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If you’ve ever been to Utica, New York, you’ll recognize chicken riggies but if you haven’t, here they are!
New York Comfort
New York is famous for many foods. That’s probably because it has such a diverse population.
Even though most non-natives think of New York City when they hear “New York,” this is a pretty big state and each region has their famous food.
Italian Influence In The Mohawk Valley
This recipe originated in Utica, New York, which is in the Mohawk Valley region.
Utica has a large population of Italian descent. The Italian influence comes through in this recipe!
It has standard “Italian” ingredients such as pasta and tomato sauce, but this one also includes a highly flavorful chicken element.
One thing about this recipe is that it uses several pots, so there’s some cleanup involved with this. Even though it resembles a skillet dinner, it simply cannot be made in one pot. However, I find this dish so tasty that I don’t mind the cleanup–and that’s going far the way I am nowadays (old and lazy).
Marinated Chicken Adds Great Flavor
The special flavor in chicken riggies comes from the chicken.
It’s marinated in a sherry and herb mixture that is fantastic! The sherry is the acidity in the marinade, but it also adds yumminess.
The sherry is essential in the chicken marinade. If you don’t have dry sherry, then any dry white wine would be an acceptable substitute.
Offhand, I cannot give a good substitute for the sherry/wine that is non-alcoholic. You might try lemon or pineapple juice, but it would likely result in an inferior taste.
Cherry Peppers Yes/No
I’ll never forget the first time I tasted hot cherry peppers. I was a kid and thought they were green olives. O.M.G.
Anyway, most recipes for chicken riggies call for hot cherry peppers in the sauce. I didn’t have any on hand so I used red pepper flakes in their place.
The sauce really doesn’t have any herbs or spices in it, so it would be rather bland without the hot pepper influence. I do suggest using the cherry peppers as they have a lot of flavor, and yes, as an adult, I learned to appreciate their taste!
As I mentioned, they are quite hot (at least to my taste) but the heat is offset by the sauce’s creaminess. And yes, the sauce is very rich, so this isn’t a diet dish by any means.
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- 1/2 cup dry sherry
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 3 garlic cloves minced
- 1 tsp dried oregano
- 1 lb boneless skinless chicken breasts cubed
- 1 tbsp butter
- 1/2 each medium sweet red and green pepper chopped
- 1 tsp red pepper flakes -OR- 2 pickled hot cherry peppers chopped
- 1 small onion chopped
- 2 garlic cloves minced
- 1/2 cup dry sherry -OR- chicken stock
- 29 oz can tomato puree
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp pepper
- 16 oz box uncooked rigatoni
- 3/4 cups heavy whipping cream
- 4 ounces cream cheese cut up
- 3/4 cup grated Romano cheese
- In a large resealable plastic bag, combine sherry, oil, garlic and oregano. Add chicken; seal bag and turn to coat. Refrigerate 3 hours.
- Drain chicken, discarding marinade. Heat a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add chicken in batches; cook and stir until no longer pink. Remove from pan.
- In same pan, heat butter over medium-high heat. Add peppers, onion and garlic; cook and stir until tender.Stir in sherry; bring to a boil. Stir in tomato puree, salt and pepper; return to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer 8-10 minutes or until slightly thickened, stirring occasionally. Add chicken; heat through.
- Meanwhile, in a stockpot, cook rigatoni according to package directions.
- In a small saucepan, combine cream and cream cheese over medium heat; cook and stir until blended. Add to chicken mixture; stir in Romano cheese.
- Drain rigatoni; return to stockpot. Add sauce to pasta; toss to combine
*Adapted from Taste of Home