This chicken marsala pasta is the definition of winter-hearty, and weeknight-friendly (dinner in less than 30 minutes!). And don’t we all need more pastas like that in our lives? You can make it with leftover or rotisserie chicken, and aside from that it’s a real pantry staple meal (providing you have Marsala wine, of course!).
Marsala is a fortified wine made from white grapes aged in a cask. Fortified wines are strengthened and stabilized with the addition of another alcohol, such as brandy, which deepens their flavor and also boosts the alcohol content (but as with all boozy beverages, the alcohol burns off in the cooking, just leaving behind the flavor, which enriches whatever dish you’re making).
Marsala can be sweet or dry, and dry is usually used in savory dishes. Its flavor is deep and rich, kind of like port, with hints of caramel and nuttiness and raisins or prunes.
Marsala is the typical wine used in the classic chicken dish, made near Marsala, Italy, but you could also substitute in Madeira, another fortified wine, made in Madeira, Portugal. Madeira also comes in sweet and dry versions. A dry port is also a possible substitution.
Marsala and Madeira last for months and months in a cool dry place, so you don’t have to worry about buying a bottle and then trying to figure out what to do with the rest of it immediately.
Dry marsala is best for cooking savory dishes, including chicken marsala, adding a nutty caramelized rich flavor. Save the sweet marsala for desserts or dishes with a sweetness to them, like meat stewed with fruit.
Marsala wine is fine to drink, though the more pricey ones usually have better flavor—the bottles you will find in a supermarket are definitely intended for cooking only. It’s a sipping wine, usually enjoyed in small portions before or after a meal, or with strong cheese.
Variations and Substitutions
The beauty of this dish is that it’s the perfect thing to turn to when you have some leftover chicken, whether it’s from a simple dish you made (try Slow Cooker Shredded Chicken in this pasta!), or a store-bought rotisserie chicken. And use any mushrooms you want, from sliced button, to something a little more exotic. You can use any short chunky pasta you have on hand.
Parsley gives the dish a little burst of freshness. If possible, don’t skip it. You’ll also want to give the finished dish a final sprinkle of parsley at the end, whether it’s in the bigger serving bowl, or over individual portions.
Chicken Marsala Pasta: The very definition of winter-hearty, and weeknight-friendly. And don’t we all need more pastas like that in our lives?Tweet This
What to Serve with Chicken Marsala Pasta
Make a salad!
- Romaine and Slivered Kale Salad with Lemon Dressing
- Endive, Arugula and Orange Salad
- Autumn Salad with Cranberries and Goat Cheese
- Winter Salad
- Kale Crunch Salad
- Fall Vegetable and Farro Salad
Other Marsala Wine Recipes:
Here are a few nice ways to use up that bottle of marsala:
- Bacon, Sage, and Provolone Chicken Rolls with Marsala Sauce
- Pan Seared Pork Chops with Marsala and Mushroom Cream Sauce
- Creamy Mushrooms with Marsala Crostini
- Chicken Marsala
More 5-Ingredient Pasta Recipes:
- Pasta with Fennel, Bacon and Parmesan
- Campanelle with Chicken, Sausage, Kale and Olives
- Pasta with Creamy Sundried Tomato and Scallion Sauce
- Penne with Zucchini, Tomato, and Feta
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Chicken Marsala Pasta
- Kosher salt to taste
- 1 pound rotelle or another short chunky pasta
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- ½ cup dry marsala wine
- 1 pound cleaned and sliced mushroom you can use any type or combination of mushrooms
- 4 cups diced or slivered or shredded cooked chicken
- ¼ cup chopped fresh parsley plus more to serve if desired
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil over high heat. Salt the water generously, and let it return to a boil. Add the pasta, and cook accordingly to package directions, stirring occasionally. Before you drain the pasta make sure to remove a cup of the cooking water.
- While the pasta is cooking, heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the garlic and sauté for one minute until it starts to turn golden, then add the mushrooms, turn the heat to medium-high and sauté for 8 minutes until they are browned. Add the marsala and chicken and stir, scraping up any brown bits from the bottom of the pan, until the wine reduces by half, about 2 minutes.
- Drain the pasta, adding ½ cup of the reserved cooking water to the pan with the chicken. Return the pasta to the pot, and add the chicken mixture to the pasta, along with the parsley, and toss to combine. Add more of the reserved cooking water if needed to moisten. Serve hot, with the additional parsley if desired.
Marsala WineMarsala is a fortified wine made from white grapes aged in a cask. Fortified wines are strengthened and stabilized with the addition of another alcohol, such as brandy, which deepens their flavor and also boosts the alcohol content (but as with all boozy beverages, the alcohol burns off in the cooking, just leaving behind the flavor, which enriches whatever dish you’re making).
Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.