Pasta Da Vinci, despite its name, is not a traditional Italian dish but rather a Cheesecake Factory menu item given an Italian name that anyone who's ever seen a reproduction of the Mona Lisa is likely to recognize. Unlike the artist, the dish itself is not world-renowned, but it has proven popular amongst Cheesecake Factory patrons. Even if you've never eaten at that chain, it's well worth trying if you find the idea of pasta in a creamy chicken and mushroom sauce appealing.
While many elements of this dish are things you might already have in the fridge, freezer, or pantry — cream, chicken breasts, penne pasta, and parmesan — you may need to go out and buy some Marsala, which is what recipe developer Catherine Brookes uses to flavor the sauce for her copycat Cheesecake Factory Pasta Da Vinci. Marsala, like sherry or port, is a type of fortified wine, so look for it in that section of the liquor store.
The reason Brookes likes to use it in this dish is that she feels it "adds a real depth and slight sweetness to the sauce," although she does say that Madeira can make a good substitute. In fact, the Cheesecake Factory uses the latter type of wine in its version of the dish, so this substitution may result in a pasta sauce that more closely resembles the original.
What Can You Do With The Rest Of The Marsala?
If you do decide to go out and buy Marsala (or Madeira) to make this copycat Cheesecake Factory Pasta Da Vinci, you might find yourself wondering what to do with the rest of the bottle. You may enjoy drinking it on its own — some do — but you might find that it's just a bit too sweet and syrupy for a standalone tipple. You could always try dunking your biscotti in it as the Italians do (well, some of them, at least) or else use it in place of vermouth in cocktails like the Manhattan or Negroni.
The remaining Marsala can always be used in cooking, as well. It's one of the main ingredients in Olive Garden's chicken Marsala, of course, as well as any other chicken Marsala recipe. (Unlike Pasta Da Vinci, this dish is based on a traditional recipe.) Marsala-based sauces can also complement pork, fish, and vegetables. Quite a few Italian desserts are made with Marsala, too, among them: panna cotta, tiramisu, and cannoli shells.
Read the original article on Mashed.