September 12, 2018

Chicken Riggies for Dinner Tonight

Chicken Riggies | The Naptime Chef

(Disclosure: This post is sponsored by Hood Cream, a brand I love and recommend. Thank you for supporting the brands that support The Naptime Chef.)

Here are the facts: I love food, I love to cook, and I love pasta. Pasta dishes, like Chicken Riggies, is in fact, one of my favorite comfort foods. For our family the definition of comfort food is that we eat it once in a while. That means I’ll never give it up – not even for a fad diet – but it’s also not something I make every night, or even every week. However, when the occasion calls for it, a good bowl of Chicken Riggies, or something equally as deliciously satisfying, is exactly what’s needed. This particular dish is actually native to upstate NY, Utica to be exact, near Cooperstown where I grew up. It features a homemade tomato pepper cream sauce, well-seasoned chicken, and a sprinkling of cheese and basil.

Chicken Riggies | The Naptime Chef

The funny part about this dish is that I didn’t realize it was a regional specialty until I left upstate NY. When I was in college in Maine I couldn’t find it on any menu throughout New England! I was baffled by this until my parents pointed out that the dish itself has boundaries. It can be made in any home kitchen, anywhere in the world, but you won’t find it on many menus outside of upstate. I think the name is probably short for Chicken Rigatoni, since that’s the pasta that is used.

Writing about this recipe feels so good because I love writing about food that carries nostalgia for me. In fact, many of those beloved dishes are the ones I still make the most often. They fit the bill for my daily cooking routine because it can be prepared in advanced, or made in under an hour in full. I usually marinade the chicken all day, so I prepare it in the morning, and then complete everything else in the evening. For the sauce I use Hood Light Cream, because it blends beautifully and makes it extra rich and creamy. It transforms this particular tomato pepper sauce into a lovely, smooth tomato-y delight. It’s the perfect addition to our comfort food meal.

I hope you enjoy this lovely, easy family meal as much as we do. It’s perfect for weeknight dinner perfection and will put a smile on everyone’s face!

Chicken Riggies for Dinner Tonight

Rating: 51

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 45 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour

Yield: 4 to 6 servings

adapted from Taste of Home

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  • ½ cup dry sherry
  • 2 tbs olive oil
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 lb boneless skinless chicken breasts, cubed
  • SAUCE:
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 each medium sweet red pepper, seeded and chopped
  • 1 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • ½ cup dry sherry -OR- chicken stock
  • 1 can (29 oz) tomato puree
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon pepper
  • 1 box (16 oz) uncooked rigatoni
  • ¾ cup Hood cream
  • ¾ cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 tablespoons fresh basil, finely chopped


  1. Cube the chicken and place it in a large plastic bag. Add the sherry, oil, and garlic and seal the bag. Turn the bag a few times to coat the chicken, refrigerate it like this for at least 2 hours or up to 1 day.
  2. Remove the chicken from the marindae and add it to a skillet over a medium-hot burner. Turn the chicken a few times to cook all the sides of the chicken until just cooked through. Remove from the pan.
  3. Cook the rigatoni according to package directions. Drain and reserve.
  4. Meanwhile, in a saucepan warm the butter over medium heat and add the pepper, onion, and garlic and cook until tender and softened. Pour in the sherry and bring to a boil for 5 minutes, or until the sherry is reduced by half. Then stir in the tomato purée, salt, and pepper and bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook for 10 minutes, or until the sauce has thickened. Add the cooked chicken to the sauce to heat through. Pour in the cream and Parmesan cheese and stir well.
  5. Add the rigatoni to the sauce pan and toss well to coat the pasta.
  6. Serve hot with a sprinkle of basil.

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