La Vera Cucina

Pollo Marsala

Named for the western Sicilian port town where it originated, Marsala wine gets its distinctive flavor from its multi cask aging system which blends and fortifies vintages from multiple years. Stabilized by its high alcohol content, Marsala became one of the first Italian wines to survive seagoing export to Northern Europe and Britain in the late 1700s.

After years of cooking in others’ kitchens, Chef Al Jaffer opened Venice Apizza in Wallingford, CT. Here, Al shares his signature recipe for Pollo Marsala, which further richens the traditional wine sauce with demi glace!


  • 6 to 8 medium carrots, cut into 2 inch lengths
  • 6 to 8 medium stalks celery, cut into 2 inch lengths
  • 3 large onions, quartered
  • 2 cups dry white wine
  • 1 can (32 oz.) demi glace powder
  • 375 ml Marsala wine
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • 6 ounce boneless, skinless chicken breast, pounded
  • ½ inch thick
  • Flour
  • 3/4 cup thinly sliced mushrooms
  • Hot, cooked linguine


Place carrots, celery, and onions in large shallow roasting pan; pour white wine on bottom of pan. Broil at 375°F (low) until vegetables begin to brown, stirring occasionally. While vegetables cook, bring 2 gallons of water to a boil over high heat. Transfer browned vegetables into water; simmer 5 minutes. Whisk demi glace powder into 2 cups of water to make a paste; slowly whisk into hot broth. Stir in Marsala wine. Simmer over low heat 15 to 20 minutes, stirring occasionally, or until reduced slightly and thickened.

Heat olive oil in medium skillet over medium high heat. Dredge chicken breast in flour; cook in hot oil, turning once, 3 to 4 minutes per side, until cooked through. Strain Marsala sauce; add scant 1 cup sauce to chicken. Add mushrooms and cook briefly until sauce is bubbling. Serve chicken and sauce on bed of hot linguine.

Makes 1 serving (with enough sauce for 18 to 20 servings).