I was really looking forward to my recent visit to Grace-Marie’s Kitchen, because the theme was Italian Cucina Sunday Supper. Grace-Marie grew up in an Italian-American family, so her Italian dishes are always authentic and wonderful. She absolutely fulfilled my expectations with this succulent Chicken, Sausage, Asparagus and Mushroom Pasta with a Parmigiano and Mascarpone Sauce, plus Provolone Bruschetta with Cucumber & Pepper Salad, and Strawberry Glazed Italian Ricotta Cheesecake. Grace-Marie has told the story about how her Mom would never tell her what they were going to have for dinner, so each meal was always a big surprise. If this meal is an example, I would have been really happy to wait and find out when it was served.
First the chicken pieces and sausage were sautéed until browned, then held on a big sheet pan, covered, to keep warm. You can see the mise en place for the pasta vegetables in the boxes, waiting expectantly for their turn to be cooked.
Grace-Marie’s assistants, Miss Marty [on the left], and Miss Diane, cook the vegetables in three big pans. Diane is a surgical nurse during the day and Marty is a travel agent, so they come and help Grace-Marie cook for therapy. Finally the chicken and sausage are put back into the pans with the vegetables, and the mascarpone is added in dollops with the Parmigiano and mixed in.
The basil pesto was mixed into the pasta, and Grace-Marie began putting it on plates for the guests and topping it with big spoonfuls of the Chicken, Sausage and Cheese Sauce. The smells in the kitchen were mouth-watering the whole time the cooking was going on, and we finally were served this beautiful pasta dish. The sauce was exceptional and rich, along with the mushrooms and asparagus. It was soooo good! Thank you, Grace-Marie.
For additional recipes from Grace-Marie’s Kitchen, look under Categories in the right-hand column.
Chicken, Sausage, Asparagus and Mushroom Pasta
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 pounds chicken breasts, boneless, skinless & cut into 1-inch portions
1 pound Italian sausage (any variety), removed from casing
2 tablespoons dry Italian herb mix (purchased, any favorite brand)
To season – Kosher or sea salt & ground black pepper
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 cups yellow, brown or red onion, medium diced
3 tablespoons garlic, minced
To season, Kosher or sea salt & ground black pepper
1 pound asparagus, ends trimmed then angle-sliced into 1-inch portions
1 pound crimini mushrooms, quartered
1 pint grape tomatoes, sliced in half lengthwise
½ cup Marsala wine
2 cups Parmigiano cheese, shredded or flaked
½ cup Mascarpone cheese, room temperature
1 cup basil, thinly sliced
1. Warm the oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add the chicken and sausage. Season with the dry herbs, salt and pepper. Once browned, remove from the skillet with a slotted spoon and transfer to a bowl. Cover to keep warm.
2. Using the same skillet (do not clean), warm the butter over medium-high heat. Stir in the onions and garlic. Sauté just until the onions are tender (2 minutes). Season lightly with salt and pepper
3. Add the asparagus, mushrooms and tomatoes to the skillet. Continue to cook just until the asparagus is crisp tender, the mushrooms are soft and the tomatoes barely cook (3-4 minutes).
4. Off the heat, add the wine, return the skillet to the heat, scraping up any browned portions, cook until it is nearly absorbed. Stir in the precooked chicken and sausage. Cook, stirring, just until warmed through.
5. Just before serving, stir the parmesan, mascarpone and basil into the ragu.
1+ pound favorite pasta, cooked in salted water to al dente
¼ cup purchased basil pesto
1. Toss the cooked pasta with the pesto. Serve on individual plates or a platter topped with a generous serving of ragu. Garnish with more parmesan cheese if desired.