Chicken Riggies

In upstate NY, Utica-Rome area, there is a dish called Chicken Riggies. It is an Italian-American pasta dish, with chicken and peppers in a creamy tomato sauce. There are many variations of this dish. Rachel Ray even did a variation of this dish on her show. Since I grew up there, I am very proud to represent Utica with my way of serving this local classic. Traditionally, the pasta used in this dish is rigatoni; I prefer using a similar tubular shape, but smaller, penne. Plump and juicy pieces of chicken are paired with bell peppers and cherry peppers. Onions, garlic and parmesan cheese create a great flavor for the creamy tomato sauce. This one pot meal is a perfect option for a quick weeknight dinner for your family or for that time when you get unexpected guests and need something tasty but quick to cook.

Yields:4-6 servings


2 chicken breast halves, cut into 3/4-1 inch pieces

1 (8 oz) package white or baby bella mushrooms, sliced

1 onion, finely chopped

2-3 garlic cloves

1 large bell pepper, cut into 3/4 – 1 inch pieces

5-7 cherry peppers, minced

1 (14.5 oz.) can diced tomatoes (leave whole or puree in food processor)

1 Tablespoon tomato paste

2 Tablespoons hot sauce (I prefer Franks)

1/4 cup chicken broth

1/3 cup heavy cream

1/4 cup parmesan cheese, grated, plus more for garnishing

Fresh parsley, basil, finely minced

8 oz. pasta, rigatoni or penne, cooked according to package instructions

Before I start cooking, I prep all my ingredients. This dish cooks up so quickly, it’s good to have everything ready to go. Cut the chicken and bell pepper into 3/4 – 1 inch pieces. Mince the cherry peppers. I am not a big fan of spicy food, but if you like, you can use hot cherry peppers instead of the sweet cherry peppers. These peppers can usually be found in the aisle with pickles, roasted peppers, olives, etc. IMG_4687They give an amazing amount of flavor to this dish, so don’t be tempted to leave them out. Slice the mushrooms, chop the onion, mince the garlic and herbs, shred the cheese. Heat the water for the pasta when you start cooking.

Heat about 1 1/2 Tablespoons of oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat and cook the chicken, seasoning with salt, pepper and chicken seasoning until slightly golden but still partially uncooked, about 2-3 minutes, per side. Do not cook it all the way through. The chicken should still be slightly pink in the center. Set aside in a bowl. IMG_4691In the same skillet, add more oil and cook the mushrooms, onion and garlic for 5-7 minutes on medium-high heat, seasoning with salt and peppers, until tender and golden. IMG_4704Add the peppers, tomatoes, tomato paste, hot sauce and chicken broth. Season with salt and pepper. Are you seeing a pattern here? Yep, I season at every step of the process:) Cook, covered, for 10-15 minutes, until peppers are tender, seasoning with salt and pepper. You can add the diced tomatoes straight from the can or puree in the food processor first, whichever you prefer.


IMG_4712Add the heavy cream, cheese and chicken, cooking on low for another 2-4 minutes, just until chicken is cooked through. IMG_4716If you like olives, you can add some in too. Toss with the cooked pasta. Garnish with  more cheese and fresh herbs.IMG_4738IMG_4726 (550x367)


  • Julia Turilin

    I love this pasta dish! This is my favorite! I do it a little differently. Yours looks amazing! Any Chicken riggies is really good! I love to make a lot of it . We eat some right away the rest i freeze. Its so nice to get it out when ever you want to just heat it up and its ready to enjoy it again! Thank you for a new idea.!

    • Olga K.

      Julia, I do the same thing! It freezes really well. It doesn’t take very long to cook it in the first place, so it’s great that with the same amount of work you can enjoy more than one dinner.

  • Natalia Procopio

    You make THE best chicken riggies!! I used jalapeno peppers instead of cherry and left out mushrooms as my husband doesn’t like them and it turned out delicious. Thanks for sharing!

  • Oksana

    Olga, Thank You for a wonderful recipe. I made this for dinner and it turned our so delicious! God Bles You for all the work that you put into this blog. I always look foreward to trying your recipies 🙂

  • Anna

    Olga, at what point should I stop in order to freeze this meal? I know you said to undercook pasta if the meal is planned to be frozen but besides that, is there anything else that need to be prepared differently in order to freeze it?

    • olgak7

      Cook the whole dish exactly how I have it in the recipe, undercook the pasta, add a bit more sauce to pasta ratio. Freeze. Thaw before reheating. You can also add some fresh herbs and freshly grated Parmesan to the dish right before serving to give it some freshness.

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