Ever since watching The Next Food Network Star and Julie and Julia I've been thinking a lot about what makes my cooking style unique. I wondered what I would say if I was asked what my culinary point of view is. It became very clear to me when reading a really great comment someone left on my blog. It's something that is always in the back of my mind but when I really thought about it, it was clear as day. As you know, my blog was originally created to help me learn to make the recipes my grandmother made and share it with my family and friends. This has evolved into something even more. Through the years I've learned what flavors go well together, what ingredients can be substituted for others, how to work with what I have and the budget that I have. Sometimes things worked well, sometimes not so much, but that's okay. That seems to have become the theme of this blog and that's what I want readers to learn. I want someone to read my blog and think, hey, I can do that. It doesn't matter if you don't have prosciutto today, or that you don't have the specific wine this recipe calls for or even if you are a vegetarian. I want people to learn to view recipes as a guide, an idea that worked, not something written in stone. Take that idea and run with it, change it up, make it work for you. It may not turn out exactly like the picture in a book or like a photo on a blog but that's okay because hey, it could end up even better. What is important is that you are in the kitchen, that you fill your home with wonderful aromas, put meals on the table that bring your family together and enjoy yourself. It doesn't matter if it's a hit or a flop, what matters is that you tried and you didn't give up. The more you get in the kitchen you will learn what you like and what flavor combinations work for you and your family. Before you know it, you'll have more hits and less flops. As long as your ingredients are good and fresh you'll win every time. I hope that I can help give you the courage to be creative, try something new, and be comfortable and confident that you can create a wonderful meal no matter how limited your pantry is.
Today's recipe is an example of how my cooking philosophy works. When I saw this recipe I loved it. To me it seems like a combination of chicken marsala and saltimbocca, two of my favorite dishes. Marsala is a simple mushroom sauce made with marsala wine and fresh mushrooms. Saltimbocca's key ingredients are prosciutto, sage and spinach is usually served with it or under it. For me this recipe would really be a marriage of those two dishes if it was served with spinach ravioli or with some spinach tossed in. Today, I happened to have the spinach ravioli but unfortunately I didn't have the prosciutto and sage. I didn't let it stop me, we needed to eat dinner anyway! It wasn't the same as the photo in the magazine and it wasn't a true combination of both dishes but still very delicious. As always, I use cremini mushrooms in place of button mushrooms and I used garlic in place of the shallots, and added garlic powder in addition to the salt and pepper when I seasoned my chicken. The dinner was excellent, Steve and I were both very happy with it. Next time I will love to try the recipe with prosciutto, sage and definitely some spinach. Use your imagination and change it up according to what you have in your pantry, you never know, you may find a new family favorite!
Chicken Marsala Ravioli
from Cuisine at Home, Perfect Pasta
For the Ravioli and the Chicken-
1 - 9 oz. package refrigerated cheese-filled ravioli
1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breast, sliced into strips and seasoned with kosher salt and pepper
1/4 cup all purpose flour
3 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
2 oz. prosciutto, chopped
For the Marsala Sauce-
1/2 lb button mushrooms, sliced
2 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
2 Tbsp minced shallots
1/2 cup dry marsala or dry sherry
3/4 cup low sodium chicken broth
2 Tbsp minced fresh sage
2 Tbsp unsalted butter
1 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley
Kosher salt and pepper to taste
*Cook ravioli according to package directions; drain and set aside.
Coat seasoned chicken in flour. Saute in 3 Tbsp oil in a large saute pan over medium-high heat until chicken is brown, about 5 minutes. Add prosciutto; cook 1 minute. Transfer chicken mixture to a plate and set it aside.
Saute mushrooms in 2 Tbsp oil in the same pan over medium-high heat until mushrooms are brown, about 3 minutes. Add shallots; cook 1 minute.
Deglaze pan with marsala, scraping up any bits rom the bottome of the pan; simmer until liquid is nearly evaporated. Stir in broth, chicken mixture, cooked ravioli and sage. Simmer until ingredients are heated through.
Stir in butter. Sprinkle ravioli and chicken with parsley, and season dish with salt and pepper before serving.
* Note - In my experience the sauce can be made frist - just wait to add the chicken until you're ready. I don't like to let ravioli sit without sauce they'll stick together. I rather the sauce wait for the pasta than the pasta wait for the sauce. Otherwise, toss the ravioli with a little olive oil so they don't stick while waiting for the sauce to be ready.