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Recently, we went out for Italian at Villa Nuova.  Husband got the stuffed chicken Marsala, and it planted a seed that I needed to mess around with Marsala and pork.

Speaking of Villa Nuova, if you’re ever in the Bothell area, check it out.  The food is delicious, and the wine pours are monstrous (seriously.. tipsy after one glass).  http://villanuovasantana.com/

In the past 6 months (ish..?), we’ve also made CrockPot Chicken Marsala (see recipe here: http://crockpot365.blogspot.com/2008/02/crockpot-veal-marsala-recipe.html).  Now that I look at the recipe, I did a lot of different-ish stuff:

  • skipped the flour: let everything reduce on its own
  • skipped the oregano: forgot about it, and now I remember it was waaay too overpowering on the CrockPot batch
  • skipped the balsamic: if I had white balsamic I may have used that; the flavor is just so strong and can be overpowering too
  • skipped the green onions: hate those. smell like BO.

Test kitchen buddy came over for dinner, so of course we started with some roasted tomatoes.  I’ve taken so many pics of these I kinda stopped a while back.

First things first: I like Marsala with mashed potatoes instead of pasta.  I took 4 good-sized Yukon golds and boiled til fork tender.  Instead of draining the water and mashing in the pot, I used an “open” spoon (like a pasta stirrer ??? with teeth around the edge and a hole in the middle… crap description I know), and used it to transfer the cooked potatoes into an oven safe baking dish.  That way, there was a good amount of starchy potato water that made it into the dish instead of having to adjust.  Season with salt & pepper, and grate some parmesan cheese over top.  I mashed it all in together, mixed it up and put a little more cheese on top.  No butter or sour cream this time: these potatoes were ridiculously creamy.

Got those out of the way early; keep them warm in the oven.

Up next: Marsala!

Here’s what I used:

  • Pork tenderloin
  • Mushrooms – used about 7 of the brown kind. Don’t hate- I don’t usually eat these
  • Onion – had a large sweet one
  • Marsala wine – had about a half bottle left; used it all
  • Butter – don’t remember how much I used; maybe a half stick
  • Thyme – just a pinch or two; fresh stuff is gone so had to go with dried

Once your mushrooms and onions are sliced and chopped, prep your pork.  I like to rinse and dry mine before I cook with it (and bleach the counter and sink at least 5 times after…).  Season with salt & pepper, and put in a large pan on med-high(ish) heat with olive oil.

Brown on both sides (3-4 minutes each.. ?).  I think the general idea is that the meat is ready to turn when it isn’t stuck to the pan.  But don’t quote me on this, I don’t know what I’m talking about.  Instead, make sure that you either rub some oil on the meat before putting it in the pan, or move it around in the pan so the bottom get some oil.

After you’ve browned both sides, throw in the mushrooms.  I did these first since I’m not the biggest mushroom fan.  If they cook down a bunch, I’ll eat them; if they’re chunky and still fresh-ish, I’ll put them on husband’s plate.  Sharing is caring, right?

Stir the mushrooms around for a while and let them cook a little (I think at this point I added a splash of Marsala).  When they start to look edible (to me, at least..), throw in the onions.  Season again with some salt and pepper, and add the Marsala.

Let the wine reduce a little, then throw in a pinch or two of thyme, and a few chunks of butter.  Mmmmm butter.

I didn’t watch the clock so much while cooking so I can’t tell you exactly how long it took to make this.  I can tell you that once the sauce reduced to perfection (in my opinion), I sliced open the pork and it was perfect (again, in my opinion).

The dinner spread was pretty awesome: pork tenderloin Marsala, parmesan mashed Yukons, prosciutto brussels sprouts and Leslie salad.  Our friend Leslie makes this salad with baby greens & herbs, dried cranberries, blue cheese, candied pecans and chunks pear/apple with a balsamic vinaigrette with mustard & herbs.

This was a delicious (healthy-ish) grain free meal.