Do you remember the first time you tasted a certain meal?
Personally, I feel that our first memories associated with certain ingredients or meals are some of the most cherished.
Food, after all, is something that everyone needs to live, so it unites us all, in a way.
That’s why I like to think back to the first time I tried a particular dish, to the people who were there, and to the memories we made.
It’s like baking cookies at Christmastime or making macaroni and cheese as a kid. You make those memories and they are ones that you hold fondly in your heart.
Or maybe that’s just the sappy part of me… Does anyone else out there relate?
Let’s talk about this particular recipe. Chicken Marsala is a classic Italian dish that I’m sure you’ve heard of, if not tasted, if you’ve ever been to a traditional Italian restaurant.
I happened to be lucky with my first experience with this dish. I tried chicken Marsala for the first time in Italy, on the terrace of a small restaurant.
We were celebrating my twenty-first birthday, and someone at the table had ordered it. Up until that point, I’d always been wary of the dish because I was not a fan of eating mushrooms.
Wow, did my entire world view on mushrooms change once I tasted a bite of this dish! It was warm and bold, while being comforting and smooth in flavor. Every mouthful was like a dream, and it was at that moment that I started to change my mind about mushrooms.
I am sure you can tell by now that this is not just any old mushroom dish. The mushrooms are cooked until they are supple and soft, and browned to make them full of rich and intense flavor.
When you pair these with the Marsala wine and some chicken stock, the flavor of the sauce becomes layered and builds in intensity.
This is what makes it perfect for pouring over thinly sliced pieces of chicken that have been cooked until golden brown. The outside is lightly dredged in flour so it has a slight crispness and crunch to it.
You can serve this dish with a variety of sides (I’ll describe a few favorites at the end of this article – keep reading!) and it makes for such an easy meal.
The whole dish comes together in an hour, which might seem like a lot of time for a weeknight meal. However, when it comes to the level of flavor that you’re able develop with just a few ingredients, putting in an hour of work to make the meal is oh-so-worth it.
You need time for those mushrooms to cook and for the sauce to come together, because it truly is the star of the show.
This also makes a very special meal to serve up for a simple weeknight dinner party, or a birthday celebration. The recipe serves four people, but it can easily be scaled up for additional guests as needed.
People will think you slaved over the stove all day! You don’t need to tell them that really, it only took an hour.Print
Your weekly dinner rotation needs to include the best Easy Weeknight Chicken Marsala recipe. This elegant meal is surprisingly easy to make.
- 2 Tbsp + 1 tsp extra virgin olive oil
- 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 4-5 lbs)
- 1 cup all purpose flour (or cornstarch for gluten-free)
- ½ teaspoon salt, plus more to taste
- ½ tsp freshly ground black pepper, plus more to taste
- 12 oz button mushrooms, sliced
- 1/2 cup dry Marsala wine
- 1 cup low-sodium or homemade chicken stock
- 1 Tbsp unsalted butter (or dairy-free margarine)
- 2 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley
- Trim the fat off the chicken breasts. Slice in half as though butterflying them, but cut all the way through to separate each breast into two thin pieces. Place the halves between two large pieces of plastic wrap, and pound so they are thin and even.
- Sprinkle with salt and pepper on both sides, to taste. Let sit at room temperature for 10-20 minutes.
- Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.
- Combine flour or cornstarch with 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon black pepper. Dredge each chicken piece lightly on both sides and gently shake off the excess.
- Place chicken into skillet and cook about 4 minutes on each side, or until cooked through and lightly browned. Remove from pan and place on a serving platter.
- Turn the heat down to medium and add 1 teaspoon olive oil. Once the oil is hot, add the mushrooms. Cook until browned and the moisture has evaporated, flipping occasionally, about 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Pour in the Marsala and bring to a boil, using a wooden spoon to scrape up any bits of fond on the bottom of the pan. Continue to cook until reduced slightly, about 2-3 minutes. Add chicken stock and bring to a simmer. Stir, and cook until the sauce is reduced by half, about 5 minutes.
- Remove from heat, stir in the butter, and season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Pour sauce over the chicken and sprinkle with parsley.
- Serve over mashed potatoes or pasta with plenty of sauce.
Keywords: chicken marsala, marsala wine, mushrooms, entree
Cooking By the Numbers…
Step 1 – Prep, Chop, and Measure
Trim the fat off the chicken and slice the breasts in half to create two thin pieces.
Place the chicken breast halves between plastic wrap and pound thinly, so they are even. You can use a meat tenderizer for this, or even a rolling pin.
Season with salt and pepper on both sides of each piece, then set aside let sit at room temperature for 10-20 minutes.
Wash the mushrooms, remove the stems, and slice them.
Remove the stems and chop the parsley until you have a total of 2 tablespoons.
Measure all remaining ingredients as listed on the ingredients list. Make sure you are using dry Marsala rather than sweet for this recipe, since it’s a nice complement to savory dishes.
Step 2 – Cook
When you’re ready to cook, heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.
Stir together your flour or cornstarch with 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper in a shallow bowl, or use a small bowl and then transfer it to a plate.
Dredge each piece of chicken lightly on both sides.
When the oil is hot, add chicken and cook for 4 minutes on each side. The meat should be cooked through and lightly browned.
Remove the chicken from the pan and transfer it to a serving platter.
Cover with aluminum foil to keep it warm.
Step 3 – Make Sauce and Serve
Reduce the heat to medium and add 1 teaspoon of olive oil. Add the mushrooms and season them with salt and pepper. Saute, stirring occasionally, until they are browned and the moisture has evaporated. This will take about 5 minutes.
Pour in the Marsala to deglaze the pan, and bring it to a boil. Use a wooden spoon to scrape up any bits of flavorful fond from the bottom of the pan. Cook until the wine has reduced slightly, about 2-3 minutes.
Pour in the chicken stock and bring the mixture back to a simmer. Let the sauce reduce by half, continuing to cook for about 5 minutes.
Remove from the heat, and stir in the butter to enrich the sauce. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Pour the sauce over the cooked chicken. Sprinkle with parsley, and serve immediately with mashed potatoes or pasta.
What Sides Make the Perfect Pairing with This Dish?
I recommend serving chicken Marsala with your favorite kind of pasta, or roasted potatoes. Penne is my personal favorite, but you can also use spaghetti, linguine, angel hair, or any other type that you prefer.
If you are looking for more weeknight dinners to whip up this week, look no further than these delicious recipes:
- Pasta with Pumpkin Sage Cream Sauce
- Balsamic Turkey Meatloaf
- Chicken Cutlets with Tomatoes
- Roasted Lemon Sage Garlic Chicken
What will you serve this dish alongside? Will you pull out the recipe on a busy weeknight, or save it for a special occasion? Tell us in the comments below, and be sure to come back to rate the recipe once you’ve tried it!
Photos by Meghan Yager, © Ask the Experts, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. See our TOS for more details. Originally published on October 14, 2012. Last updated: February 6, 2019 at 16:58 pm. With additional writing and editing by Allison Sidhu.
Nutritional information derived from a database of known generic and branded foods and ingredients and was not compiled by a registered dietitian or submitted for lab testing. It should be viewed as an approximation.
About Meghan Yager
Meghan Yager is a food addict turned food and travel writer with a love for creating uncomplicated, gourmet recipes and devouring anything the world serves up. As the author of the food and travel blog Cake 'n Knife, Meghan focuses on unique foodie experiences from around the world to right at home in your own kitchen.