Chicken Marsala

When I was in my very early 20′s, I worked in a fancy Italian restaurant whenever I was on break from college. It was a fantastic, lucrative summer job and, as a perk, I got to eat some pretty phenomenal food. One of my very favorite dishes on the menu was their Chicken Marsala. Now perhaps you’ve had the kind of Chicken Marsala I most often see- a chicken breast floating in a brown gravy-looking sauce with a few mushrooms tossed in. And, hey, if that works for you, then great. That’s not what this was… this was a dish that included tender, bite-size pieces of chicken, tons of fresh mushrooms, all tossed in a wine-rich, intensely flavorful sauce. Not as a thick as a gravy, but thick enough to top a pasta. Ohhhh… yum. Of course, people also had to shell out $17.99 for the privilege of eating that delicious Marsala.

I searched a whole lot of recipes before finally stumbling upon one on the back of the Holland House cooking wine bottle that seemed like it might approximate that dish. I still tweaked it and adjusted things, but I had a starting point. After more than eight years of adaptations, I can say I am completely satisfied with this recipe:

Chicken Marsala

Ingredients:

  • 3-4 boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut in strips or bite-sized pieces (strips are prettier, little pieces are easier for little children!)
  • 2 Tbsp flour
  • 4 Tbsp butter
  • 2 cups asst. mushrooms, sliced (I like a combination of button and baby bella)
  • 3/4 cup marsala cooking wine OR 3/4 cup marsala wine + 1/4 tsp salt (Cooking wine has salt added already; I actually prefer to use drinking wine and add the salt myself because I think it has better flavor. You can find Marsala in with the dessert wines, usually, or in with the Italian wines)
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 2 Tbsp parsley
  • 1/4 tsp rosemary or poultry seasoning
  • 1 lb. pasta

Directions:

Melt 1 Tbsp. butter in large skillet over medium heat. Saute mushrooms until browned, about 8-10 minutes. Remove and set aside. Melt another 1 Tbsp. butter. Meanwhile, cook pasta according to package directions. Add chicken to skillet and cook through. Remove. Melt remaining 2 Tbsp butter and add flour. Stir constantly with wooden spoon or small whisk until the flour and butter are incorporated and lightly browned, about one minute. Stir in wine, water, parsley, and rosemary. Bring to a quick boil, then immediatly reduce heat. Sauce will thicken as it simmers. Add mushrooms and chicken to sauce and warm through, about 2-3 minutes. Serve over pasta. (We prefer linguine or angelhair.)

Enjoy!

Serves: 4 hungry people


(Image from Harry’s Fresh because, well, mine was scarfed down too quickly!!!)

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For more Recipes for Your Sweetheart, be sure to visit Life as MOM, where Jessica is hosting a special Valentine’s swap as part of our Valentine’s Exchange of Inspiration and Ideas! Be sure to stop by and see Amy tomorrow for a holiday Finer Things Friday too!

For the complete schedule, go here.

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