Swap Cream With Mascarpone For A Cheesy Way To Thicken Marsala Sauce

Marsala sauce is a delicious trifecta of sweet, savory, and creamy; marsala wine reduces to a sweet wine syrup that pairs with earthy, savory aromatics and mushrooms, finished with a hearty splash of heavy cream. While the mushrooms and cream provide ample texture to marsala sauce, you can upgrade the richness of texture and flavor by swapping cream with mascarpone.

Mascarpone is a decadent Italian cheese known for its ultra-creamy texture and delicately cheesy finish, making it a favorite ingredient for numerous dishes. Italians use it instead of Greek yogurt or cream cheese to spread over bread or eat with a drizzle of honey and berries for a hearty breakfast. But its use in savory dishes is equally pertinent; its inimitable melt-in-your-mouth richness will launch your marsala sauce to new heights.

Marsala sauce traditionally calls for a spoonful of flour to act as a thickening agent, but mascarpone is thick enough to preclude the need for flour. It's thus a great option if you're looking for a gluten-free marsala sauce.

Mascarpone acts as both a thickening and flavoring agent for marsala sauce as its significantly higher fat content provides a thicker, velvetier mouthfeel than heavy cream and a richer flavor. Pairing it with mushrooms enhances mascarpone's cheesiness, which adds to the sauce's savory, umami flavor profile. That hint of cheesiness also complements the sweetness of marsala wine. After all, is there a better pairing than wine and cheese?

Using mascarpone in marsala sauce

You can use mascarpone interchangeably with heavy cream in a marsala sauce recipe, so it's an easy swap that requires no alterations. If your recipe calls for a half-cup of heavy cream, then you'll use a half-cup of mascarpone.

In some marsala recipes, heavy cream is the last ingredient to stir into the sauce, and in others, you add it at the same time as the broth and wine. Likewise, you can add the mascarpone at the end of the recipe or reduce it with the marsala wine and vegetable or meat stock. Either way, it'll melt into the marsala sauce, instilling a nuttier, umami flavor along with a fuller and silkier texture.

The flavor and texture boost hold up to hearty meats and poultry while complementing their savoriness, but you can also make it the star of the show by placing it atop pasta, potatoes, or polenta. If you really wanted to maximize the use of mascarpone, you could serve a chicken marsala main course alongside a mascarpone-infused risotto. Why stop there? A mascarpone-forward tiramisu is the perfect dessert to complete an authentic Italian multi-course experience.