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