A couple of years ago we drove through Utica, NY, stopped at a restaurant, and were absolutely enamored with a local dish (we were told), Chicken Riggies. In the broadest sense, it was chicken, rigatoni, some veggies, and a pink sauce. When we got home, my wife sent an e-mail to the restaurant asking if there was any approximate recipe we might make at home, to which they responded with silence (unsurprisingly). Ever since, I’ve been attempting to make something like that dish. Our memories have faded significantly in the intervening years, but tonight I made a dish that we all enjoyed a great deal. I did not measure ingredients (I rarely do when I’m cooking from the hip), and since this isn’t baking, you’ll just have to adjust to your own personal tastes.
Start heating water for pasta. Cook, in hot olive oil:
- 1 to 1.5 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut in 1/2 inch pieces
- 1 medium onion, coarsely chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 teaspoon of coarse salt
When the chicken is about half done, and has dropped its liquid, add (still on high heat):
- 1-2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
- 1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon of cayenne pepper
- 1/2 to 1 teaspoon dried basil
- 1/2 to 1 teaspoon dried oregano
After the chicken has cooked through, add:
- One can quartered artichoke hearts, coarsely chopped
- 1/4 cup of coarsely chopped jarred mild pepper rings
- 1/4 cup of coarsely chopped jarred roasted red bell pepper
Heat through, then add:
- 2-3 cups prepared spaghetti sauce (we use Prego Traditional)
- 1 tablespoon brown sugar
Bring to a simmer, then reduce heat to low. Throw one pound of pasta into the water (should be boiling by now). Rigatoni is ideal, but any tubular pasta works (tonight it was mastaccioli). A minute or two before the pasta is finished cooking, add to the chicken mixture:
- one jar prepared alfredo sauce
- 1/4-1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese
Continue to simmer to just bring it up to temperature. Drain the pasta when aldente, then toss the pasta with the sauce, serve in a big bowl, with garlic bread, salad, and wine.
Makes 6-8 servings.