Saturday, January 23, 2016

Chicken Riggies

Chicken Riggies

I am back.  I know I fell down on the number of posts that went up last year.   I have to confess, work and life has been hectic and on the weekends I've been working on finishing up  two screenplays.  I hope to get those out to be read very soon.  
I have this little problem in that when my creative side of my brain is turned to creative writing, I don't feel much like cooking.   I guess my brain just doesn't have the energy to go all out creative in the same day.  But I never stop watching shows about food or reading recipes.  As I mentioned before, I read recipes like most people read novels. 

I have to confess, I'm a Food Network junkie.   I was watching Diners, Drive In and Dives the other evening and one of the restaurants featured Chicken Riggies.   Chicken Riggies is a New York classic dish.   I've made it a couple of times but I never thought of adding more heat to the sauce.  Let me tell you, it worked!

I used store bought pasta.   One of my goals in 2016 is to get more adventurous in making my own pasta.   I am going to try making it hand cut and rolled.   Okay, I might use the food processor.  But as it was a weekday and I didn't have time for it -  not to mention that we had a pipe break in the kitchen a couple of weeks ago and we're still awaiting the repairs - making homemade pasta wasn't on the menu.   But, I am finding that stores are carrying better quality dried pastas.  

As with most good pasta dishes, the secret is in the sauce.  It's true here.  You can feel free to adjust the heat level. 

So, enough chit chat -  here we go!

Serves 4  - Oh, who am I kidding - my husband and I ate the whole dang thing ourselves in one sitting  -  Serves 2 ;.)


For the Sauce:

2 tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil, enough to coat a large pan
2/3 cup sweet onion, diced
2/3 cup (about 2) sweet baby bell peppers, diced - any color
1 large clove garlic, minced
1 tablespoon dried Italian seasoning
1/2 tablespoon crushed red pepper
Pinch dried Jalapeño flakes
1 tablespoon Sherry vinegar
28 ounces crushed tomatoes, no salt added 
1 teaspoon fine sea salt
1/2 teaspoon fresh cracked black pepper
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons heavy cream

Pasta:  1/2 lb. rigatoni pasta, cooked al dente

For the chicken:

1/2 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 lb. chicken tenders,  cut into bite sized pieces  
1 teaspoon salt free table seasoning
2 tablespoons white wine -  for deglazing 


Grated fontina cheese, for topping
Chopped green onion, for topping


Add olive oil to pan. 
Sauté the onion and peppers about three minutes - do not brown.

Add the garlic, Italian seasoning, crushed red pepper and Jalapeño flake.   Sauté an additional minute to let the flavors release into the pan.
Deglaze with the Sherry vinegar. 
Add tomatoes, salt and pepper.
Bring to boil and reduce to simmer, covered with the lid cracked open to release some of the steam - this will help the sauce to thicken and reduce.  
Add the parmesan cheese and the cream to the sauce right before serving. 

Note:  If you plan on freezing any of the sauce, leave the cheese and cream out and add it when you're ready to serve the sauce. 

Cook pasta per package directions. 

Add the olive oil to a sauté pan. 
Add the chopped chicken seasoned with the salt free table seasoning. 
Cook over medium heat until browned, about six or seven minutes, until chicken is completely cooked.
Deglaze with white wine.

After the chees and cream is added to the sauce, portion it out.  The recipe is enough for extra sauce.  I would reserve at least a cup of the sauce for serving on the side.   You don't want over-sauced pasta -  toss in the pasta and the chicken in the remaining sauce.  


Top with grated fontina and green onion.  

I like to serve this with Texas toast and a side of roasted broccoli (not pictured).

As always, enjoy and I'll see you soon!


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