Sunday, November 28, 2010

A Slightly-Lighter-than-Usual Chicken Marsala

I love chicken marsala. I had my first bite when my mother convinced me to try some at New Years when I was around 12 and I just loved it. I used to order it a lot at Italian restaurants until I realized two things: first, every recipe for chicken marsala is different and second that most recipes pack between 700-1000 calories into their versions. Especially as I was trying to lose weight, this was crazy. So my mom and I took a bunch of versions and synthesized them into a fabulous version which substantially cut down the calories.

However, even in our lighter, fabulous version, there is still some debate. Cream or no cream? A few nights ago we made a version with cream (in which I was the head chef) and later this week, my mom is going to make a cream-less version (in which she is the head chef). I will let you know the results, but for now, this is my recipe.

Chicken Marsala Pasta with Cream (makes 3-4 servings)
  • 9-12oz boneless skinless chicken breast
  • 1/2 tsp ground pepper, white or black (plus some for flavor in sauce)
  • 1/4 tsp salt (plus some for flavor in sauce)
  • 1/4 tsp oregano
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 cup mushrooms, thinly sliced
  • 1 small head garlic, minced
  • 1 shallot, minced
  • 2/3 cup marsala wine, dry (not sweet)
  • 1/3 cup chicken stock
  • 2-3 tbsp heavy whipping cream (optional)
  • Pasta (usually fettucini or angel hair), a serving per person

  1. Place the chicken pieces between wax paper and pound to 1/2-1/4 inch thick.
  2. Mix oregano, salt, pepper, and flour. Drag the chicken through the mixture and shake off excess.
  3. Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in the skillet. Fry the chicken until cooked through and slightly browned on the outside. Do not overcook, should be fork tender. If you need to fry the chicken in batches, that is ok.
  4. Remove chicken from pan and cover with aluminum foil
  5. Add 1tbsp of oil to skillet. Add garlic and saute until soft (do not brown).
  6. Add scallion to skillet. Saute for 1 minute (do not brown)
  7. Add mushrooms and saute for about 5 minutes. Stir the mushrooms during this process.
  8. Pour marsala and chicken broth into skillet and let simmer for a few minutes.
  9. Add cream (optional)
  10. Prepare pasta when necessary, per the directions of the pasta, but I usually put it on as the sauce is reducing.
  11. Let the sauce simmer until reduced by half. Add salt and pepper to taste (this does not require much salt or pepper, but white pepper especially brings out the flavor). Add a mix of water and flour if necessary as a thickening agent (more likely to be necessary if you are not using cream).
  12. Replace chicken into pan and reheat on low. Cover the chicken in the sauce and the mushrooms.
  13. Either place pasta in skillet and stir into sauce, then serve, or put pasta on plates and place chicken on top, pouring excess sauce over the pasta. Enjoy!

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