Tuesday, October 2, 2012

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

View the complete recipe

35 comments:

Chels said...

Chef John, this looks amazing! like all of your recipes of course. Can't wait to try it. I plan to make this tonight.

Livia said...

Looks delicious!

Matt said...

Looks and sounds great, but there are a lot of ingredients I can only get by buying so much of it that I have to throw 80% away because I cannot use it before it goes off :/

Mark said...

Savage Cabbage!

Chris Stevens said...

Another two plate meal...finish one heaping plate, then another.

You are killing my diet.

Could you please make something that doesen't taste so good?

Jesse from Detroit said...

Can't wait to try this with the fam this week. When you hand crush your tomatoes, do you remove the seeds? Is there a trick to this because it takes me forever to clean out those guys...

Chef John said...

I don't! San Marzanos don't have many seeds at all, so not necessary.

Nate said...

A different take on the riggies im used to. Two schools of thought on riggie sauces, one cream based and the other uses butter. Still going to give these ones a go (I am from the butter school of thought). I do like the idea of starting off with some sausage.

Tommy Abeyta said...

Chef John, I made this last night and it was fantastic! I even had the left overs for breakfast and lunch.

Anonymous said...

What other wine could be used? I live your recipes. Gonna make this tonight.

Tamara Champagne said...

My husband and I just finished scarfing this down. Completely delicious in every way! My husband said several times that if this was on the menu in a restaurant he would order it every time. I'm now considering opening a restaurant, it would have to be a success! Why should NY have all the fun? THANK YOU Chef John for another great recipe :D

Jace Tay said...

Hi Chef, I'm unable to get San Marzanos in my country. Would the usual arabiatta pasta sauce work?

Chef John said...

Yes!

Anonymous said...

Chef John!

I love your site and having been hooked for a while now.

that being said- can you really chop uncooked chicken on wood like that? Was my mom crazy?

Chef John said...

Yes, you can use wood for meat if you clean it properly! It's been proven over and over that wood is just as safe as plastic, and some think more so since it has natural antiseptic properties.

Sam said...

Chef John.. Thank you for this great reciepes,,
I didn't find Marsala wine, what can i use instead?
Thanks again ..

Chef John said...

Any white wine will work. Enjoy!

Jules said...

Totally FAB-U-LOUS! We loved it and will be back for more great recipes.

Anonymous said...

Am making this now and it's at the late-simmer stage -- and it's delicious; can't wait til dinner. Thank you, Chef John.

Dj said...

Hi I was wondering if there is anything I could use as a wine/alcohol substitute. Also I was wondering if you ever tried to tweak this recipe to make it more southwestern and use chipotle with adobe and tomatoes as a sauce,monterey jack cheese ground chicken and chorizo and cilantro.

Chef John said...

no wine subs, but the SW version sounds good to me!

BigMike said...

Chef John,
At about the same time I was introduced to Chicken Riggies, I also discovered another dish from that region call Utica Greens. Everyone seems to have their own version, all of which are apparently the "original recipe". The Radisson Hotel in Utica has a great one. Something any cayenne addict would love.

Anonymous said...

DJ: Common substitution for wine is broth/stock. Use a light colored stock like chicken or fish when the recipe calls for white wine and a dark stock like beef when it calls for red. That's what I just used for my riggies and I thought they came out great! Thanks Chef! -Jon

J. Jones said...

We decided to make this tonight, and we didn't have any rigatoni. But we did have some fusili, so we made...

wait for it....


Silly Chickens!!!

It was awesome. Didn't quite reduce the sauce enough, but it was still great.

Anonymous said...

Is it 1 pound of cooked or dry pasta?

Chef John said...

Pasta measurements are always dry weight!

Ryan C said...

Thank you for this great recipe Chef John! My family loves your site and your videos are great. You are a kitchen ninja!

Martha N said...

I can "see" the recipe, but the meatball video shows up instead of the chicken video.

Thanks for the great blog!
mhn

Martha N said...

I get the chicken recipe, but the meatball video shows up instead on the Chicken Riggies post.

Thanks for the great blog.

alcyonetwothree said...

made this for lunch today...we could not believe how delicious it is! thanks Chef!

Andrea said...

One of my New Years resolutions is to actually cook all the entree's I've pinned to Pinterest. It was YUM!! But you already knew that. Thanks Chef, muah

Krysten Erk said...

Hi Chef! I wanted to share a funny story with you. I bought the Marsala wine to make this recipe (and another I have planned for the week). We've never bought Marsala wine before and when my Fiance got home he asked me, "What is this?" I just replied, "Wine for cooking". And he got very nervous and said, "Doesn't Chef John say you can only use real wine for cooking? Not 'cooking wine'? Why did you buy this?" To which I laughed and said that it was real wine and I only bought it because one of Chef John's recipes called for it. Then he was relieved, apologized for doubting me and excited I was making one of your recipes this week. We love you, Chef!

Chef John said...

lol! Thanks!

McShine said...

I shall try this tonight, it looks very tasty! I just wish I knew what exactly this "italian sausage" is. I know that that's an actual thing in the US, but in Europe we don't have a specific kind of sausage simply labeled "italian sausage". Judging by the video it could be salsicce, but I couldn't find any at the store today, so I went with a spicy chorizo instead (despite it not even being italian). I won't be able to crumble it like that, but I figured it would harmonize well taste-wise. Either way though, it would be nice to know if salsicce is actually the thing to go for whenever you call for italian sausage. Cheers!

McShine said...

Alright, so using chorizo was simply a beautiful, beautiful thing! I don't know what it would taste like with actual italian sausage, but I'm going to go out on a limb here and claim that this was at least as good. That signature rich chorizo flavor really turned this otherwise fairly standard tomato sauce into something special, I can only recommend it!

Also, great recipe as always, keep up the awesome work :)