Lightened-Up Creamy Chicken Marsala Pasta is a rich and decadent all-in-one pasta dish. Juicy, bite-sized pieces of chicken breast are coated in a sweet mushroom and Marsala wine sauce, then tossed with pasta and made creamy with the addition of some surprise ingredients. This dish is an all-in-one flavor fest, no side dish required.
What you’ll need to make this Creamy Chicken Marsala Pasta
Here’s the ingredient list for this recipe:
- chicken breast
- Marsala wine
- reduced-sodium chicken broth
- kosher salt
- skim milk (you can use any dairy-free alternative)
- reduced fat cream cheese
Cooking with wine
One of the main ingredients of this dish is Marsala wine. It has a very distinct flavor; it’s sweet in taste, and really defines this dish. Don’t judge me, but I use Marsala cooking wine for this recipe. Obviously, buying a nice bottle of Marsala wine at the liquor store would really make for ideal flavor in this dish; but sometimes, it’s just not practical. In New York, the supermarkets don’t sell wine or liquor, but they sell cooking wine. So, when I make this dish, I just buy cooking wine while I am at the supermarket. You can usually find the cooking wine in the aisle where they sell the oils and vinegars. Some people look down upon using cooking wine, but for this dish, I am okay with it. I think it works great, and it’s a more affordable option. For personal reasons, some people might shy away from recipes that require the use of wine. Usually, chicken stock is a great substitute for white wine in recipes. However, for this recipe, Marsala wine can not be substituted for something else. It really is what creates the flavor in this dish, so unfortunately, there is no substitute.
How to make creamy chicken marsala pasta
Prepping the pasta
First, start out by getting a large pot of water to boil for the pasta. For this recipe, I used penne. I think it’s a great shape for this dish, and the little ridges in the pasta hold the sauce really well. You can use any shape you have on hand. Weigh out 8 ounces of pasta using your kitchen scale. Pasta should be weighed uncooked. An uncooked portion of pasta is 2 ounces. So for this recipe, we are using 8 ounces to serve 4 people.
Cooking the chicken
To cook the chicken, start off by cubing it into bite-sized pieces. In a small mixing bowl, combine 2 tablespoons of the flour, along with 1/4 tsp of kosher salt and some fresh cracked pepper. Then, toss the cubed chicken around in the flour to coat. Get your large frying pan preheating over medium high heat, and then add some olive oil spray. Working in batches, sear the chicken for 5 minutes, flipping it every so often to get color on all sides. The chicken is not going to cook through at this point, we are just looking for a golden brown crust and some flavor. It will continue cooking later on in the sauce.
We work in batches here so that the chicken doesn’t overcrowd in the pan; if the chicken is overcrowded, it will end up steaming in the pan, and it will never get that nice color we are looking for. For this recipe, I cook the chicken in two batches. After 5 minutes in the pan, remove the chicken and place it in a bowl to the side. We will then use the pan to build the sauce.
Making the sauce
Once the chicken is browned on all sides and removed from the pan, we can build the pan sauce in the same frying pan. That frying pan is full of flavor from cooking the chicken, so we are going to work with it! Thinly slice the shallots, and mince the garlic in preparation for making the sauce. Add more olive oil spray to the pan, and then add the mushrooms and shallots. Add 1/2 tsp of kosher salt and some fresh cracked pepper, and cook the vegetables for 5 minutes, or until tender.
After 5 minutes, add the wine and broth to the pan, and bring the liquid to a boil. Then, add the cubed chicken to the pan. Cook for 10 minutes. This ensures that the chicken is cooked through.
How to make it creamy
After the chicken has cooked in the sauce for 10 minutes, it will be fully cooked and the sauce will have thickened up a bit. It naturally thickens up as the flour on the outside of the chicken releases into the sauce and makes it thicker. Now, it’s time to make it creamy! Measure out 1/2 cup of milk, and add the remaining tablespoon of flour to it. Whisk it together, and then pour it into the pan. At this point, you can also add the cream cheese. Make sure to whisk everything really well, so that any clumps are broken down, and the creaminess is incorporated evenly.
Putting it all together
After the pasta is cooked, drain it and add it to the pan. Stir everything to combine, and then cook it over a low flame for a few minutes to that the pasta fully absorbs the cream sauce, and so that all the flavors combine. You can add some fresh parsley for garnish, if desired. But it’s not necessary! The serving size for this dish is 2 cups. It’s a great, generous portion!
Creamy Chicken Marsala Pasta
- large deep frying pan
- large pot
- 8 oz pasta, weighed uncooked; I used Penne
- 1.5 lbs chicken breast
- 3 tablespoons flour, divided
- .75 tsp kosher salt, divided
- fresh cracked pepper
- 1 shallot
- 8 oz mushrooms, sliced
- 3 cloves garlic
- 1 cup Marsala wine
- 1 cup reduced-sodium chicken broth
- 1/2 cup skim milk, can sub: almond milk or cashew milk
- 2 tbsp reduced fat cream cheese
- optional: fresh parsley
- Weigh out 8 oz of pasta (uncooked). This is half of a pound, or half of a box.
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil; add salt and then cook pasta according to package directions.
- Cube the raw chicken breast into bite-sized pieces.
- Place 2 tablespoons of flour in a small bowl and add 1/4 tsp kosher salt and fresh cracked pepper.
- Toss the cubed chicken pieces in the flour mixture to coat.
- Place a large frying pan over medium high heat to preheat.
- Add a generous spray of olive oil spray.
- Working in two batches, add half the chicken to the pan and sear on all sides for five minutes total. Do not overcrowd the pan.
- The chicken will not be cooked at this point. We are just looking for a golden brown crust and for the chicken to be partially cooked.
- Once the chicken is done, remove from the pan and set aside in a bowl. Repeat this process with the second half of the chicken.
- Thinly slice the shallot, and mince the garlic.
- After all of the chicken is cooked, add more olive oil spray to the pan.
- Add the mushrooms and shallots, and remaining 1/2 tsp kosher salt and fresh cracked pepper.
- Cook the mushrooms and shallots for 5 minutes.
- Add the minced garlic and cook for 1 additional minute.
- Add the wine and the chicken stock to the pan. Scrape the bottom of the pan using a wooden spoon to remove any browned bits on the bottom of the pan.
- Let the liquid come to a boil.
- Add the partially-cooked chicken back to the pan and cook this mixture for 10 minutes.
- In a measuring cup, combine the milk and the remaining tablespoon of flour and whisk together.
- Pour the milk mixture into the pan with the sauce and chicken.
- Add the 2 tablespoons of cream cheese into the pan.
- Whisk for the milk and cream cheese to combine into the sauce. Add the cooked pasta and toss to coat.
- Cook for another 1-2 minutes or until the pasta absorbs the creamy sauce and all of the flavors combine. Taste for seasoning.
- Garnish with parsley, if desired.
- 11 WW points (green)
- 10 WW points (blue plan)
- 5 WW points (purple plan, if you use whole wheat pasta)