Being an Italimerican (yup, new word alert) is hard. Especially if you’re a foodie. You love both Italian and American food, but you can’t always find the perfect balance of both.
It gets worse when you’re finding ways to navigate the different cultures. Sometimes, you’re like, where do I fit in in all of these?
In Italy, some people think that chicken marsala and pasta together is a disaster. Grandma would say, “Pasta is a primo. Chicken Marsala is a secondo; serve it with a vegetable side.”
But in America, it’s almost like a rule that you can’t have one without the other.
I’m here to tell you that food has no rights or wrongs. It’s all about what you like and what you’re in the mood for, no matter what your cultural background is.
So, if you like it and are in the mood, let’s talk about what pasta goes best with chicken marsala. Shall we?
What Pasta Goes Well With Chicken Marsala
- Handmade Pasta
I saw this dish in a restaurant in Italy and knew I had to have it. Fettuccine with chicken marsala is a classic dish that can be found in any Italian cookbook.
The fettuccine noodles are usually fresh and made from scratch. They are wide, flat noodles that pair well with the chicken marsala sauce. The sauce is usually a bit on the sweeter side, with mushrooms and onions.
You may never recover from the first bite.
Tagliatelle is a long, flat noodle that is similar to fettuccine.
The difference is in the width of the noodle and the way it’s cut. Tagliatelle noodles are cut into strips that are about an inch wide.
The sauce clings to the noodles in a way that is just magical. You’ll be transported to Italy with every bite.
If you’re looking for a heartier dish, then ziti is the way to go. Ziti is a tubular noodle that is wider than penne but not as wide as rigatoni.
The sauce really clings to the ziti noodles and the dish is filling without being too heavy.
I like to add a little bit of freshly grated Parmesan cheese on top. It takes the dish to a whole other level.
And more often than not, ziti is what I end up making. It’s just so darn good.
Orecchiette is a type of pasta that is shaped like a small, ear-shaped disc. It’s a bit on the chewy side but it holds up well to the sauce.
There’s just something about its exciting and unconventional shape that makes it so fun to eat. Its typical shape has a central depression that can hold a small amount of sauce. Touche.
This pasta is from the Puglia region of Italy and it’s made with durum wheat semolina flour.
If you can find it, I highly recommend using it. It really does make a difference.
Ah, spaghetti. The classic Italian noodle. Spaghetti pairs well with just about anything but it’s especially good with chicken marsala.
I used to believe that the only way to eat chicken marsala with pasta is to pair it with only wide, flat noodles. But I was so wrong.
The long, thin noodle is the perfect vessel for the sauce. And there’s just something about twirling spaghetti on your fork that makes you feel like a kid again.
I like to top mine with a little bit of freshly grated Parmesan cheese and some chopped parsley. Simple but perfect.
Macaroni is a short, tubular noodle that is made from durum wheat semolina flour. It’s the same flour that is used to make spaghetti and other types of pasta.
Macaroni pairs well with chicken marsala because it can hold up to the sauce without getting soggy.
These special little elbow noodles are the perfect size for scooping up the sauce, and they have a nice, firm bite.
I like to garnish it with a few shavings of mozzarella cheese. And I tell you, it’s a wonder!
Penne is another type of pasta that’s a short, tubular noodle with diagonally cut ends.
Penne pairs well with chicken marsala, quite alright. But I’m totally mad about how the sauce clings to the ridges of the pasta. For me, it’s in the small things. The little details of it.
The sauce really gets in there, and it’s just so darn good.
So if you’re ready to invoke the gods of sweet deliciousness, then, by all means, make this dish with penne. You won’t regret it.
Farfalle is a type of pasta that is shaped like a bow tie or butterfly and it originates from the Lombardy region of Italy. It’s a fun shape that pairs well with the chicken marsala sauce.
The sauce clings to the pasta in a way that is just irresistible. You’ll be wanting more and more with every bite.
On a lighter note, the bow tie shape of the pasta is said to represent the union of two hearts. Aww, how romantic!
Have I ever told you about bucatini? It’s a type of pasta that is long and thin like spaghetti but it has a small hole running through the center.
Bucatini pairs well with chicken marsala because the sauce can seep into the pasta, infusing it with flavor. And if that doesn’t unite both dishes in some sort of way, so that they complement each other, I don’t know what does.
The dish is hearty and filling but still light enough that you can enjoy it without feeling weighed down.
One time, I recommended this to my grandma, and she tried it after much prodding from me.
I was so excited that she liked it so much, asked for the recipe, and said it was the best thing she’s ever eaten. I was so proud.
Linguine is a long, flat noodle that pairs well with chicken marsala because it can hold up to the sauce without getting soggy.
The dish is also light and elegant, making it the perfect choice for a special occasion.
All of my lazy friends get annoyed whenever I even suggest that it is possible to make pasta by hand.
But it is not that hard, and it tastes much better than the store-bought stuff.
If you’re feeling ambitious, I urge you to try making your own pasta. It’s well worth the effort. And if you’re not feeling ambitious, then just buy some good quality pasta.
The important thing is that you use pasta that pairs well with chicken marsala. And that, my friend, is handmade pasta.
Frequently Asked Questions FAQs
What is traditionally served with chicken marsala?
Mashed potatoes. I guess it’s because Chicken marsala often requires a moisture-rich accompaniment to balance out its sauce. The consistency of the mashed potatoes matches the marsala sauce perfectly.
What goes better with chicken marsala, pasta or rice?
I’m going to have to say pasta on this one. Rice is a great side dish, don’t get me wrong. But it can’t hold a candle to pasta when it comes to chicken marsala. Pasta just has that je ne sais quoi that rice can’t quite compete with.
What vegetable to serve with chicken marsala?
Asparagus, broccoli, or green beans are all great vegetables to serve with chicken marsala. They have a slight bitterness that helps cut through the sauce’s richness.
There, I said it all. Chicken Marsala is best served with pasta that can hold up to the sauce without getting soggy. Some people think that pasta with wider shapes are better because the sauce can cling to them more. But I think that any of the pasta I mentioned would be a great choice, as long as it’s good quality.
My personal favorite is bucatini because I love how the sauce seeps into the pasta and infuses it with flavor.
Yeah, it’s true that many Italians prefer to serve pasta BEFORE chicken marsala, but it’s also true that I’m an Italian American, and I do what I want. So there.
I hope you enjoyed this little lesson on what pasta goes best with chicken marsala. Now go forth and enjoy your feast! Mangia! (That is an Italian way of saying “enjoy your meal,” in case you were wondering.)
Ciao for now! Until next time…with love from an Italian American. ♥️