Chicken Marsala Pasta


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

Chicken, Artichokes and Mushrooms

I’ve recently discovered that I really like artichokes. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve always been a fan of spinach and artichoke dip, but that’s so cheesy and creamy that it would be hard not to be a fan. A few months ago I had a delicious pasta that had artichokes in it and I could actually pick out and appreciate the flavor of the artichokes. Then, just before he left for China, Jesse ordered an artichoke appetizer and I loved it. Finally I decided it was time for me to try using artichokes in my own kitchen. I searched online and when I saw this recipe on Annie’s Eats I was inspired. I used the recipe on her blog as a base and adjusted the sauce because I was envisioning a dijon cream sauce that I could serve over egg noodles. The end result was rich, nutty, slightly tangy and overall delicious. I can’t wait for Jesse to come home so I can make it for him!

Chicken, Artichokes, and Mushrooms in a Dijon Cream Sauce
(Adapted from Annie’s Eats)

1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp oregano
1/2 tsp basil
1/4 tsp rosemary (basically a small pinch, it’s hard to measure rosemary)
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
2 chicken breasts, cut into bite size chunks
2 tbsp. olive oil
1 tbsp. butter
2 cups sliced baby bella mushrooms
1 (14 oz.) can quartered artichoke hearts, drained (in water, not oil)
1/2 cup dry white wine
1/2 cup chicken broth
1 Tbsp dijon mustard
1/2 cup half and half
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
Minced fresh parsley, for serving (or dry if you don’t have fresh on hand)

In a shallow dish, combine the flour, dried herbs, salt and pepper and stir with a fork to blend. Reserve 1 tablespoon of the flour mixture. Place the chicken pieces in the flour mixture and toss until they are evenly coated.

Heat the olive oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Add the chicken to the pan and cook until golden brown and cooked through, about 4-5 minutes per side. Remove the chicken to a plate; cover and keep warm.

Add the butter to the pan and warm until melted. Add the mushrooms and artichokes to the pan and cook until most of the liquid is released from the mushrooms and the vegetables are tender, about 5 minutes.

In a large liquid measuring cup, combine the white wine, chicken broth, dijon mustard and reserved tablespoon of flour; whisk until smooth. Add the mixture to the skillet, cooking until it is warm and slightly thickened, then stir in the half&half and Parmesan cheese. Return the chicken to the pan to warm through and cover with sauce. Serve the chicken and sauce over egg noodles and garnish with parsley.