite-size pieces. Sweat the onions over medium-high heat in butter. After a minute or two, add mushrooms, garlic (using a garlic press), salt and pepper. You know you are finished sweating when the onions become clear. If the onions are browning, then you are caramelizing.

2. Add about one or two tablespoons of flour and stir to form a roux. A roux is just a thickening agent made, in this dish, with butter and flour. Add the wine and set the fire to a simmer. Cook the wine for a minute or two. Next, raise the heat to reach a boil. The boiling causes the roux to reach its full potential and thickening power. Add grated parmesan cheese, stirring constantly. I used a zester.

3. Boil the pasta until al dente (read container for instructions). Before draining the pasta, ladle in some starchy water to help reach the desired consistency. Note for the perfectionists: I cannot give exact amounts; one just has to trouble-shoot. Add more cream or wine until you have attained a good balance of flavors and the perfect texture.

4. To evade the mistake that I made, make the sauce looser than desirable; when the sauce comes in contact with the starchy pasta, it will thicken naturally. Similarly, as the sauce cools, it will thicken even further. I garnished with chopped parsley, some lemon juice, and salted to taste.

The moral of the story is: even a picnic’s no picnic. In other words, just because it’s a pasta dish, does not mean that it does not require the same meticulous care and attention that a soufflé or a beef wellington does. Serve with crusty italian bread. For this, there are no substitutions.

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