Easy Creamy Chicken Marsala Pasta is an awesome twist on the classic Chicken Marsala. It’s easy enough for weeknight meals but elegant enough to serve at a dinner party. Tender pieces of chicken are cooked to perfection with caramelized onions and mushrooms tossed with pasta in a creamy dreamy Marsala sauce. Who could ask for more?
Why You’ll Love This Recipe
- One-Pot Meal: Once the pasta has been prepared, everything with this dish is cooked in one pot, making cleanup a breeze.
- Easy to Prepare: This recipe is simple and requires minimal effort, making it perfect for busy weeknight dinners or last-minute meals.
- Flavorful Dish: The combination of chicken, Marsala wine, and a creamy sauce creates a delicious and savory dish with a rich depth of flavor. The addition of garlic, onion, and mushrooms further enhances the taste profile.
- Elegant Presentation: Despite its simplicity, this dish has an elegant appearance, making it suitable for special occasions or dinner parties as well as weeknight dinners with the family.
Which Marsala to Use
Before getting into the mechanics of making this dish, I wanted to focus a bit on Marsala.
Marsala is a fortified Italian wine. Fortified means that a distilled spirit, such as brandy, has been added to the wine. Originally, the addition of the distilled spirits was designed to preserve the wine. While modern preservation methods now exist, the fortification process continues because it adds distinctive flavors to the wine.
One can purchase Dry Marsala or Sweet Marsala. The main difference between Dry and Sweet Marsala is the higher sugar content of the latter.
One can also purchase domestic or imported Marsala. I follow Julia Child’s advice of not using any alcohol in a dish that I wouldn’t drink. Consistent with that advice, I would not use domestic Marsala. While it’s much cheaper than imported Marsala, you get what you pay for, at least in my opinion.
Typically Dry Marsala is used in savory dishes such as this Easy Creamy Chicken Marsala Pasta. Sweet Marsala is used in desserts and is often offered as an after-dinner aperitif. In a pinch, you could use Sweet Marsala in savory dishes. However, Sweet Marsala doesn’t provide the same depth of flavor as Dry Marsala.
If you don’t have Marsala, you could use Port, Sherry, or Madeira with the caveat that they should be imported as opposed to domestic.
Ingredients: Here’s What You’ll Need
It may seem like there are a lot of ingredients used in this amazing dish. However, the recipe really does come together quite easily!
- Chicken: For the chicken, I used boneless, skinless chicken breasts that I cut onto bite-sized pieces and cooked in melted unsalted butter.
- Vegetables: To add flavor and depth to the dish, I added onions, mushrooms, and fresh garlic. Depending on what I have on hand, I use either cremini mushrooms or white button mushrooms.
- Marsala: I used imported Dry Marsala in this recipe. I would avoid using domestic Marsala.
- Liquids: In addition to the Dry Marsala, I added chicken broth and heavy cream for the liquids in this recipe.
- Cheeses: I used both shredded Mozzarella cheese and freshly grated Parmesan cheese to add creaminess to this delicious dish.
- Seasonings: The seasonings were simple – Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper. I consistently use Kosher salt in my recipes. However, you could use regular table salt or sea salt.
Steps: Here’s How to Make Easy Creamy Chicken Marsala Pasta:
- I started by cooking the Penne pasta to the al dente stage according to the package directions. Then, I drained the pasta, reserving about ½ cup of the liquid, and set it aside. I reserved the pasta liquid in case I needed additional liquid for the final dish.
- Next, I melted some unsalted butter in a Dutch oven set over medium heat and added the chicken pieces. I sprinkled on some salt and pepper and cooked the chicken until it was no longer pink. This took about 5 minutes. I removed the chicken from the Dutch oven.
Once the chicken was no longer pink, I removed it from the Dutch oven.
- Then, I added the onions and cooked them, stirring occasionally, until they became tender and started to brown lightly. This took about 7 minutes.
- After that, I added the garlic and cooked the garlic until it became fragrant. This took about 30 seconds. While cooking the garlic, I scraped up the browned bits from the bottom of the Dutch oven.
- Next, I added the mushrooms and increased the heat to medium-high. I cooned the mushrooms until the liquid had evaporated. This took about 2 minutes.
- Then, I added the Dry Marsala. After adding the Marsala, I cooked the mixture until the Marsala was reduced by half. This took about 3 minutes. During this time, I stirred the mixture, scraping up the bits from the bottom of the pan.
- I reduced the heat to medium and returned the cooked chicken to the Dutch oven. Then, I added the chicken broth and the heavy cream. I stirred everything together to ensure that the mixture was well-mixed.
Finishing the Easy Creamy Chicken Marsala Pasta
To finish the Easy Creamy Chicken Marsala Pasta, I added the cooked pasta, along with the remaining butter to the chicken/mushroom mixture. I stirred the pasta into the chicken marsala sauce.
Finally, I added some shredded Mozzarella cheese and freshly grated Parmesan cheese. I stirred the pasta mixture until the it was creamy and cheese was ooey-gooey melted.
I thought that the liquid consistency of the dish was perfect, so decided that I didn’t need to add any of the reserved pasta water. Also, when I tasted the pasta, to see if the seasonings needed to be corrected, I thought that it was perfect as is!
I served the Easy Creamy Chicken Marsala Pasta with freshly grated Parmesan cheese and minced chives on top, a side salad, a freshly baked baguette and a chilled Chardonnay.
Talk about good. The chicken was perfectly tender, and the creamy Marsala sauce coating the pasta was amazing. Yum!
Recipe Frequently Asked Questions
I like to use either penne or ziti in this recipe. However, rotini, fettuccine, linguine, or farfalle also work well. Chose a pasta that can hold the sauce well.
Marsala wine is the traditional choice for this dish, but you can use other types of wine, such as dry sherry, dry port or Madeira, as a substitute. Just be aware that the flavor profile may change slightly.
Chicken thighs work well in this recipe and can therefore be substituted for the chicken breasts.
I like to shred my cheese for this recipe. Pre-shredded cheese contains a coating that could negatively impact the creaminess of this dish.
You can cook the chicken and make the sauce in advance. Store them covered in the refrigerator. When ready to serve, cook the pasta, and reheat the chicken and sauce and chicken. Then combine the sauce with the chicken and the pasta, add the cheese and serve.
Leftovers, if any can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3days. Reheat gently on the stovetop or in the microwave, adding a splash of milk or cream if the sauce has thickened too much.
Other Delicious One-Pot Wonders
If you’re looking for additional recipes for one-pot wonders, look no further. Below are some of my favorites.
- Chicken Bacon Ranch Casserole: Chicken Bacon Ranch Casserole is a one-pot wonder combining your favorite ingredients into an amazing dish. This casserole is super easy to put together and can be made ahead of time. Leftovers, if any, are just as yummy.
- Creamy Chicken Broccoli Pasta: Creamy Chicken Broccoli Pasta is an amazing one-pot wonder that’s super easy to make and takes less than 30 minutes to put together. It makes a lot which is great, given that the leftovers are just as yummy!
- Beef Bourguignon: Beef Bourguignon is both hearty and delectable. This famous French dish is a rich, slow-cooked beef stew, where the beef is braised in red wine with onions and carrots until it is fork tender. It’s easy to make and produces wonderful leftovers.
- Easy Cheesy Mexican Rice with Chicken: Easy Cheesy Mexican Rice with Chicken is just in time for Cinco de Mayo. It’s an amazing one-pot meal with an incredible blend of flavors and textures. It makes a lot, so be prepared for yummy leftovers!
- Cheesy Southwestern Chicken Pasta: Cheesy Southwestern Chicken Pasta – the name for this amazing one-dish wonder says it all! Imagine the marriage of succulent chicken in a creamy southwestern sauce with tender pasta topped with ooey gooey cheese. It doesn’t get much better than this.
- Lazy Lasagna: Lazy Lasagna has all of the amazing taste of regular lasagna. However, it uses store-bought, cheese-filled ravioli in place of the typical layering of the lasagna noodles and ricotta cheese mixture. This equates to less time in the kitchen and more time to do other things. As an added bonus, Lazy Lasagna can be put together ahead of time, can be frozen, and makes awesome leftovers.
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Easy Creamy Chicken Marsala Pasta
- 8 ounces (2 cups) dried Penne pasta (See Tip 1)
- 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts cut into 1-inch pieces
- 3 Tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
- ¼ teaspoon Kosher salt
- ⅛ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1 cup minced onion (1 small onion)
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 8 ounces Cremini mushrooms, sliced
- ¾ cup Dry Marsala (See Tip 2)
- ½ cup low sodium chicken broth
- ½ cup heavy cream
- 1 cup (4 ounces) shredded Mozzarella cheese (See Tip 3)
- ½ cup (1 ounce) freshly grated Parmesan cheese, divided
- Minced chives or parsley for garnish (optional)
- Cook Penne pasta to al dente stage according to package directions. Drain, reserving ½ cup of pasta liquid. Set aside.
- Heat 2 tablespoons of unsalted butter in a large Dutch oven over medium heat. Add chicken, salt, and pepper. Cook stirring until chicken is no longer pink, about 3 to 4 minutes. Remove chicken from Dutch oven.
- Add onions to Dutch oven; cook, stirring occasionally, until tender and lightly browned, about 7 minutes.
- Add garlic; cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
- Increase heat to medium-high; add mushrooms. Cook, stirring frequently, until all liquid has evaporated, about 2 minutes.
- Add Marsala; cook, scraping up bottom bits until reduced by half, 2 to 3 minutes.
- Reduce heat to medium; return cooked chicken to Dutch oven. Add chicken broth and cream. Stir to combine.
- Add cooked pasta and the remaining 1 tablespoon of butter. Stir to combine. Cook until bubbly.
- Reserve 2 tablespoons of Parmesan cheese. Add Mozzarella cheese and remaining Parmesan cheese; cook, stirring, until the cheese is melted. If necessary, add some or all of the reserved pasta liquid. Correct the seasonings.
- To serve, sprinkle on reserved 2 tablespoons of Parmesan cheese. If desired, garnish with minced parsley or chives.
- Yield: 6 servings.
Chula’s Expert Tips
- May also use Ziti in place of the Penne.
- For best results use an Italian Marsala as opposed to a California Marsala. Also, use a Dry Marsala as opposed to a Sweet Marsala. You can, however, substitute Madeira, Port, or Sherry for the Marsala.
- It’s best to shred your own Mozzarella. The pre-shredded Mozzarella has a coating that can negatively impact this dish.
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