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+ servings

Lightened Up Copycat Carmela's Chicken

Chicken, mushrooms, and delicious caramelized onions cooked up in a wine and cream sauce and served over rigatoni. A lightened up version of the Macaroni Grill favorite.
Course Dinner
Total Time 1 hour 35 minutes
Servings 6
Calories 446kcal
Author Tracy


Caramelized Onions

  • 2 large onions sliced into 3/4-inch half moons
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon sugar


  • 1 pound (about 2 small) boneless skinless chicken breasts pounded thin
  • Salt and pepper

Pasta and Sauce

  • 12 ounces rigatoni pasta
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 8 ounces mushrooms
  • 1 teaspoon basil
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/3 cup sherry or Marsala* plus more for deglazing
  • 1 1/2 cups half and half*
  • 1/4 cup shredded Parmesan cheese plus more for topping
  • Parsley optional, roughly chopped for garnish


Caramelize Onions

  • In a large, heavy-bottom pan, heat butter and oil. Add onions, stirring to coat in the oil and spread evenly over the pan. Cook, stirring every few minutes for 10 minutes.
  • Sprinkle sugar over the top.
  • Continue to cook, stirring and scraping every few minutes for 20 to 40 minutes, until onions are a deep amber color. Set aside.

Cook Your Chicken and Pasta

  • In a medium pot, lightly salt and start your water for noodles. When water begins to boil, add pasta. Cook according to directions on the box, drain and set aside.
  • Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Season chicken with salt and pepper. Spray pan with cooking spray and add chicken. Cook through, 5-8 minutes per side, until an instant-read thermometer reads at least 160°F.
  • Transfer chicken to a cutting board. Deglaze the pan with a little of your wine and and pour back over the chicken. Tent with foil to keep warm and set aside.

Make the Sauce

  • In the same pan, melt butter and add mushrooms. Cook mushrooms until they are just shy of your preferred level of doneness. (For me, about 5 minutes.)
  • Add basil, caramelized onions, salt and pepper and cook for one minute.
  • Add the wine and cook for another minute.
  • Add the half and half and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Simmer for 2-3 minutes until slightly reduced and thickened.
  • While sauce is simmering, cut your chicken into strips or cubes, whatever you prefer.
  • Add Parmesan cheese and chicken to the sauce and stir. Stir in noodles and heat until warmed through.
  • Garnish with parsley, serve, and enjoy.


*Marsala is what the restaurant version uses, but I like sherry equally well and is what I'm more likely to have on hand.
*You can substitute 1 cup milk and 1/2 cup heavy cream for half and half.


Calories: 446kcal