Chicken Riggies, or as the locals here call it, "Riggies", is a Utica exclusive. I'd never heard of it until moving here, along with a few other unique to the area food items (half moons, tomato pie, greens, etc.) The area is predominantly Italian so if you don't like Italian food, I do not recommend that you move here! I've never been a huge pasta eater but I'm learning that I do really like certain pasta dishes. And when feeding a family, it can be easy and cheap!! Woo-hoo!
I'm slightly hesitant to post my Cicken Riggies recipe because well... I'm not Italian. Not even a little bit. I can just imagine some life long Utican, reading this post with the Wheel of Fortune playing in the background, shaking their head at my recipe. I'm sure that the way I make this dish would seem queer to some, so I sometimes call it "An Irish Girl's Version Of Chicken Riggies", just as a disclaimer. The traditional Riggies has mushrooms and olives. I don't like olives and Seth doesn't like olives or mushrooms. Also, many recipes call for white wine which I just don't keep in the house. And the final reason that I arrived at this recipe: it takes less pots to make. One less dirty pot and I'm sold for life!
Before getting into the recipe, this is a good time to discuss the fact that our kitchen walls are almost the exact shade of beige as our counters and it looks boring and drab in all my recipe post photos. It was a mistake. A mistake we have choosen to ignore for 4 yrs. and counting. But I have a pink Kitchen Aid mixer and a few other brightly colored little things here and there so, I'm okay with the beige-beige thing for a while longer.
And now, without any further ado, Chicken Riggies Ala Irish Girl:
3-4 Tbs. of butter (or margarine or veggie spread)
2-3 fat chicken breasts, cut into chunks
1 medium green pepper, chopped
1 medium red pepper, chopped
1 medium - large onion, chopped
2 cups water
2 tsp. chicken bullion (or two cubes)
or substitute the water and bullion for 2 cups of broth
1 8 oz. can of tomato sauce (1 cup)
1 cup heavy cream
1 tsp. paprika
1 tsp. minced garlic
1 tsp. dried parsley (I guess you could use a Tbs. of fresh if you want..add last minute)
1 Tbs. crushed red peppers
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
2 Tbs. corn starch
1 lbs. rigatoni, cooked and drained
Variations and tips:
It may go without saying, but if red peppers are crazy expensive, just use two green. The extra color is nice but I always just do what is economical. I've been told you can buy red or green peppers when they are on sale, chop them and freeze them. Haven't tried it myself yet...
Since we already talked about how anti-extra dishes I am, when it is time, go ahead and pour the tomato sauce in and use that 8 oz. can to measure the water and heavy cream. 2 cans full of water, one can full of cream.
If you happen to actually like mushrooms and olives, you can include them, of-course! Saute fresh mushrooms with the other veggies (I like that myself but Seth does not), or add canned mushrooms and/or olives during the simmer phase.
And in case the crushed red pepper throws you off, this is what it looks like:
It is not really hot, just robust flavor. Start with less if you're a scaredy cat. This brand was found in the condiments aisle by the olives and pickles. Another brand, Cora Imports, can be found with the Italian foods (in my store, that is near canned tomatoes and pasta sauces). I love this stuff. If you were to order Riggies in a restaurant, it usually comes with whole cherry peppers, or maybe roughly chopped ones. That is delicious as well. I just think this jarred crushed stuff is cheaper and easier, and for my husband who isn't big on spicy stuff, this is a gentler way to get the flavor pop I want. But you have options, people. Do whatever your heart desires.
In a large pot, melt butter and add chicken. Cook over medium heat until tender- not brown. (This is a good way to cook chicken for any recipe... it doesn't get dry if you don't over cook it and use enough butter). Add peppers and onions and cook until tender, about 5 -7 minutes. By now, the chicken is just about cooked through. Add all other ingredients except corn starch and pasta. Bring to boil, reduce heat, cover and simmer for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. In a small bowl, mix corn starch with 2 Tbs. of cold water until it dissolves. Add to the sauce/chicken mixture, and stir it real real good. Give it a few minutes to thicken up a bit. It's a good time to corral the wild animals, um.. I mean family to the table. Drain your pasta and stir into the big pot of sauce. Serve with some grated Parmesan on top, if ya like!
Add salad and Italian bread to sop up the extra sauce and you got yer-self a right fine supper. That last line wouldn't make sense unless you said it with a hill billy accent. Go ahead and reread, this time with honky-tonk in your voice. Why are we talking like honkies while cooking an Italian meal? I dunno. This is the part where the life long Utican is really shaking their head.