Way back when, the only way you would’ve found out about a
regional recipe like Chicken Riggies, would have been to eat it while traveling
through Central New York.
You would’ve loved it (because there’s nothing not to
love) and maybe even tried to recreate it when you got home, but more likely it
would have ended up fading into nothing more than a pleasant memory;
referred to as “that rigatoni we had in Utica.”
I’m sure you’ll plan a trip through the lovely Utica/Rome
area of New York State eventually, but in the meantime, I offer up my take on
this thoroughly enjoyable plate of pasta. I think it’s fairly authentic, with
two notable exceptions. I use Marsala instead of the standard white wine, and
use roughly chopped thigh meat, instead of the more popular chicken breasts.
This results in a sauce that seems much richer than it
actually is, and I think you’ll love the subtle sweetness the wine imparts,
which works wonderfully with the heat from the peppers. Of course, as I joke
about in the video, forget how tasty the recipe is…it’s worth making just for
the name alone. What’s for dinner? Chicken Riggies! Riggies? Yes, Riggies!
Anyway, if you’re from Central New York, I hope I did your
venerable recipe proud. If you’re not, I hope you give this gorgeous rigatoni
recipe a try, and experience what only a few decades ago, you may not have ever
heard of. Enjoy!
Ingredients for 4 portions:
1 tbsp olive oil
4 oz hot Italian sausage, crumbled
1 onion, sliced or diced
1 cup sliced mushrooms
1 1/2 pounds boneless skinless chicken thighs, roughly
chopped or cubed
1/2 cup Marsala wine
1 (28-oz) can whole, peeled San Marzano tomatoes, crushed
1/2 cup water, or as needed
1 1/2 cups chopped hot and/or sweet peppers (any jarred or
fresh peppers will work, but cherry peppers are a good choice)
*if using mild peppers, use chili flakes or chili paste to
increase the spiciness.
1/2 cup pitted, halved Greek olives
3 cloves minced garlic
1/4 cup chopped Italian parsley
1 pound rigatoni
1/2 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano or Romano cheese
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