Don’t let the name of this dish scare you. Never let food see the shadow of doubt darken your brow. It can smell fear, y’know. The name sounds complicated and uber-involved, but I assure you that the recipe’s really not ‘all that’. Having said this, however, I encourage you to try it out on others, then bask in the awe borne of their assumptions of how clearly difficult it must’ve been. Be sure to dust your forehead with flour for effect. If one of them asks what part of the recipe called for flour, set something on fire and shoo everyone out of the kitchen. Crisis averted. Face saved.
A brief word about mascarpone. Cows deserve our reverence for any number of reasons (milk, steak, hamburgers, Chick-Fil-A commercials, etc.), but their role in processing the dairy required for cheese qualifies them as worthy of, at the very least, a friendly ‘moo’ shrieked out a car window while driving past them standing in a field. Depending on who you talk to, mascarpone may or may not actually qualify as cheese. It’s more like a really thick yogurt that ends up having a very cheese-like consistency and taste. Cheese pudding, perhaps. I personally place this stuff squarely in the cheese column. If you spread some on a cracker, eat it, then try to tell me that it’s not cheese, I’ll call you a dirty dirty liar.
Regardless of your stance on the fromage question, mascarpone is not good for you, thereby enhancing its wonderful quotient. It is versatile in its unhealthiness, which is what you want in a good cheese. It’s also the most important non-booze ingredient in tiramisu, official dessert of the gods, which solidifies its place in the pantheon of ‘Foods That Make People Happy’. Including mascarpone in a recipe cranks both the richness and the texture up to eleven and adds a subtle sweetness. Combine this with the brandy-infused sweet wine known as marsala and your taste buds win. Hard.
You’ll want to have the following handy:
1.5 lbs boneless chicken boobs
5 tbsp unsalted butter
Garlic, 3 cloves (more if you’re a garlic lover or vampire hater)
1 c marsala wine
8 oz marscapone cheese
2 tbsp dijon mustard
2 tbsp parsley
12 oz fettucine
BEHOLD! THE STUFF THAT YOU’RE ABOUT TO TRANSFORM INTO OTHER STUFF!
Cut up the chicken into chunks the size of whatever size you like your chicken chunks to be. Cook them in some olive oil and set them aside for the moment. Chop up the onions and garlic and saute them in the butter for ~5 minutes over medium-high heat. Add the marsala and reduce it by about ½ over the heat, stirring occasionally.
In the meantime, boil some lightly-salted water for the fettuccine. Dump both the cheese and the mustard into the reduced marsala/onion/garlic goop and stir over medium heat until everything is completely incorporated and the mixture gradually begins to thicken.
Add the chicken and parsley and let it all bubble for ~5 minutes in order for the chicken to understand what’s happening and to think about how it got there. Once the chicken achieves a certain degree of self-awareness, turn off the heat and spoon some of your creation over the fettuccine.
Ideally, this should be washed down with red wine. It doesn’t have to be Italian, but I think it’s important that it be both red and non-sucky. And if you’re feeding this to your kids, well, what better time to have them start drinking?
Sir @ March 30, 2010