A Beautiful Tuscan Feast

A few months back, we discovered a little Italian eatery that was amazing. The chef is so talented. Every dish was perfectly executed. The service was flawless. So what was the problem?

Only one. And it’s one I have with many restaurants today. Tiled floors, plaster walls – wonderful for atmosphere. However; the noise level in a crowded restaurant does not make for a nice experience. Tables are pushed too close together to fit as many people as possible inside a very tiny space. If I leave with a headache, to me it doesn’t matter how wonderful the food might be. Luckily they have open air patio dining. Unfortunately, it’s hot right now – upper 90s and even topping 100 at times. We will be back, but we’re waiting until the fall.

That doesn’t mean we can’t have an amazing supper at home. After all, it’s Thursday. And the dining theme of the day is Tuscan Thursday.

The beauty of this menu is that the dessert can be made in the morning or even the day before. It’s ready when you are. The salad can be tossed before starting supper, held in the refrigerator until ready to serve. This lets you concentrate on the main course. Even that is simple. A well-thought out menu holds all the magic of a wonderful Italian Supper of your favorite quaint café with all the quiet comforts of home.

A Beautiful Tuscan Feast
Rustic Skillet Chicken Marsala
Creamy Red Bliss Garlic Mashed Potatoes
Pan Seared Asparagus

Simple Italian Salad

Oh So Easy Tiramisu

Rustic Skillet Chicken Marsala
1 lb thin-sliced Chicken Breast
Salt to taste
Black Pepper to taste
8 oz Brown Mushrooms
2 medium Shallots
4 Garlic Cloves
Parsley for garnish
1/2 cup Flour
Olive Oil as needed
2 tablespoons Butter
2 tablespoons Wondra Flour
3/4 cup Marsala Wine
3/4 cup Chicken Stock

Lay chicken out, season both sides with salt and pepper to taste. Set aside.

Clean, trim and slice mushrooms, set aside. Peel and thinly slice shallots, Break apart, set aside. Peel and finely mince garlic, set aside. Snip or mince parsley for a garnish, set aside.

Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat, and add the olive oil.

Place flour in a pie tin or shallow dish. Dredge seasoned chicken through the flour, shaking off excess. Place the floured chicken cutlets into the skillet. Brown chicken about 3 minutes per side. Remove the chicken from the skillet and set aside.

To the now empty skillet, add the shallots and sauté for about 3 minutes or until slightly translucent. Add the mushrooms and sauté for 3 minutes more, until mushrooms begin to release their liquid. Add the garlic, sauté for about a minute longer, until fragrant. Remove mushroom mixture from the skillet; set aside in a bowl.

To the hot skillet add the butter, swirl and let melt. Add the Wondra to form a paste, simmer to create a roué. Add the Marsala wine, and bring to a simmer. 

As soon as the Marsala sauce begins to thicken, add the chicken stock, give the sauce a quick whisk to blend. Return the mushroom mixture and chicken to the sauce. Coat the chicken with the sauce, let simmer for about 5 minutes to insure that the thin cutlets are cooked through.

Pull skillet from heat. Garnish with parsley. Serve chicken directly from the pan for a rustic presentation.

Creamy Red Bliss Garlic Mashed Potatoes
3 lbs small Red Bliss Potatoes
6 Garlic Cloves
Kosher Salt to taste
3/4 cup Heavy Cream
4 tablespoons Butter, soft
Fresh Black Pepper to taste

Scrub skins of the potatoes. Place potatoes in a large pot. Peel garlic, leave whole and add to the pot with the potatoes.

Cover potatoes and garlic with water about an inch above the potatoes. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Add salt to the pot, lower heat to a steady simmer until potatoes are tender, about 15 minutes. Drain well.

In a small sauce pan, warm cream. Set aside.

Return the potatoes and garlic to the cooking pot, place over low heat to evaporate any remaining the water. Mash in the butter with a potato masher. Add the heavy cream in stages until the desired consistency reached. Season with additional salt and fresh black pepper.

Place potatoes into a bowl, serve and enjoy.

Pan Seared Asparagus
1 lb Asparagus
2 tablespoons Bacon Drippings
1/2 Lemon
Kosher Salt to taste
Fresh Black Pepper to taste

Snap or trim woody ends from the asparagus. Rinse, pat dry and set aside.

Melt bacon drippings in a skillet over medium heat. Swirl pan to coat. Add trimmed asparagus to pan. Cook for about 6 minutes, until bright green with little browned speck. Turn frequently as the asparagus cooks.

Remove skillet from heat. Cut lemon in half. Squeeze half the lemon directly over the asparagus. Season with salt and pepper.

Transfer asparagus to a shallow serving dish. If desired, garnish with remaining lemon. Serve and enjoy.

Simple Italian Salad
2 bunches Romaine Lettuce
2 cups Grape Tomatoes
1 (2-1/4 oz) can Sliced Olives
1/2 Red Onion
8 Pepperoncini
1/4 cup Parmesan Cheese
Garlic Italian Croutons
Zesty Italian Dressing

Wash lettuce, trim and tear leaves into bite-size pieces. Scatter in a salad bowl, set aside.

Rinse tomatoes, slice in half, scatter over the lettuce. Drain sliced olives, scatter over salad. Cut onion in half from root to tip. Reserve half for another use. Peel remaining half, cut into thin slivers. Break onion slivers apart, scatter over the salad. Remove Pepperoncini from a jar. Shake off excess juices. scatter pepperoncini over the salad. Top with Parmesan Cheese.

Toss salad, cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.

When ready, scatter a handful of croutons over the salad. Drizzle with dressing, toss lightly and serve.

Oh So Easy Tiramisu
8 oz Mascarpone Cheese
1-1/2 cups Espresso
1-1/2 cups Heavy Cream
1/3 cup Sugar
2 teaspoon Vanilla
1 package Lady Fingers
! cup Cocoa Powder
Optional Espresso Beans

Remove Mascarpone Cheese from the refrigerator, allow the cheese to come to room temperature. Brew espresso, allow coffee to cool to room temperature.

Place heavy cream, sugar and vanilla in the bowl of a stand mixer. Whip until stiff peaks form. Add Mascarpone Cheese. Whip until well incorporated without over-mixing.

Pour the cooled espresso in a shallow bowl or pie tin. Dip half of the lady fingers quickly into the espresso one finger at a time. Lady fingers need to absorb the flavor of the espresso without becoming soggy. Arrange the dipped lady fingers in a single layer in the bottom of an 8-inch square baking pan.

Spread half the mascarpone mixture over the top of the lady fingers. Smooth top, then repeat the process of dipping the remaining lady fingers in the espresso, arranging in a single layer over the mascarpone mixture.

Top the second layer of lady fingers with the remaining mascarpone mixture. Smooth mascarpone out; then dust generously with the cocoa powder.

Place the tiramisu in the fridge for 3 hours or overnight. Just before serving, score top into squares and place an espresso bean in the center of each square for an attractive presentation.

Happy Dining Everyone!

Author: Rosemarie's Kitchen

I'm a wife, mother, grandmother and avid home cook.I believe in eating healthy whenever possible, while still managing to indulge in life's pleasures.

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