This famous Italian-American pasta will rock your world! In Chicken Riggies, a thick tomato cream sauce smothers marinated chicken and veggie-rich rigatoni.
Chicken Riggies is the creation of upstate New York Italian immigrants, and it’s still quite popular in the area today. As with any great dish, experts create their own unique cooking variations. The base ingredients in this recipe are pretty constant.
The main elements are al dente rigatoni pasta, several varieties of chopped peppers, dry sherry, Italian seasoning, and marinated chicken. All are bathed in a luscious, rich, creamy tomato sauce.
This is the perfect dish for anniversaries, visits from the in-laws, and other special occasions. If this Utican dish has you in the mood for more East Coast fare, try chicken murphy, a Jersey Shore classic, or chicken scarpariello, another regional favorite!
What I Love Most About This Recipe:
- The creamy tomato sauce is unparalleled.
- I love a good mix of al dente pasta and sautéed veggies!
- The marinade gives the chicken delicious Italian and garlic overtones.
- It fills my house with wonderful smells!
What is Chicken Riggies?
You won’t be counting chicken riggies calories when you’re halfway through this amazing Italian-American pasta! Its primary components are chicken, rigatoni, and peppers, smothered in a creamy tomato sauce.
No one knows the exact origin story of the dish, but it was likely born in Utica, New York’s Sicilian immigrant community in the 1900’s.
Chicken Riggies Ingredients
Some people make simple buffalo chicken riggies, but I prefer my version of the sauce for its creaminess and complexity! My sauce calls for butter, dry sherry, tomato paste, crushed tomatoes, salt, black pepper, heavy cream, cream cheese, and parmesan cheese.
It also contains a healthy quantity of veggies: diced red bell pepper, diced green bell pepper, chopped hot cherry peppers, diced yellow onion, and minced garlic. You will also need 16 oz. of rigatoni. This recipe sure beats plain old chicken riggies with jar sauce!
Unlike the pioneer woman’s recipe our marinade is made from dry sherry, olive oil, minced garlic, and Italian seasoning. The marinade is used to prepare two pounds of cubed boneless, skinless chicken breasts – ergo, this is no vegetarian chicken riggies recipe
Chicken riggies goes great with a simple Italian side salad dressed with my balsamic vinaigrette, my fully loaded Mediterranean salad, roasted green beans (with pancetta and shallots!), or my simple roasted peppers.
How To Make Chicken Riggies
- Marinade the chicken: Combine sherry, olive oil, garlic, and Italian seasoning in a resealable bag.
- Add chicken and seal the bag.
- Refrigerate for an hour.
- Cook the chicken: Drain the chicken and cook until there is no longer any pink.
- Make the sauce: Melt the butter. Saute red bell pepper, green bell pepper, cherry peppers, onion, and garlic.
- Pour 1 cup sherry into the pot and bring to a boil.
- Add tomato paste, crushed tomatoes, salt, and pepper, and bring back to a boil.
- Add chicken to the sauce.
- Pour the cream cheese mixture into the sauce.
- Stir in Parmesan.
- Pour the sauce over the pasta and fold to evenly coat.
***See the full instructions below.
How to Store and Make Ahead
- How Long Can You Keep This In The Fridge? This recipe can sit happily in the fridge for up to five days.
- How To Freeze This Recipe: Freeze in an airtight container for up to 1-2 months. For best results, freeze without the pasta and prepare a fresh batch when the serving time comes!
- Make-Ahead: Don’t prepare the pasta until you are ready to serve! The rest of the dish will be kept in the fridge for about three days. Just reheat on the stove when the time comes, boiling the pasta separately.
- Food Safety: If you’d like more info on food safety check out this link.
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More Italian-Inspired Chicken Recipes
- Italian Chicken Soup
- Chicken Milanese
- Balsamic Chicken
- Chicken Florentine
- Italian Dressing Chicken
- Slow Cooker Chicken Cacciatore
- Chicken Lombardy
- Creamy Chicken Tortellini Soup
- 1/2 cup dry sherry
- 4 tablespoons olive oil divided
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 teaspoons Italian seasoning
- 2 pounds boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into cubes
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1 red bell pepper, diced
- 1/2 green bell pepper, diced
- 4 pickled hot cherry peppers, chopped
- 1 medium yellow onion, diced
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 cup dry sherry
- 1 (4-ounce) can tomato paste
- 1 (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/8 teaspoon black pepper
- 16 ounces rigatoni, uncooked
- 1 1/2 cups heavy cream
- 8 ounces cream cheese, cut into cubes and at room temperature
- 1 1/2 cups Parmesan cheese
- Combine sherry (1/2 cup), 2 tablespoons olive oil, minced garlic (3 cloves), and Italian seasoning (2 teaspoons) in a 1-gallon resealable plastic bag. Add chicken (2 pounds) and seal the bag, removing as much air as possible. Place the bag on a rimmed baking sheet (to catch any possible leaks) and refrigerate for 60 minutes.
- Drain chicken and discard marinade.
- Heat the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large pot. Cook chicken, in batches, over medium-high heat until there is no longer any pink. Remove cooked chicken to a plate and set aside.
- In the same pot, melt the butter (2 tablespoons). Saute red bell pepper (1), green bell pepper (1/2), cherry peppers (4), onion (1 medium), and garlic (4 cloves) over low heat until soft, about 7-10 minutes.
- Pour 1 cup sherry into the pot and bring to a boil. Add tomato paste (1 can), crushed tomatoes (1 can), salt (1/4 teaspoon), and pepper (1/8 teaspoon), and bring back to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 8-10 minutes until the mixture thickens slightly. Add chicken to the mixture.
- Meanwhile, cook the rigatoni (16 ounces) to al dente in a separate pot according to the package instructions.
- Combine cream (1 1/2 cups) and cream cheese (8 ounces) in a small saucepan and cook over medium heat until the cream and cream cheese and well combined and the cream cheese has melted. Pour into the chicken mixture. Stir in Parmesan (1 1/2 cups).
- Drain the pasta. Return the drained pasta to the pot. Pour the sauce over the pasta and fold to evenly coat. Serve.
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