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No Measurements Mushroom Marsala

October 23, 2009

I love recipes. I hate recipes. I’ve always been a “don’t you dare tell me it has to be this ONE way or it won’t work” kinda gal.  The thing is, almost every recipe in existence can easily be transformed: large entrees can be rationed into appetizers for parties, pasta dishes can be turned into rice dishes, meat dishes transformed into vegetarian dishes, and so on. The whole point of this blog is NOT to get you to follow these recipes to the T, agonizing over every detail of each step (boooorrrriingg!), but to encourage you to have FUN with cooking & baking. Learn to embrace substitutions for ingredients you don’t care for with those you love. Tell those measuring cups & spoons that they’re not the boss of you, you’re the boss of them and you’ll use them as your taste buds please.

Take today’s Foodie Friday dish, for example. I made this for the first time when I was STARVING (and if you’ve ever met me, you know that once I hit the “I’m STARVING” phase, food had better come quickly, or else!). We didn’t have much in the fridge. But we had mushrooms. And in the pantry: pasta, garlic and marsala wine (seriously, you must have marsala wine in your pantry at all times). So easy. You can make this with or without the marsala; with rice instead of pasta; with less garlic; with a creamy bechamel sauce if you wish instead of light oil; with sauteed chicken or pork.

And here’s the fun part of today’s dish: I’m not gonna tell you how much of each ingredient to use. I offer some suggestions based on how I like the dish, but that’s it. It’s one of those dishes that lends itself well to experimentation based on YOUR specific taste buds. Think of my recipes as starting points–not finales. Experiment, and enjoy!



-Spaghetti or linguine. Penne will work as well. (about 1/2 pound feeds 2-3 people)

-Olive oil (about 2 tablespoons)

-Minced garlic (I use 3 cloves; you decide how garlicky you want it to be)

-Sliced mushrooms (I use a handful, literally; put in however much you like!)

-Marsala wine (don’t go crazy here; try around 1/2 cup)

-Lemon juice (unless you love lemons that much, I wouldn’t go too crazy here either; try 1 tablespoon or less)

-Chopped fresh or dried parsley

-Salt & pepper

-Parmesan cheese


1. Cook the pasta

2. While the pasta is cooking, heat olive oil in a pan over medium-high heat. Add garlic to the pan and sautee for about 1 minute until slightly soft.

3. Add mushrooms to the pan and sautee for about 1 minute.

4. Add marsala wine to the pan and gently stir ingredients in the pan while the wine warms up to a mild bubbly simmer.

5. Add lemon juice to the mushroom marsala mix.

6. Once pasta is cooked, drain and add it to the pan, gently fold together all of the ingredients so as to coat the pasta with the marsala mushroom mixture.

7. Top with fresh parsley, salt & pepper, and parmesan cheese as desired.

One Comment leave one →
  1. kateypie35 permalink
    October 27, 2009 4:59 pm

    I made this for lunchie today, only I added a little whole milk and a pinch or two of cornstarch for a creamy sauce….yum yum yum yum yum yummmmmmmmmmmmmm
    thanks for the idea!!

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