Delicious pasta with fresh shiitake mushrooms in a rich warm marsala wine sauce. Perfect for a quick dinner.
I love pasta. I don’t think I can ever get tired of it. Why? Because it comes in various shapes and sizes and textures. You can eat them in so many ways. If you add different ingredients and use another sauce, you get a brand new dish. It’s simple. It’s fast. It’s delicious.
I wanted to make Chicken Marsala for the longest time. Have you ever had the dish at Cheesecake Factory? Or at Elephant Bar? Yes? Then you know why I want to be able to make it at home. So imagine how excited I was when I finally got my hands on a bottle of Marsala cooking wine. Very.
So why did I end up making Pasta Marsala instead? Because I didn’t have the chicken defrosted…
But as usual, when I don’t have an ingredient I need, I substitute it with something else. In this case, pasta.
I’m going to take a moment to encourage you to use ingredients that you like. Just because I used thin spaghetti or shiitake mushrooms doesn’t mean that you have to. It’s perfectly fine if you decide to substitute one ingredient for another that you prefer. If a recipe absolutely requires an ingredient, I’ll be sure to let you know. That said, I do recommend trying a recipe the way it’s written before you make additional adjustments. After all, how would you know a recipe needs a particular change if you don’t know what it tastes like to begin with?
This pasta recipe is really simple. Honestly. It took around 20-30 minutes to prepare, cook, and serve this dish. See? Easy.
First, boil your pasta according to the directions on the box. I used thin spaghetti, which took about 6 minutes to become al dente.
While your pasta is cooking, you can cut your shiitake mushrooms into thin slices, chop up your parsley, and mince your garlic.
I used about 5 large shiitake mushrooms, which, when sliced, came out to be about 2 cups. If you don’t like shiitake mushrooms, you can use white mushrooms too.
I chopped up about 5 sprigs of parsley, which came out to be ¼ cup. Parsley is actually a new ingredient for me. I used it for the first time about two months ago. What I love is that it lasts a long time in the fridge. Parsley doesn’t become brown, soft and wet like cilantro does. After two weeks, it does start to turn yellow, but you can throw those out and keep the ones that are still green. I know when eaten raw, parsley has a strong taste and a tough texture so make sure that you cook them thoroughly if you don’t like that.
I only used one large clove of garlic in the recipe, but if you’re a garlic lover like my sister is, go ahead and add another clove or two. Oh, and don’t mind the dark spots on the cutting board. I sliced the mushrooms right before the garlic.
Reserve about ½ cup of pasta water before you drain the pasta. Run the hot pasta under cold water to prevent them from sticking to each other. Set aside.
In a large skillet, pour in ¼ cup olive oil. Turn the heat to about low medium. You’re going to add the minced garlic. If the heat is too high, the garlic will burn very quickly and turn black. It will leave a burnt bitter taste. I know. It happened to me a few times. After the garlic has turned lightly brown and fragrant, add in the shiitake mushrooms. Cook until the mushrooms start to change colors. It will look a little more brown and shiny.
You can see the color change in the photo below. The parts of the mushroom that remain uncooked appear white, and the parts of the mushroom that appear light brown and shiny are cooked.
Once the mushrooms are cooked, add in the Marsala cooking wine and reserved pasta water. Let it simmer for about a minute. Then add the pasta. Make sure to stir the pasta around to allow it to absorb the sauce. Add in the parsley and red pepper flakes. Again, stir the pasta to make sure that the parsley and red pepper flakes are evenly distributed.
Finally, add in the salt and pepper to taste. I don’t want to give an exact amount of salt and pepper because we all have different preferences. I personally like my food a little more salty, whereas my mom and dad like food less so. I recommend adding a little at a time, tasting as you go, to get the flavoring that you like.
Let it simmer for a few minutes until the pasta has absorbed most of the sauce.
Now it’s ready to be plated and served. Add extra parsley and red pepper flakes for garnish if you like. Enjoy!
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