Tag Archives: Sauce

Chicken Marsala

Chicken marsala from LaurenFoodE
I’ve been told my strength is sauces. My Caesar salad dressing is divine, my vodka sauce could make grown men cry, and last night I perfected another: marsala. There is something so rich and deep about this sauce, it tastes like you cooked for hours to achieve it. Truth: it takes 45 minutes tops.

Note: this is a recipe that looks kind of involved, but it’s really not. Just read the whole thing before you start so you know which step comes when, and so your whole meal finishes at the same time.

On the menu:
Chicken marsala
Serves 2 – 3 (truth be told, this was too much for just 2 of us but if you’re serving 2 big eaters, then this might be perfect for 2)

2 large chicken breasts, cut in half length wise and pounded to 1/2 inch thick
1/4 cup flour
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 3/4 cups chicken broth
2 Tbsp butter
1 large shallot, finely minced
2 cloves garlic, finely minced
10 oz. white mushrooms, roughly chopped
1 tsp dried rubbed sage
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup Marsala wine
2/3 cup heavy cream
1 tsp fresh squeezed lemon juice
1/2 pound angel hair pasta

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Get a large pot of salted water boiling (for pasta).

In a small saucepan, boil chicken stock uncovered until reduced to 1/2 cup. Once cooked down, turn off heat and set aside.

In a large skillet, melt butter over medium heat. Add minced shallots and garlic and cook for 2 minutes or until fragrant. Add mushrooms, sage, salt and pepper and cook for around 6 – 8 minutes or until mushrooms have cooked down. Remove from heat and reserve.

In a shallow dish, spread out the flour. Liberally salt and pepper each piece of chicken and dredge in flour, shaking off excess. In a large frying pan, heat olive oil over medium heat. Cook each piece of chicken for 1 – 2 minutes, just until browned on each side. Place on a foil-lined baking sheet and finish the breasts off in the oven, baking for 7 – 8 minutes.

Meanwhile, in the same large skillet the mushrooms cooked in, add marsala wine and bring to a simmer, scraping off all the little brown bits from the shallots and garlic. Cook for 1 – 2 minutes or until the liquid reduces by half. [Now is a good time to start cooking your angel hair pasta!] Add reduced broth, cream, and mushrooms and stir. Let liquid simmer for 10 minutes. Stir in lemon juice.

Plate pasta, then chicken, then top off with sauce. Serve hot.

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Garlic Parmesan Cream Sauce

When I was a single girl, living in a single world, I did my grocery shopping whenever I needed to. If I felt like cooking I’d pick up necessities on my way home from work because if I did weekly shopping then things went to waste (you know, because of those nights when you’re like, hmm this chocolate cake and red wine looks like dinner to me). But now that I am living with a S.O. (that’s significant other for you laypeople) we do our grocery shopping once a week. Not only does that mean that I have to plan nightly meals for a whole week, but it means that when single-Lauren would’ve eaten red wine and cake because she lacked the energy to grocery shop, S.O.’ed-Lauren tries to make due with what’s in the cupboard.

This is a sauce that you can put on pasta, pour over roasted vegetables, or even use as a pizza sauce beneath toppings like prosciutto or zucchini, and it’s a sauce that can be made with things you probably already have in your cupboard. As long as you’re a nice Italian girl, that is.

On the menu:
Garlic parmesan cream sauce
Serves 2

3 medium sized cloves of garlic, minced
2 Tbsp butter
1 Tbsp flour
1 cup milk (I used 1%)
1/2 cup half and half
1/2 cup parmesan cheese
1 tsp dried basil (or 1/4 cup fresh basil, chopped)

In a small sauce pan over low heat, melt the butter. Add garlic and saute for 2 – 3 minutes or until aromatic. Add the flour and stir into a paste. Add milk and cream and cook for around 5 – 6 minutes, until the mixture starts to thicken. Add the parmesan cheese and the basil and cook until desired thickness, around 5 – 6 more minutes. Toss with pasta and serve.

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Chicken Ragu with Tortellini


This is probably not news to anyone who knows me or reads this blog on the reg, but I love comfort food. I’m sure comfort food is different for everyone, but for me it’s cake, scrambled eggs, tomato sauce and pasta, macaroni and cheese… you get the idea. If it adds to your cholesterol, it makes me feel good.

In that same vein, ragu is probably one of my favorite pasta sauces. Ragu is defined as a vegetable-based sauce with meat in it, but in my mind I define a ragu as a tomato based sauce with shredded meat in it. Okay, so maybe culinary experts might disagree. Look at me give a care.

On the menu:
Chicken ragu with tortellini
Serves 4

1 28-0z. can crushed tomatoes
2 chicken breasts
1 onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 cup fresh basil, chopped
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 black pepper
1 lb. pasta (I used tortellini but you can use any pasta you like)
1 honking loaf of garlic bread (optional… but really… is it?)

Pour tomatoes, basil, onion, garlic, salt, and pepper into a slow cooker and mix well until combined. Nestle chicken into the tomato sauce and turn on slow cooker to 275 degrees or low heat. Cook for 6 – 8 hours.

Cook pasta according to directions.

Remove chicken and place on cutting board, and then use 2 forks to pull apart chicken. Return chicken to slow cooker, add pasta, and toss. Add salt and pepper to taste. Serve with garlic bread. Impress your friends. Be full and happy.

Chicken ragu in the slow cooker

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Flop

Guys, I did it again. Messed up a recipe. This is twice in two weeks, I want you to know. The first flop was when I thought I could make risotto without chicken stock. It was pretty disgusting. Not only did it taste bitter and weird, it came out a sick milky-purple color from the red wine I thought I’d try and use to flavor it up. This last mess up was bright green: usually attractive in a pesto, gross and bitter (once again) from lack of salty flavor. The risotto debacle was the result of me trying to “make do and mend” with items I already had in my house. The pesto travesty came from a shoddy recipe (or from someone who REALLY loves the taste of watered down arugula juice*).

The (lovely and patient) BF tried to force down both dishes, but in the end I think his response was, “I don’t know if I can eat any more of this…” I feel like I have some serious mac-n-cheese-ing to do to compensate for these lost meals.

In any case, the shrimp in that above dish were INCREDIBLE so I’m including the recipe here. Totally worth trying with a regular pesto recipe or your standard tomato sauce.

On the menu:
Garlic fried shrimp
Serves 2

1 lb. raw shrimp, deveined and tails removed
2 Tbsp flour
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cracked black pepper
2 Tbsp olive oil

In a small bowl, mix together garlic powder, salt, and pepper. Make sure shrimp are rinsed clean and patted completely dry. Sprinkle seasoning over the shrimp. Place shrimp in a plastic Ziploc bag, add flour, and shake to coat. Heat olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Shake excess flour off of shrimp and place in the hot skillet. Cook on each side for around 3 – 4 minutes, or until they are no longer gray and translucent.

Add to pasta and sauce and grate cheese over the top.

*In case you’re interested, the sauce in question was arugula pesto: 6 oz. of arugula, 1 garlic glove, 1/3 cup of asiago cheese, 1/4 cup olive oil, 1/3 cup heavy cream, all blended together.

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Sunday Sauce

A few weeks ago I pretended like I was a good Italian housewife and made sauce on Sunday. I have my go-to, easy-peasy red sauce, but I didn’t have a nailed-down creamy vodka sauce recipe that I really loved. I figured this was a good opportunity to concoct one.

Vodka sauce shown here with breaded chicken cutlets and penne pasta

On the menu:
Vodka sauce

1/4 cup butter
1/2 white onion, diced
1/2 cup vodka (or 3/4 cup if you’re feeling particularly boozey)
1 (28 0z.) can tomatoes, crushed
1 cup heavy cream
1 cup parmesan cheese, grated
Salt and pepper to taste

Over medium heat, sautee onion in butter until translucent. Add vodka and cook for 8 minutes. Add tomatoes and reduce heat to low. Simmer for around 35 minutes. Add heavy cream and cook over low heat for another 35 minutes. Add half of the parmesan cheese, and add salt and pepper to taste. Add cooked pasta to sauce, toss until coated, and garnish with remaining grated parmesan.

*Note: this sauce is good the day you make it, but it is KILLER after it sits in the fridge for a few days. You could easily double this recipe and freeze half for a rainy day. It’ll be even better when you rediscover it.

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Ketchup, Mayo, and Mustard, Oh My!

One of the classrooms at The Brooklyn Kitchen

This post is a big ole ad (even though they sure as heck are not paying me) for The Brooklyn Kitchen. They have endless classes on everything from brewing your own beer at home and cake decorating to pickling and bread baking, and all for around $50 a pop. They are informative, taught by experienced and knowledgeable chefs, and located super close to the Lorimer stop off the L train in Brooklyn.

Why aren’t you leaping off your couch to go take a class right now?

On Monday night I went out to The Brooklyn Kitchen and took the class on condiments. I am now full of information on how to craft my own mayonnaise, ketchup, BBQ sauce, mustard, citrus vinaigrette, and green goddess dressing.

Jealous?

While chef Brendan McDermott, who taught the class, stressed that recipes are the devil (my words, not his) and that home cooks should use their palates to craft truly special condiments, I’m going to share with you a couple recipes so you can start the condiments journey on your own.

You. Are. Welcome.

Greens with citrus vinaigrette (on lettuce), green goddess, and mustard

Spicy Mustard

3 Tbsp ground mustard seeds
3 Tbsp cheap beer (you heard me)
Healthy pinch of salt
2 tsp olive oil

Add the beer to the mustard and mix well. Add the salt and olive oil. Taste. If it’s too spicy for your liking, add a little more oil. If you’re a glutton for punishment, add more mustard powder.

That’s IT. Can you believe this? Don’t you want to slather this on everything in your cupboard and declare yourself Queen of Condiments?! No…? Just me…?

On to mayo!

French fries with (counterclockwise from top) ketchup, BBQ sauce, curry ketchup, and mustard

Mayonnaise

3 egg yolks
3 cups oil (canola, grapeseed, or olive)
1 Tbsp lemon zest (or zest from half a lemon)
1/4 cup lemon juice (or juice from one lemon)
2 tsp homemade mustard
Healthy pinch of salt (or 2 to taste)
2 Tbsp warm water

In a blender, on low speed, blend together egg yolks, lemon zest, lemon juice, and mustard. Add salt. Add warm water. While the blender is running, add the oil VERY slowly, in as thin and slow a stream as your hand can muster. You absolutely have to add the oil as slow as possible so the mixture stays emulsified. Once the oil is added, you have mayonnaise! Let the mixture sit out at room temperature for about an hour before refrigerating so the mixture doesn’t separate in the cold.

Mayonnaise is an amazing base for so many things; ranch dressing, green goddess dressing, flavored mayo like chipotle and sriracha, and can be used to beef up cakes and baked goods. Seriously, this is the stuff.

All this and more at The Brooklyn Kitchen! Check it out.

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