Chicken Marsala

For the life of me, I cannot imagine why I haven't made this meal in a very long time.  Remember me waxing poetic about chicken-mushrooms-cream?  Yep, this is another variation thereof.  Only the wine has changed.

Do you know Marsala wine?  It's so yummy!  It's an Italian sherry, a tiny bit on the sweet side, with plenty of depth of flavor.  It's a perfect partner to mushrooms and chicken.  You can find a fairly small bottle at your liquor store, it keeps for a long time in the refrigerator, it's fine to sip, and if you want to go crazy some night, you can use it to make a really great Italian dessert custard called Zabaglione.

This dish takes almost no time to make.  In fact, if you pasta isn't nearly cooked and ready to go by the time you're finishing the sauce, you'll be sorry.  Perfect timing is to dump the pasta into the pot to start cooking just when you start the chicken cooking.  10 minutes, start to finish.  Not bad for something that tastes "gourmet" but is really far from it.  Add in a few minutes at the beginning to mince shallots and slice mushrooms, and it's a quick and delicious weeknight meal.

Serve it with a green vegetable if you like, such as green beans or broccoli, and a simple salad.  Sometimes I like bread with a pasta meal, but really - do we need two carbs?

Later in the evening, when you're watching a movie or sitting n the bath or winding down, drink a tiny glass of the Marsala you used in this dish.  It's worth tasting.  If you like, sip a bit while you're cooking.  I'm a firm believer in using wine in cooking that you would actually drink.  Surely you know this by now!

In case you care, our weatherman is saying the nicest things about the next several days.  I'm thinking steaks on the grill for Valentine's dinner.  Here in the North, anything above 30 degrees is grilling weather.

Have a great weekend with your family - cook something special and serve it with love!

Chicken Marsala

1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon butter
4 - 6 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1/4 cup flour
salt and pepper
1 tablespoon butter
2 tablespoons minced shallots (or onion)
8 - 12 ounces sliced mushrooms
1/2 cup dry Marsala wine
a bit of the cooking liquid from the pasta
1/2 cup cream or half-and-half
1 pound fettucine or similar pasta
3 tablespoons chopped fresh Italian flat-leaf parsley

If your chicken breasts are not uniform, pound them to an even thickness using a mallet, between two sheets of wax paper.  I like to cut them into strips because it's easier to serve a small portion to little kids. 

Make sure your big pot of water is boiling for your pasta to cook!  Add the fettuccine to the boiling water during the early part of the chicken cooking.

In a large skillet, heat olive oil and butter over medium high heat.  Put flour on a plate and season with salt and pepper.  Lightly roll the chicken it the flour mixture and add to the hot skillet.  Brown on each side for 3 or 4 minutes, remove to a plate (they will finish cooking later).  Add an additional tablespoon of butter to the pan and add shallots.  Reduce heat to medium low and cook for a few minutes. Add mushrooms, another pinch of salt and pepper, and cook until shallots are soft and mushrooms are tender, about 4 or 5 minutes.

Add Marsala to the pan and increase heat slightly.  Scrape the pan well to loosen all those good brown bits!  Simmer for a minute.  Add the chicken back to the pan, turning it to coat in the sauce.  Simmer for a few minutes, adding a half cup or so of the pasta water, plus the cream or half and half.  Turn the chicken again and the sauce is done.  Taste and add salt and pepper if needed.

Drain the pasta, pour it into a large pasta bowl.  Pour the chicken and sauce on top and sprinkle with the parsley.

(Using 5 chicken breasts cut into strips and 1 - 1/2 pounds of pasta, this served my family of 8)

JillMain Dishes3 Comments