Recipe: Utica-Style Chicken Riggies

Chicken Riggies

Chicken Riggies

There are a lot of renditions of Chicken Riggies on the internet, but this is the real deal. I know because I brought home an order from the Chesterfield Restaurant, where Mike Schultz claims he put this Italian-American classic on the map (whether he did or not, it’s a great story) back in 1989, and had it at my side for comparison as I worked on my own recipe. Serves 4.

½ stick butter (4 T)
1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breast, cubed
2 garlic cloves, chopped
½ small red onion, chopped
¼ c sweet peppers, chopped* (I use vinegar peppers and cut them into larger chunks than cherry so people can tell them apart from the cherry peppers)
2-3 medium hot cherry peppers* (depending on how spicy you prefer; remove pith and seeds unless you like very hot)
½ c white wine
½ c marinara sauce
½ c grated romano cheese
8 oz rigatoni

Method: Melt the butter in a sauté pan and sauté the chicken till it is uniformly white. Add onions, garlic and peppers and cook over medium heat 2-3 minutes. Add wine and cook down until the sauce has big, viscous bubbles (meaning the alcohol has evaporated). Add marinara sauce and cheese. Meanwhile, cook rigatoni in boiling salted water until al dente (about 8-10 minutes). Drain, add to the sauce and heat a little longer till the pasta is cooked through. It’s ready to serve immediately, but just as good reheated the next day.

Casa Visco

Casa Visco Spaghetti Sauce (standing in for marinara), Hot Cherry Peppers and Vinegar Peppers

*It’s worth the effort to find jarred Italian-American peppers like the Casa Visco items you see here. If you use fresh peppers allow extra sautéing time so they get good and limp.

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