Chicken Riggies

Up close & personal

Up close & personal

This is a simplified version of one of my all-time favorite dishes. Chicken Riggies are native to the Utica-Rome area of Central New York, a dish developed to use leftovers from area events like pot-luck dinners and church or school banquets.

The original version, which was shared by Marc Jacksina, once King of Riggies at Joey’s Restaurant in Utica, (perhaps the finest practitioner of this dish) and now chef/co-owner of Lulu Restaurant in Charlotte, NC, uses a homemade tomato sauce. Here, I use Lucini Roman Tomato Cream Soup as the base, which not only eliminates the time-consuming step of preparing the tomato sauce, but also adds a tasty twist to the original. And while most versions call for pecorino romano, I substitute Lucini Organic Pamigiano Reggiano, which has a deep creamy and nutty flavor that pairs incredibly well with the many flavors in the dish. While it may not be “authentic”, this version assumes the loose spirit of the original – I have eaten versions with mushrooms, sausage, and even alfredo sauce (which i would not recommend).

1. Oven Roasted Green Peppers
2. Rigatoni
3. Chicken and Riggie Sauce

1. Oven Roasted Green Peppers

3           Large Green Bell Peppers
2 TB    Lucini Extra Virgin Olive Oil
¼ tsp Salt
¼ tsp Black Pepper
¼ tsp Garlic Powder

Preheat oven to 425.
Coat whole peppers evenly with the olive oil and season with salt, pepper and garlic powder. Wrap the peppers in foil and roast for 20-25 minutes, until the peppers are soft and cooked completely. Allow to rest until cool enough to handle and then remove skin.

2. Rigatoni

1 Lb Rigatoni
Well Salted Water

Start this step early enough so that the water is boiling 5 minutes after starting step 3. Boil the Rigatoni until just al dente.

3. Chicken and Riggie Sauce

3 TB   Sweet Onion minced
3 TB  Shallots minced
2 TB  Garlic
2 TB  Lucini Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 Lb  Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breast (if possible, use Free Range Organic)
1 Bottle Lucini Roman Tomato Cream Soup (or your own red sauce)
3-5    Hot Cherry Peppers seeded and chopped (optional, but highly recommended; use red for color contrast)
3        Roasted Green Peppers
½ C   Lucini Organic Parmigiano Reggiano grated
1 Tb  Butter (optional)

Heat olive olive oil in a saucepan. Add the onion, shallots and garlic and heat until the vegetables are translucent. Slice the chicken breasts into bite-size pieces and add to pan, stirring occasionally and turning the chicken pieces until white on all sides. Add the soup and cook for 10 minutes. Cut the green peppers (step 1) into long, thin slices. Add the pepper slices, parmigiano and butter; cook for 5 more minutes.

To Serve:

Combine the Rigatoni (2) and sauce (3) in a large bowl. Transfer to individual plates or bowls and top with more parmigiano.


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