A classic Italian American dish, Chicken Marsala, is quick and easy to prepare. Served with pasta or mashed potatoes, this delicious meal is sure to please your family and friends.
Chicken Marsala is quick and easy to prepare so there is no need to go to a restaurant to enjoy this popular dish. Your family and friends will be impressed because who can resist a golden brown pan sautéed chicken breast topped with a delicious mushroom wine sauce.
What makes this dish so good is Marsala wine. Marsala, dry with a touch of sweetness, is a fortified wine from Sicily that adds a rich, caramelized and savory flavor to recipes. The alcohol cooks off as it simmers, leaving a wonderful taste that does not overpower the chicken or veal used in this classic recipe. I suggest buying a good bottle of Marsala wine and keeping it in your kitchen pantry. You can use a semi sweet Marsala wine for the sauce but I prefer a dry Marsala in a savory dish like this recipe and I use a sweet Marsala wine in dessert recipes like sabayon or tiramisu.
If Marsala is hard to find in your area, you could substitute another fortified wine such as a dry sherry or Madeira. The sauce will have a similar but slightly different flavor. If you are preparing dinner for a special occasion, instead of making Chicken Marsala, you might want to serve Veal Marsala, it’s prepared the same but using a more expensive ingredient.
Serves two, adjust the recipe according
- 2 chicken cutlets (about 4 oz. each), pounded to a 1/4 inch thickness
- salt and pepper to taste
- flour for dusting (I use Wondra)
- 2 Tbsp. butter plus an additional 3 Tbsp. butter
- 2 Tbsp. olive oil
- 1 shallot, finely chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 8 oz. Cremini mushrooms, sliced
- 3/4 c. Marsala wine
- 1 c. chicken stock (homemade preferred)
- 2 or 3 sprigs of fresh thyme
- 1/4 c. cream (optional for a rich, creamy sauce)*
- 1/8 tsp. truffle oil (optional for added flavor)*
- 2 Tbsp. finely chopped fresh parsley (save a little for garnish)
Pat the chicken dry with paper towel, pound to an even thickness then season each side with salt and pepper. Dust lightly with flour and shake off any excess. In a large sauté pan, heat 2 Tbsp. butter with the olive oil over medium high heat. Add the chicken and sauté briefly, about 3 minutes per side, depending on their thickness, until they are light golden brown. Remove the chicken from the pan and set aside.
Using the same pan, add 1 Tbsp. of butter, the mushrooms and the thyme and season with salt and pepper. Sauté until the mushrooms are golden brown, about 3 or 4 minutes. Add another Tbsp. of butter, the shallot and garlic then sauté for about a minute. Add the Marsala and cook over medium high heat, stirring often, until the wine is reduced by half then add the chicken broth. Simmer until the liquid is reduced by half, about 4 minutes. Remove the thyme stems and stir the remaining Tbsp. of butter into the sauce, taste and adjust the seasoning, if necessary. *If you would like to have a rich, creamy sauce, add 1/4 cup of cream and simmer for another minute. Add the truffle oil*, if using, and the chopped parsley. Return the chicken to the pan along with any accumulated juices and simmer to heat through. Serve, garnished with a little finely chopped parsley.
When I make this recipe for just my husband and I, it is usually served with a simple pasta that I toss with olive oil, butter and finely chopped fresh parsley. The Chicken Marsala is super fast to prepare so if you are going to serve the recipe with pasta like I do, cook and keep the pasta warm before adding your chicken to the marsala sauce.
When I’m making this dish for a dinner party, another pretty way of serving the sautéed chicken topped with the savory mushroom wine sauce is to place the chicken on a bed of sautéed baby spinach. It is not only delicious but adds nice color to the plate. I also serve pasta or mashed potatoes to complete the meal. All you need to add is a good bottle of wine to go along with the meal and your friends will be saying “delizioso“.