Chicken Riggies – What if You Never Saw This?

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
salt and pepper to taste
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 cup chicken broth
1/2 cup heavy cream
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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