This Chicken Riggies Recipe is a classic pasta dish from Utica, New York. Rigatoni is combined with chicken, hot peppers and a creamy sauce to make a delicious dinner any night of the week.
Why You’ll Love Chicken Riggies
- EASY – With just a couple of easy steps ,this pasta will be on the table for dinner. You can prepare the sauce while the rigatoni cooks to save time!
- ADAPTABLE – You can make this dish as spicy (or not spicy) as you’d like! While we love using the cubanelle peppers, roasted red peppers and cherry peppers, you can really use any you’d like.
- DELICIOUS – Rich, creamy and with the perfect amount of kick, this is a classic dish that has been around for decades. And for good reason!
What Are Chicken Riggies?
Although it is disputed as to whole actually invented Chicken Riggies, everyone agrees that it comes from Utica, New York. It generally consists of Rigatoni (Riggies), boneless skinless chicken breasts and a (usually) creamy, spicy pepper sauce. There are common to find in many Italian Restaurants throughout Central New York.
How To Make Chicken Riggies
For step-by-step instructions, check out the printable recipe card below. But here are the ingredients you’ll need to get started:
- RIGATONI – Boiled and cooked.
- OLIVE OIL – Cooking oil for your chicken breast, onions, garlic and peppers. You can sub for any other oil you’d prefer.
- BONELESS SKINLESS CHICKEN BREAST – Cubed into bite-sized pieces. You can substitute Boneless Skinless Chicken Thighs if you’d like.
- SALT AND PEPPER – To taste.
- ONION – Chopped. We like to use Yellow Onion for it’s milder flavor, but you can use red onion if you’d like.
- CUBANELLE PEPPERS – These are smaller, green sweet peppers. They have a touch of heat, but are mostly sweet. You can substitute banana peppers or red bell peppers if needed.
- GARLIC ClOVES – Minced. Helps give the pasta that incredible aroma.
- CRUSHED TOMATOES – We used one can. But you can crush your own fresh tomatoes if desired.
- ROASTED RED PEPPERS – One jar drained and chopped.
- HOT CHERRY PEPPERS – We couldn’t find fresh peppers, so we bought a jar of them. Seeded and diced.
- HEAVY CREAM – Gives the pasta it’s creamy texture. We don’t recommend using half and half or any other dairy. You’ll want the richness of the Heavy Whipped Cream.
- PARMESAN CHEESE – Grated parmesan cheese for topping.
- FRESH PARSLEY or FRESH BASIL – Chopped. Optional as a garnish for serving.
Storage, Leftovers and Freezing
Leftover Chicken Riggies are just as good (if not better) than they were fresh off the stove! Store in an airtight container in your refrigerator. They should be good in your fridge for 4-5 days. Reheat on the stove top with a little water mixed in. Or simply reheat in the microwave.
You can freeze Chicken Riggies. Put it in an freezer safe container or freezer bag and it will be good in your Freezer for 3-4 months. Thaw in the refrigerator overnight. If you know you are going to be freezing it, you may want to undercook the pasta a bit.
Notes, Tips and FAQs
- DO YOU NEED TO USE RIGATONI FOR CHICKEN RIGGIES? – Obviously, it’s traditionally made with Rigatoni. But using any other smaller pasta will be absolutely fine in this pasta.
- USE LARGE SKILLET – This is a large recipe that will need a large cooking area. Or use a dutch oven.
- BEEF RIGGIES? – Instead of using Chicken, try using beef tips.
- ADDITIONS – Some people add Mushrooms and/or Olives to Chicken Riggies. You can add the mushrooms with the onions. I’d add the olives later in this recipe.
- SHORTCUTS – You can skip having to cook the chicken by using leftover chicken or even a rotisserie chicken you’ve bought from the store.
- MORE SPICE – Add some crushed red pepper flakes. Or substitute the Cubanelle Peppers for Jalapeno Peppers.
- HELP, MY SAUCE CHICKEN RIGGIE SAUCE IS TOO THICK! – Always save your pasta water after you boil it. You can pour a little in to thin out the sauce a bit.
- CAN I MAKE MY CHICKEN RIGGIE SAUCE RICHER? – If you really want to dial things up, you can actually substitute your Heavy Cream for softened Cream Cheese which will make your sauce more thick and rich.
We hope you enjoy this Chicken Riggies Recipe. We’d love to hear how it turns out for you. Let us know in the comment section below!
LOOKING FOR MORE ITALIAN CHICKEN DINNERS? CHECK OUT:
Chicken Riggies Recipe
- 1 box 16 oz, rigatoni pasta
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 1-1/2 lbs chicken breast uncooked and cubed
- salt and pepper
- 1 onion chopped
- 2 cubanelle peppers seeds removed and chopped
- 1 tablespoon minced garlic
- 1 can 28 oz, crushed tomatoes
- 3 roasted red peppers drained and chopped
- 2 hot cherry peppers seeded and diced
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- shredded Parmesan cheese
- chopped fresh parsley optional for serving
- Cook pasta according the package directions and drain. Set aside.
- Add oil and chicken to a large stockpot and season with salt and pepper. Heat over medium high heat, stirring frequently until chicken is cooked and no longer pink. Remove chicken from pan.
- Add onion, cubanelle peppers and garlic and heat over medium heat until onions are translucent, about 3 minutes.
- Add tomatoes, roasted red peppers, cherry peppers and mix well.
- Return chicken back to the pot.
- Add half cup of cream.
- Add pasta and stir well. Heat over medium heat until hot, about 5-7 minutes.
- Served topped with shredded Parmesan cheese and chopped fresh parsley.
Comments & Reviews
I am from the Utica /Rome area. Authentic chicken riggies do not contain cubanelle peppers or roasted peppers. They do however contain red and green bell peppers. They also have myshrooms, black olives, and lots of parm cheese in the sauce. This variation might be interesting, tho.
Appreciate the info! It’s always risky to publish “regional” dishes. Someone usually comes on tells us how we got it wrong! This is our version of it, and, my research shows overwhelmingly that there are cubanelle peppers in most riggie recipes. But, what do I know? It’s the great thing about these recipes, no one can really agree on the “true” version of it!