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Chicken Marsala with Pasta?

Stupid question here but I am making a Chicken Marsala for some foodie dinner guests tomorrow night and I am not sure about the side.

I know pasta is very traditional with this dish but been unable to decide this question. That is, nice pics always show the chicken and sauce on a clean bead of pasta, but from my experience cooking other Italian dishes, its more authentic and flavorful if you cook the pasta in the sauce for a few minutes.

With tomato sauce this is fine, but with a delicate sauce like Marsala there will be none left to spoon over the chicken or it may not look good.

What do you think?

My foodie friends have talked about cooking the pasta in the sauce trick so they will notice, but sure they are polite enough not to say anything.

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  1. If you're talking about Italian tradition, the pasta and chicken never meet. The pasta is served as a first course with its own sauce, and the meat as a second course. If any sopping up of the meat's sauce is done, it's done with bread. Whatever pictures you have seen were not shot in Italy. Pasta is not a side dish. (It is sometimes finished in the sauce but after being boiled first.)
    You could serve tagliatelle with butter and parmigiano or some other delicate sauce, which wouldn't overpower the Marsala sauce in the next course. And, as long as we're talking tradition, veal would be more traditional than chicken.

    1 Reply
    1. re: mbfant

      Thanks, I forgot, you are correct on all of that from what I know.

      That being said, I was thinking about a local Italian restaurant which is quite popular with the local Italians that dose this. So yes it is Americanized.

      I do want to stick to chicken, (I know veal is traditional) but maybe I will take your suggestion and separate out the courses. That would also solve my sauce problem.

    2. Actually, although I've seen veal or chicken marsala in Italian-American restuarants served over pasta, I wouldn't say it's really traditional. In Italy, you would traditionally start with your primo (soup, risotto, pasta, etc.) then follow with your secondo as a separate course. If you want to serve 2 courses like that, risotto would make a fine first course. If, however, you want a side with the chicken marsala, why not rice or orzo?

      1. I can't claim to be an Italian food expert, but we enjoyed the chicken Marsala I made a couple of weeks ago, with pasta that was simply boiled in salted water. That pasta served as a very nice base for the chicken & sauce. First night it was rotini, second night I made thin spaghetti.

        Vegetables ideas for you -- asparagus or sweet peas or diced mixed. Steamed and finished with a bit of butter & lemon (optional) to not clash with the marsala sauce.

        1. I agree with the OP that the chicken marsala sauce looks beautiful over the pasta and once you start to cut up the chicken, the sauce will be dispersed.
          Perhaps not traditional, but I love presentation. Eat with your eyes first and all that!

          1. I usually serve it with mashed yukon gold potatoes, and another side, such as asparagus or harit coverts (the thin green beans).

            I wouldn't suggest trying to cook the pasta in the sauce only because with the chicken and mushrooms in there already, and the pan will be pretty crowded. The sauce is more like a gravy anyway.

            1 Reply
            1. re: Atomic76

              I made rib-eye Marsala one time with mashed potatoes and the sauce went very well with them.