When the Recipe Redux joined with The Mushroom Council's "The Trend is to Blend" promotion, they asked us to show our love of mushrooms by sharing recipes that blend diced, chopped or minced mushrooms in place of some portion of meat or other lean protein using the "blendability technique" to make a healthier dish OR swap out all of the meat protein in a recipe to make a vegetarian dish featuring fresh mushrooms, I knew it was time to showcase this mushroom blended recipe. Mushrooms are low in calories, fat-free, cholesterol-free, gluten-free, and very low in sodium, yet they provide important nutrients, including selenium, potassium, riboflavin, niacin, vitamin D and more. For an excellent source of all things mushrooms, you should visit this site.
"By posting this recipe I am entering a recipe contest sponsored by The Mushroom Council and am eligible to win prizes associated with the contest. I was not compensated for my time."
I think that Chicken Marsala has gotten a bad wrap due to those chain restaurants making a gloppy version with cornstarch sauce and rubbery formed chicken breasts. When made right it can be good enough for company. I have to say it is one of my Dad & mine's favorite dishes and when we can get a well made version, we both order the same thing. It's easy to prepare, has a great wine sauce, tender mushrooms and perfectly sauteed chicken breasts. A great example of simplicity and I would say the Italians invented the 5-ingredient way of cooking.
There really is only one way to make Chicken Marsala, so it is not recommended when creating dishes for a recipe contest that you would love to nail, but putting a spin on something that uses those beloved flavors and still maintains my Italian pride might just impress the judges.
So, what exactly does a spin mean? Well, I made chicken flavored crepes (crespelle), a mushroom ricotta filling and a Marsala sauce. Instead of rolling the crepes around the filling and topping with the sauce, I stacked them and made a crepe cake. For keeping in line with an Italian preparation, I also made Fazoletto (a French undertaker wearing a head scarf) or my favorite, Fazzoletti (Nonna's Handkerchief's).
Same recipe ingredients served two different ways. Both easy to make. The cake does require access to a 6" baking pan (spring form, souffle or casserole) for the cake but I think that's doable. I thought about stacking the crepes free form but I wasn't sure the ricotta would not create a mud slide while baking.
I did make the crepe cake two days before I was planing on serving it for dinner. I also wanted to see how well that would work. I always like to know if the food writer takes that into account, especially with a dish that would be perfect for a Sunday Brunch that allows the host to do enough ahead so to enjoy the guests.
The recipe here made 16 (6") crepes. I used 8 crepes for the cake. The rest was made into fazzioletti.
Any leftover filling was added to the sauce. This was not only over-the-top excellent, The Nudge was full with this slice. Mushrooms can be extremely filling.
This whole week of working with mushrooms has done good things for meal planning. The Nudge has gotten the chance to see that vegetable dishes, with the right ingredients, can be as satisfying as a main meal instead of as a side. Salads will always be considered "lite" food and a steak a steak, but there are those blended dishes that really trick the taste buds into thinking one is eating something with meat.
Mushrooms have that 5th taste called "umami" that gives a dish not only a meaty texture but flavor as well.
Chicken Marsala Crepes
Makes 16 (6-inch) crepes
* 2 large eggs
* 2 cups AP flour
* 2 cups low fat milk
* 1/4 cup Marsala wine
* 2 no-sodium chicken bouillon powder
* 1 teaspoon dried thyme leaves
* 1 teaspoon dried marjoram
* 1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt
* 1/2 teaspoon freshly grated black pepper
* 1 pound Baby Bellas, minced
* 16 ounces low fat ricotta
* 4 ounces Fontina cheese, grated
* 1/2 cup grated Parmesan or Roman cheese
* 2 cups half and half
* 1/4 cup flour
* 1/4 cup chicken stock
* 1 tablespoon olive oil
* 8 ounces button mushrooms, chopped
* Salt & pepper to taste
1. In a mixing bowl with a spout, whisk the eggs, milk, flour, wine, bouillon, thyme, marjoram, salt and pepper until smooth. Let it rest for 30 minutes. The mixture should be the consistency of pancake batter. If it is too thick, add more wine to thin it out.
2. Using a 1/3 cup measure, spray a non-stick skillet with a release agent and pour the batter into one side of the skillet and twirl round and round until the bottom is covered and the liquid stops moving. Use a spoon to fill in any holes. Flip it over with a spatula and cook for 1 more minute. Slide the crepe off the pan, onto a paper plate, placing a small piece of wax paper between each one. Repeat until all the batter is cooked.
3. In the same skillet, saute the minced mushrooms until all the liquid has evaporated and the mushrooms are dry. Cool.
4. Using the same skillet,heat the olive oil and cook the mushrooms. Add the flour to the cooked mushrooms and continue to cook for 1 minute, stirring. Whisk in the half and half and the chicken stock until the mixture thickens and is smooth. Remove to cool.
4. In a large bowl, add the mushrooms to the ricotta and season with salt & pepper. Using an offset spatula, spread 1 1/2 tablespoons mushroom/cheese mixture onto one crepe.
For the cake: Spray the bottom on the baking pan and spoon 1 tablespoon of sauce onto the bottom. Cover with a crepe that has been spread with the cheese mixture. Spoon a tablespoon of sauce over the cheese and 1 tablespoon of grated Fontina cheese & 1 teaspoon of Parmesan, another crepe, ricotta mixture, sauce & Fontina/Parmesan cheeses. Repeat until you have the amount of layers you desire. There is more than enough filling and cheeses, so be on the side of generous.
For the Fazzoletti: Spread crepes with a generous tablespoon of ricotta/mushroom mixture, a tablespoon of Fontina and a sprinkle of Parmesan. Fold crepe twice to form a triangle. Spoon enough sauce to cover the bottom of a lasagna pan. Lay the filled crepes in rows, starting with the point up and laying the next crepe about 1/2-inch on the first one (see pic). Repeat, making three rows. Spoon the sauce over the middle of the crepes, sprinkle paprika over the sauce (optional) and right before baking, some more grated Parmesan.
Preheat oven to 350°. Place the crepe cake pan or the Fazzoletti pan on a sheet pan, cover with foil and bake for 40 minutes. Remove the foil, sprinkle the top with a good amount of Fontina and the rest of the Parmesan. Place the sheet pan right under the broiler and continue baking until the top gets golden brown and bubbly.
Heat the sauce and pour a puddle on a plate, serve one slice of cake or two handkerchiefs.
Can be cooked, stored in the fridge, brought back to room temp (about 1 hour) and reheated, gently in a 300° oven for 30 minutes.