- 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
- 1/2 cup of All-Purpose White Flour
- 2 Tbsp Olive Oil
- 1 1/2 cups Cremini Mushrooms, cleaned and sliced
- 2 large shallots, finely chopped
- 1/2 cup Dry Marsala
- 1 Tbsp dried Porcini Mushrooms, ground
- 1/2 cup Chicken Stock
- 2 Tbsp Unsalted Butter
- 1 bag Trader Joe's Pappardelle Egg Noodles
- Salt and Freshly Cracked Pepper
- Italian Seasoning
- Rosemary Sprigs for granish
*Pour the flour into a shallow bowl and season the chicken on all sides with salt, pepper, and a light dusting of the Italian Seasoning. Place a large saut pan on the stove over medium-high heat. Allow the pan to warm, about 30 seconds, before adding the olive oil. Heat for 30 more seconds. Dredge the chicken in the flour, shake off any excess, and add the chicken breasts to the pan. Cook approximately 6-7 minutes on each side, until lightly golden and barely firm in the center. Use a knife to check that they are a whitish pink at the thickest part. Transfer chicken to a plate and cover to keep warm.
*In the same pan, add the butter and melt over medium heat. Add the mushrooms and cook for 5 minutes, tossing frequently so that they cook evenly. Add the shallot and cook until softened, about 2 additional minutes.
*While the mushroom and shallots are cooking, place a 6-qt saucepan 3/4 full of water on the burner over high heat. Be sure to use cold water and a sprinkle of salt. Bring to a boil. Add the entire bag of noodles, stirring once, and return to a boil. As a rule, check pasta after 4 minutes to gage the cooking progress. Most pastas take about 8-12 minutes to cook al-dente and can overcook in an instant. *It is a myth that all pastas should be rinsed (doing so washes away the starch that helps the sauce stick to the pasta!) however, with wider noodles such as these (lasagna especially) a light rinsing is necessary to keep them from sticking together.*
*Return to your sauce and stir in the dried porcini mushrooms and the marsala; increase the heat to medium-high and bring to a light boil for 30 seconds. Add the chicken stock, stirring well, and return to a boil. Return the chicken to the pan and reduce to a simmer. Coat the chicken in the sauce with a spoon and then cover. Allow to simmer for 2 minutes. Salt and pepper to taste.
*To Serve: Before plating the pasta, toss it with 2 small pats of butter, allowing the butter to melt. Divide the pasta onto your serving plates and top each with one chicken breast. Spoon the sauce over the top and finish with a light sprinkling of freshly grated parmesan cheese, fresh cracked pepper, and a sprig of rosemary for garnish. Pair with a small salad, such as My Feta and Cranberry Salad with a tart balsamic dressing.
Wine Pairings: Since this dish is already cooked with wine, a pairing can prove slightly tricky. It is best to stick with a red to compliment the marsala, but since this is a chicken dish some may choose a white like Chardonnay or a Viognier, a dry white wine that boasts flavors of peach and apricot. I prefer a Merlot or a Pinot Noir; wines with good ripe fruit but not too much tannin are best suited to bring out the flavors of the marsala. For bargain bottled bliss try: San Simeon Merlot, 2003 for $14.99 or Indian Creek, Navarro Vineyards 2008 Pinot Noir from Mendocino, for only $11.00.
Be sure to serve immediately. I will prep the mushrooms, shallots, and chicken ahead of time so that once my guests arrive I can cook this dinner with minimal effort and still have plenty of time for entertaining.
It is a perfect palate pleaser with a sweet simplicity that makes even the most novice host seem like a kitchen god or goddess.