Friday, November 14, 2008

Mushrooms, Marsala, Mozzarella - Oh My!

The poll at the bottom of my blog this week asked, "Is the best steak the one you cook at home?" Although the responses were pretty evenly distributed I have to agree with the majority. 55% of those who voted stated that the best steak is NOT the one they cook at home. I love steak and I love ordering steak when dining out. I have never made a steak at home that I enjoyed as much as ones I have been served in restaurants. I usually overcook them and the flavor leaves something to be desired. But never one to give up I decided to attempt filets for dinner this week. This steakhouse side dish with an Italian twist was the perfect pairing for our filets. By the way, the steaks were good but nothing like Ruth's.......

Baked Orzo with Fontina
Modified from Giada De Laurentiis

  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • 1 pound orzo pasta (I used whole wheat)
  • 3 tablespoons butter, plus more to grease the baking dish
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 8 ounces mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 cup Marsala wine
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 4 ounces shredded fontina cheese (about 1 cup)
  • 4 ounces diced fresh mozzarella cheese (about 1 cup)
  • 1 cup frozen peas, thawed ( I omitted )
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup bread crumbs
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Butter a 9 by 13-inch baking dish.

Bring the chicken broth to a boil over medium-high heat in a medium saucepan. Add the orzo and cook until almost tender, about 7 minutes. Pour the orzo and the broth into a large bowl. Set aside.

Meanwhile, melt the butter over medium heat in a medium skillet. Add the onions and saute until tender, about 3 minutes. Add the mushrooms

and continue to saute until the mushrooms are beginning to turn golden around the edges, about 7 minutes. Add the Marsala.

Scrape the brown bits off the bottom of the pan and cook until the Marsala has reduced by half, about 5 minutes. Add the mushroom mixture to the orzo in the large bowl. Add the cream, fontina, mozzarella, peas (omitted), salt, and pepper.

Stir to combine. Pour the mixture into the prepared baking dish.In a small bowl combine the bread crumbs, Parmesan, and dried thyme. Sprinkle the bread crumb mixture on top of the pasta. Bake until golden, about 25 minutes.

This cheesy side dish was very rich and comforting. The pockets of fresh mozzarella melted into the pasta perfectly and created the most savory dining experience. The Marsala wine infused mushrooms worked wonderfully with the steak. I left out the peas because I don't like them, but I believe they would have added a much needed pop of color to this dish. Next time I will make this dish with crimini mushrooms, I think they will add even more flavor!


Angie said...

The lightbox looks like it's working great!

Gabriela said...

Well, if you want a steak as good or better than what you can get at Ruth's Chris, you and Forrest will just have to drive down to our place cuz my DH makes the best. We'll supply the steaks, you just worry about bringing your appetites.

P.S. Your mushrooms marsala look positively divine.

mom said...

I was waiting to see pics from the lightbox other than the apple. These are just great, B, tell Forrest I said he is the greatest husband. He finds a way to help you get the things and do the things that make you happy.

gaga said...

Mmmm, all my favorite ingredients! It looks wonderful...

CarinE said...

This is heaven! Cheese and mushroom! I'm lovin' it~ Thanks for the recipe. I think i'm going to make it tonight.