Ready in 30 minutes, this Chicken Scallopini has thin tender chicken cutlets smothered in a creamy mushroom wine reduction sauce with capers and thyme. Served over fettuccine, it’s perfect for a delicious weeknight dinner or romantic date night!
This recipe was originally published on January 5, 2014, and was republished in May 2020 to add better quality photos, re-test the recipe, and add more helpful tips.
If you haven’t yet learned about my love of chicken and pasta, well you are about to. And cheese and cream and wine. All these things together make for some of the most delicious meals – and the ones that get prepared the most frequently in my house.
Scallopini is tasty way of preparing meat. Veal, pork, or of course my favorite, chicken. You beat it until it is flat and tender, lightly drench it in flour, and pan fry it. It then becomes the perfect base for all kinds of sauces. Capers and lemons are really common ingredients used in these sauces. So are cream and wine. Who am I to deny such a delicious combination?
Here the mushroom sauce is rich, but delicate in flavor. Thyme goes amazingly with chicken and cream. It is subtle, so don’t overwhelm it with garlic, but makes such a difference. And of course, wine brings all kinds of extra flavors to the mix. Plus, the lemon juice and capers lighten the cream and white wine-based sauce, giving this dish an almost refreshing flavor.
Why you need to flatten the chicken
The great thing about flattening the chicken is how much faster it cooks. You can have this chicken scallopini on the table from start to finish in less than 30 minutes. Maybe even 20 minutes if you time it exactly right.
Flattening chicken also tenderizes it. As you crush the meat flat (it sounds unappetizing when you say it like that, doesn’t it?), you are separating the fibers in the meat. This makes it delicate and so easy to cut through. You might not even need a knife.
Using wine and lemon juice in a cream sauce
You need to make sure you cook the wine and lemon juice before adding the cream. Adding them to the sauce first cooks off the acid and alcohol, both of which can curdle cream. By heating them first, all you have left is the flavor to enhance and brighten the creamy dish without changing the texture.
I often use this to create creamy, flavorful pastas. You can also adjust the thickness of the sauce with cornstarch or flour. A good example of using cornstarch in the garlic chicken pasta, where the herb flavors come from garlic and bay leaf.
Chicken and pasta
I have to say, chicken, pasta, and cream is probably one of my favorite combinations. And if you look at the recipe archives, you can certainly tell that. Pastas are a great base for quick, weeknight meals. And my family really likes a meat-based protein source. My favorite choice for that is chicken – possibly almost as much as I like salmon.
But let’s just look at how such similar ingredients can be used in so many different ways. You can keep the same ingredients around and always have something new for dinner! Perfect for busy people who like tasty food. Here are some of my favorites that take 40 minutes or less:
Chicken and Shrimp Alfredo – This one is very popular in my house. My husband loves it, I love it, and the children love the parts of it they have tried. Just a hint of paprika spices up the cream sauce for something truly unique.
Chicken Carbonara – It’s hard to go wrong with a classic like carbonara. I’ve added chicken and peas and made the sauce a little saucier, and it is so delicious.
Chicken Spaghetti with Parmesan Lemon Cream Sauce – This is probably my favorite for weeknights. Ready in just 25 minutes! Lots of lemon, lots of cheese, what’s not to love? Just remember to cook off that lemon acid before adding the cream!
Chicken Scallopini with Mushroom Cream Sauce
- 2 skinless boneless chicken breasts
- salt and pepper , to taste
- 1/3 cup all-purpose flour , for dredging
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- 2 tbsp butter , divided
- 2 cloves garlic , sliced
- 6 button mushrooms , sliced
- 1/3 cup dry white wine
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- 1 tbsp fresh thyme leaves
- 1 tbsp drained capers
- 2/3 cup heavy cream
- 1/2 tbsp all-purpose flour
- Slice each chicken breast in half lengthwise to get 4 thin cutlets.
- Place each cutlet between two sheets of parchment paper or plastic wrap and lightly pound to an even thickness. Season both sides with salt and pepper.
- Spread the flour on a plate and dredge the chicken pieces in it, lightly coating both sides. Shake off any excess flour.
- In a large skillet over medium heat, heat 3 tablespoons olive oil. Add the chicken pieces (work in batches if necessary) and cook 4-5 minutes on the first side, or until golden brown. Flip and cook another 4-5 minutes, or until cooked through. Transfer the chicken to a plate and cover with aluminum foil to keep warm.
- Return the empty skillet to the stove, add 1 tablespoon butter and heat it over medium heat. Add sliced garlic and cook for 20 secs. Add sliced mushrooms and saute, stirring frequently, for about 2 to 3 minutes.
- Pour in dry white wine and lemon juice. Cook for 1 minute, stirring constantly, until the sauce reduces slightly. Add thyme leaves, drained capers and stir. Pour in the heavy cream and cook for another minute.
- Meanwhile in a small bowl, mix 1 tablespoon of melted butter and 1/2 tablespoon flour. Add this butter mixture to the mushroom mixture and whisk quickly. Bring to a simmer, stirring constantly. Add salt and pepper to taste. When the mixture thickens turn off heat.
- Return the cooked chicken cutlets to the skillet, cover with the sauce, and serve over pasta or rice.