With tender chicken breast served in a buttery mushroom and marsala sauce, this delicious entree is alpha-gal friendly. Based on Ina Garten’s classic dish, here’s my version of the Barefoot Contessa chicken Marsala recipe.
The information provided on this site is based on my personal experience living with alpha-gal syndrome. I consistently cite and link to expert sources, but nothing published on this site should be perceived as medical advice.
Alpha-gal sensitivities vary by person. You should understand your dietary restrictions and make any adjustments needed when using this site, directing any questions to your physician.
Perhaps better known as the Barefoot Contessa, Ina Garten makes effortlessly elegant dishes. From her skillet-roasted lemon chicken to her outrageous brownies, her eats are always scrumptious and straightforward. So I was excited to try out Ina’s Barefoot Contessa chicken Marsala recipe.
I’m not sure how the economy is doing where you are, but it seems like each time I go to the grocery store every item costs more than it did the previous week. What I love about this dish is that two chicken breasts feed four people (hooray for thinly pounded chicken cutlets). And to stretch our budget further while still filling my family’s bellies, we doubled the amount of mushrooms and made extra Marsala sauce. Serve it with your favorite starch – like mashed potatoes or buttered noodles – and a side of seasonal vegetables, and you’re all set for a filling meal that’s elegant but easy to make!
Important Note for Alpha Gals
To keep your meal alpha-gal friendly, be sure to select a bottle of Marsala that is not clarified with gelatin. Also, because the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology reports that most people with alpha-gal can tolerate “moderate, lean dairy,” this recipe includes butter. If you are an alpha gal who avoids dairy, please make a dairy-free substitution.
Key Ingredients in Barefoot Contessa Chicken Marsala Recipe
For this Barefoot Contessa chicken Marsala recipe, I prefer boneless, skinless chicken breasts. Because the chicken is pounded thin with a meat mallet before cooking, it’s easy to turn two breasts into a meal for four, and I like the way white meat pairs with the mushrooms and wine. However, you can easily substitute chicken thighs or another cut of chicken. Ultimately, you’ll want 1 to 1-½ pounds of chicken to make this dish.
Sage Advice: Looking for other delicious ways to prepare this popular alpha-gal friendly protein that goes beyond a boring baked chicken breast? Try this delicious paprika chicken and rice bake.
My favorite mushrooms for this dish are baby bellas. Also known as cremini mushrooms, they are Italian brown mushrooms (also known as portabella mushrooms) that have been harvested earlier. I save a few minutes of time by buying pre-sliced mushrooms.
Because I love baby bellas so much, I haven’t experimented with different mushrooms in this dish. However, I think porcini mushrooms, shiitake mushrooms, and a wild mushroom blend would also work well. You can probably make this dish with white button mushrooms, but I don’t think it would be as flavorful.
Related Article: How to Properly Clean Mushrooms
Ranging from dry to sweet, Marsala is a fortified wine made in Sicily. The most commonly used type in cooking is dry or semi-dry Marsala, and I like that variety for this dish because it provides a nutty, caramel-like taste and gives the sauce a rich, amber color. I have also found that it pairs nicely with asparagus, one of my favorite side dishes for this Barefoot Contessa chicken Marsala recipe.
Because some winemakers clarify their product with gelatin, it’s important for people with alpha-gal syndrome to select an alpha-gal safe bottle of Marsala. According to Barnivore, my drinking buddy since I was diagnosed, Lombardo dry Marsala does not contain any animal products and is a safe choice for alpha gals.
If you don’t like Marsala or cannot easily find it near you, here are several Marsala wine substitutes, including non-alcoholic options.
Sage Advice: Looking for a low-carb version of this delicious dish? Be sure to check out this keto chicken marsala recipe as an alternative. Just be sure to make dairy-free substitutions for the butter and heavy whipping cream if you are an alpha gal who is sensitive to milk products.
Tips for Making Ina Garten’s Chicken Marsala Recipe
- When pounding the chicken breasts, I recommend a flat meat mallet. Why? Because meat tenderizers with spikes poke holes in the plastic wrap or parchment paper into which you’ve sandwiched the chicken breast. A flat meat mallet makes it fast and easy to pound the chicken breasts to the desired thickness.
- If you’re an alpha gal who can safely consume dairy, make a truly decadent version of this dish by adding ¼ cup of heavy cream to the sauce when you incorporate the butter.
What to Serve with Chicken Marsala
Chicken Marsala is typically served with a starchy side to soak up the rich sauce and a vegetable because they’re good for you. Here are some of my favorites.
- Buttered noodles
- Mashed potatoes
- Rice pilaf or risotto
- Roasted potatoes
Related Article: Veggie Noodles 101
Whether they’re roasted, sauteed, or steamed, these vegetables make great chicken Marsala sides:
In addition to your favorite starchy side and vegetable, consider serving a simple green salad topped with creamy balsamic dressing and garlic bread to round out this classic Italian-American dish!
Related Article: How to Cook Asparagus Like a Pro
Let’s start with the Marsala. If you don’t use all of the wine while cooking this dish, drinking during the preparation (it sure makes this home chef happy), or serving your delicious meal, it will stay fresh for about a month after it’s opened. To extend its freshness, store it in a cool, dark place like a pantry.
Any leftover chicken Marsala can be stored in the fridge in an airtight container for up to three days. Or freeze it for up to three months.
Chicken Marsala (Inspired by the Barefoot Contessa)
- 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
- freshly ground black pepper
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/2 tsp dried rosemary
- 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- a few sprigs of fresh thyme
- 4 cups sliced mushrooms (I use baby bellas, also known as cremini mushrooms)
- 1 1/4 cup chicken stock or chicken broth (divided)
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 cup Marsala wine (use Barnivore to confirm your choice is alpha-gal friendly)
- 2 tsp cornstarch (optional)
- 2 tbsp butter (substitute with vegan butter, if necessary)
- 1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped
- Place the chicken breasts between two sheets of plastic wrap or pieces of parchment paper on a hard surface. Using a flat meat mallet (preferred) or meat tenderizer,pound them to a 1/4-inch thickness. Cut each breast into two similarly sized pieces so you have a total of four cutlets.
- Season both sides of the flattened chicken breasts with salt and pepper.
- Pour the flour into a shallow bowl or onto a plate. Mix in dried rosemary. Coat the chicken with the seasoned flour, shaking off any excess flour, and set aside.
- Preheat the oven to 200 deg F.
- Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a frlying pan over midiu-high heat.
- Working two at a time,cook each piece of coated chicken for 3 to 5 minutes on each side until fully cooked on the inside and golden brown on the outside, adding the rest of the olive oil between batches. Drain the chicken on a paper towel, then move to a baking sheet lined with aluminum foil and keep warm in the oven.
- Once you've cooked all four pieces of chicken, without cleaning the pan, add the thyme sprigs and sliced mushrooms. Cook over medium heat for about five minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Add the minced garlic and cook until fragrant.
- Add the Marsala wine and remaining 1 cup of chicken stock. Simmer for 2-3 minutes.
- Optional: If you prefer a thicker Marsala sauce, shake 2 tsp of cornstarch or flour in 1/4cup of cold water in a closed container until smooth. (A small Mason jar is perfect for this.) Gradually stir into the pan of Marsala mushrooms until blended.
- Add the butter to the pan and stir until melted. Simmer for 2-3 minutes.
- Remove the chicken pieces from the oven and add them to the pan, spooning the sauce on top. Sprinkle with parsley and serve immediately with your favorite starch (like mashed potatoes, rice, or buttered noodles) and a seasonal vegetable.