Holiday dish: Chicken Marsala

December 3, 2007 12:00:00 AM PST
Make a chicken Marsala they'll love! A delicious dish you'll want to keep in your recipe file.

Chef Don Dial, owner of Rocco's Cafe in San Francisco, shared a recipe for Chicken Marsala.

Rocco's Famous Chicken Marsala
from Rocco's Café, South of Market, San Francisco

Three 4-oz. boneless skinless chicken breasts
1 cup Italian breadcrumbs
½ cup virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon of minced garlic
2 cups fresh sliced mushrooms
½ cup fresh chopped tomatoes
1 tablespoon fresh chopped basil
½ cup of Marsala wine
¼ cup of half & half
¼ cup of marinara sauce
½ cup chicken broth
Pinch of Pepper


  1. In a medium sauté pan, heat the olive oil on medium high
  2. Place breaded chicken breasts in pan and sauté until lightly browned on each side
  3. Drain the oil from the pan
  4. Add the minced garlic to the hot pan, NOT on the chicken breasts
  5. Add mushrooms, tomatoes, basil and Marsala wine
  6. Add half & half, marinara sauce, and Chicken Broth and cook on high heat
  7. Add pepper and continue cooking on high heat until liquid reduces into a thick, golden brown sauce
  8. Remove the chicken breasts from the pan and place on center of plate
  9. Pour the sauce directly from the pan onto the chicken breasts and serve

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About Don Dial, Chef/Owner of Rocco's Café, South of Market
Don Dial grew up with Italian cooking in his blood. His mother was a typical Italian mom, always cooking or baking something from scratch, and both his grandfather and uncle ran successful Italian restaurants in San Francisco spanning over five decades. As a young boy, Don would spend many hours helping his mother by rolling dough into little pillow shapes to make fresh Gnocchi pasta, picking fresh blackberries for blackberry pie, or canning peaches, pears and apples for winter.

By the age of 18, Don was ready to put this valuable experience to use and entered the restaurant business as a line cook for a very popular Italian restaurant in North Beach, quickly advancing to night manager. By this time, Don knew that some day he would own his own Italian restaurant in San Francisco.

Rocco's Cafe is named after Don's grandfather, Rocco Coscarelli, who ran Rocco's Fine Food restaurant for more than 20 years; the key ingredients were quality, quantity, and personality. This old-school Italian recipe for success was passed down to Don, who 17 years ago opened Rocco's Cafe in his honor.

Today, Rocco's enjoys a loyal following of regular customers who keep coming back to this South of Market Neighborhood Institution. With Don as Chef everything is special and each dish is an original cooked with individual attention.