Chicken Marsala Pasta


So guess what – Jesse got to come home from China early! Actually, he flew home the same day I was flying to SanFran for the festival (go figure!). He has to go back again soon, but he’s home now and that means that right now all is good. Especially because I’ve been in such a funk when it comes to making real meals. Not that I didn’t eat while he was gone, but let’s be honest – nobody wants to see a post about plain grilled cheese or carryout Chipotle or the ingredients I bought but never got around to using.

Like last week, when he was still gone, I bought 2 portabello mushrooms and never got to them. They were working their way into the “use it or lose it” phase so I whipped up a pasta dish. The variation on classic Chicken Marsala was just what I needed to pull me out of my rut. The smell of chicken browning in butter, then onions caramelizing, and of course the distinct Marsala flavor, mmmm. And bonus points for me for lightening it up a little!

Chicken Marsala Pasta

2 boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite size chunks and seasoned with salt and pepper
4 Tbsp butter
1 Tbsp olive oil
10-12 ounces mushrooms, cut into chunks (I used portabello because that’s what I had)
1 small onion, sliced into thin 1-inch pieces
3 cloves garlic, minced
3/4 cup Marsala cooking wine
1 12-ounce can evaporated milk
1 pound penne pasta
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese plus more for serving
1/4 cup shredded mozzarella or provolone cheese
salt and pepper to taste
chopped fresh parsley, for garnish

Bring a pot of water to a boil and cook the pasta until al dente, drain and reserve some of the cooking liquid.

In a large stock pot or dutch oven over medium-high heat, melt 2 tablespoons of butter with 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Add the seasoned chicken pieces and brown and cook through. Remove the chicken from the pot and set aside.

Melt the other 2 tablespoons of butter and add the onions to the pot, cook for 3 minutes stirring occasionally. After 3 minutes, stir in the garlic and continue to cook for another 3 minutes. Add the mushrooms and cook for another 2 minutes. The onions should be starting to get a little color by now.

Slowly pour half of the Marsala wine into the pot and scrape up any bits stuck to the pan. Cook until most of the liquid has evaporated, then add the rest of the wine. Reduce the heat to medium-low and slowly stir in the evaporated milk. Add the cheese stirring constantly. Cook the sauce for several minutes until it starts to thicken, then add the pasta and chicken. Stir to coat the pasta. If it needs extra liquid add a few tablespoons of the reserved pasta liquid until you get the consistency you’re looking for.

Garnish with additional Parmesan and fresh parsley and serve immediately.

Adapted from Cooks Illustrated via What’s Cookin Chicago

This Post Has 13 Comments

  1. Krystal

    >Yeah for Jesse coming home!! A nice reunion was in order right? This is one of my fave dishes to make, I bet it was a great dinner together. 😉

  2. katie

    >Could you use cream instead of the evaporated milk? So I can ruin you lightening it up =)

  3. Jessica

    >@Katie – Absolutely! That's what the original recipe called for! Feel free to fatten it right back up, I only lightened it up a bit so I could have an obscenely large serving 🙂

  4. Jessy

    >This sounds delicious! I remember bookmarking it on Joelens blog. Hmmm…. (ps. LOL at obscenely large serving!) Thats my girl! 🙂

  5. Jesica @ Pencil Kitchen

    >I would love a post of grilled cheese :p

  6. Christina @ This Woman Cooks!

    >I love these kinds of dinners. Pasta, chicken, mushrooms…so good, so delicious. Great photo!

  7. Joanne

    >It was so great meeting you at the festival! And I'm so glad your boy is back home, even if only for a little bit. 🙂

    What a delicious dish! Marsala is totally a comfort food for me. I love how you've combined it into a pasta!

  8. Laura (Blogging Over Thyme)

    >Great idea. Love richer pastas and chicken marsala is one of my favorite dishes/flavor combinations.

    Thanks for the recipe!

  9. Nicole, RD

    >This looks sooooooooo good! Enjoy YO MAN 🙂

  10. Krista {Budget Gourmet Mom}

    >I love a comforting dish like this during the cold fall/winter months. Great use of an ingredient that wasn't gonna make it much longer!

  11. Anonymous

    >Made this last night and it was a hit! At first I was worried abouy using evaporated milk and that the sauce wouldn't thicken, but be patient, it will! Even my 5 and 8 year olds cleaned their plates 🙂

  12. Anonymous

    >Love Marsala and this is too easy to pass up, thank you for posting a lighter version.

  13. Anonymous


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