I know, what’s a “riggie” right’ Chicken Riggies is a beloved upstate NY favorite bringing together the best of all things spicy, savory, salty and comfort food. Keep reading, you need to make this…
Living in Upstate New York has many benefits, and I count it’s many unique and ethnic foods to be among the best. Utica has two dishes that are legendary, Utica Greens (coming soon!) and my favorite Chicken Riggies.
There are many versions of this floating around the internet and they have all sorts of interesting variations, but nope, not Chicken Riggies. I have based my recipe on a version made by a chef at a restaurant I worked in long ago and in my humble opinion, this is about as close as you’ll find to the original.
In keeping with the philosophy of this blog, using the freshest local ingredients makes all the difference, but one of the main components is Cherry Peppers and sweet peppers which aren’t available year round. Lucky for us the preserved variety is absolutely fine! I used a good Romano cheese as a substitute for the Parmesan. Use a high quality organic pasta as well, it would be a shame to make this gorgeous spicy and savory sauce if you use big box discount store pasta. You just won’t get the same depth of flavor, and trust me, you want allllllll these flavors!
I also used chicken breast from Butcher Box. It’s a company that I am trialing as option for my readers. I’m blessed to live where I have access to year round farmers markets as well as great farms, but I am sympathetic to the needs of all of you don’t have that luxury. Butcher Box is an affordable option for high quality grass fed and finished beef, heritage pork, and organic free range chicken from farms that practice sustainable agriculture methods and humane animal welfare practices. This is important to me, and I know it is to you as well. As an added benefit, having your meat in the freezer helps bring you into a solid habit of planning meals around your pantry and freezer. I’ve included more information about Butcher Box, as well as a special offer below the recipe.
Now, back to the food…
Chicken Riggies comes together fairly quickly, and is a solid 30 minute meal to splurge on for a weeknight dinner, or weekend supper. It’s easy to divide the ingredients in half for 2-3 servings, or double them for a crowd. It reheats beautifully, although I doubt you’ll have leftovers!
by Colleen Cheechalk
2 pounds chicken breast processed into 1 inch cubes
1 pound good rigatoni pasta cooked al dente and drained
1 small onion diced
1 small sweet pepper diced
4-6 cloves of garlic minced
4-6 cherry peppers seeded and cut into 3rds (leave them chunky!)
1 cup chicken stock
1 cup white wine
1/2 cup marinara sauce
1 stick of butter (really, just do it!)
3/4 cup grated Parmigiano reggiano
2 tablespoons ghee or higher temperature oil
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
salt and pepper to taste
Heat ghee or oil over medium heat in a large skillet. Add cubed chicken breast and cook 2-3 minutes.
Add onion and sweet peppers, cook an additional 2-3 minutes.
Add garlic and saute until fragrant
Add wine and reduce by half
Add chicken stock, red pepper flakes, marinara and cherry peppers, reduce again by a half.
Reduce heat to low. Add butter 1 tablespoon at a time until melted into the sauce.
Add parmigiano reggiano a bit at a time, allowing it to melt into the sauce.
Add cooked rigatoni to the pan folding gently to coat. You may not need to use all the pasta.
Serve with freshly grated Parmigiano reggiano and chopped parsley.
One of my favorite ways to change this up is to substitute cannelloni beans or garbanzo beans for the pasta, or to add a few handfuls of chopped greens.
If you make Chicken Riggies, please comment below, and snap a pic and share it to Instagram and tag me so I can see it!