Change up your chicken dinners by picking up a bottle of Marsala wine—it’s the necessary ingredient in chicken Marsala, a creamy dish featuring chicken breasts and mushrooms in a butter and wine sauce.

It is an easy weeknight dinner, requiring only one large skillet.

First, a note on Marsala wine. It’s a fortified wine; the best ones are made in Sicily, using indigenous grapes and a particular cooking process. It is fortified with brandy and aged. Right now, it is undervalued and you can find a bottle pretty cheap.

The more expensive bottles are aged longer. There are two varieties to be aware of: dry and sweet. Dry Marsala is typically used for savory dishes where it adds a nutty flavor and caramelized color to a sauce for chicken,  turkey, and veal. Sweet Marsala is typically used to make very sweet sauces. You’ll also find it used in Italian desserts such as zabaglione and cannolis.

Chicken Marsala gives simple chicken breasts a rich and delicious finish, served with pasta or rice. I use whatever mushrooms I have on hand. For extra color, I will often sprinkle in some frozen peas along with the chopped fresh parsley.

Chicken Marsala

Serves 2

  • 2 boneless chicken breasts
  • 4 Tbsps. butter
  • 2 Tbsps. olive oil
  • Flour to coat the chicken
  • 4-6 oz. mushrooms
  • 1/2 cup dry Marsala wine
  • 1/2 cup chicken broth
  • Squeeze of fresh lemon
  • 1/2 cup half and half
  • Fresh parsley, chopped
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, grated, optional

In large skillet, melt butter with olive oil to sizzling. Pound out the chicken breasts to an even thickness, about one-half inch. Season with salt and pepper and dredge in flour. Saute in the hot butter/oil mixture. Slice mushrooms and add to skillet with more butter if necessary. Add wine, broth, and lemon juice. Simmer, uncovered for 10 minutes. Stir in half and half and garnish with parsley. Adjust seasoning and add Parmesan if desired. Serve with rice or noodles.

By Lynn Greene

Wisconsin author Lynn Greene has written "Lynn's Place" for numerous publications over the years in Wisconsin. She now shares her insights and recipes here.