CNYEats A Taste of Utica Chicken Riggies

by Joanne on April 18, 2010

Memories of Utica by Kathy

“There was a little candy store in a house on Mary St. It was right across from Mary St. School.  This was in the mid 50’s.  You could go in with 3 pennies and come out with a little bag of candy”

We are skipping to the Chicken Riggie recipes in our book A Taste of Utica because the Riggie Fest is coming up on April 24th at the Utica Auditorium. With all the recipes for Chicken Riggies in our book taste book examiner you will be able to judge your own homemade riggies as compared to what you taste at the Riggie Fest

There are six recipes offered.  It’s your choice.  Apple Crumbles and family made 3 of the recipes in this post.  Everyone of them offered something a little different and everyone was thoroughly enjoyed. We made 2 Chicken Riggie Recipes and 1 Shrimp Riggie Recipe.


Chicken Riggies

Page 80, posted by C

  • 4 TBS butter
  • 2 1/2 lbs boneless, skinless chicken breasts cut into bite size pieces
  • 8 oz pkg. of mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 medium green pepper, chopped
  • 1 medium hot pepper, chopped (optional)
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 cups water
  • 2 tsp chicken bouillon OR 2 cubes
  • 1 cup tomato sauce
  • 1/2 pint heavy cream
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp parsley
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 1/2 cup black olives
  • 2 TBS cornstarch
  • 1 lb rigatoni, cooked and drained
  • Parmesan cheese

In a large pot, melt butter and add chicken.  Cook over medium heat until tender.  Add mushrooms and cook 5 minutes.  Add peppers and onions and continue cooking until soft, about  5- 7 minutes.  Add water, bouillon, sauce, heavy cream, and spices.  Bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover and simmer for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Add olives and simmer 5 minutes more.

In a small bowl, mix cornstarch with 2 TBS water until it dissolves.  Add to the sauce, stirring continuously until it thickens.  When thickened, mix sauce with rigatoni together in deep bowl and serve immediately.  Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.


Chicken Riggies

 Page 82, posted by Lorrie Washburn DSC_4418

  • 1 stick of butter and 2 TBS
  • 2 lb boneless chicken breast cut into small pieces (like stew size)
  • flour the chicken pieces
  • 1 lg, onion, chopped
  • 1 can of chicken broth
  • 1 can of mushrooms, chopped
  • 1 small can of tomato sauce
  • 1/4 cup of cooking sherry
  • 1 small container of heavy cream
  • 1 small can of black olives, chopped
  • Fresh sweet peppers and red hot peppers (usually cherry peppers) chopped * Usually 1 large sweet pepper and 2 or 3 hot peppers, chopped, depending on how hot/spicy you want the riggies.
  • 1 lb of rigatoni

Melt the butter with the onions over medium heat.  Add floured chicken pieces cook until done (about 8 – 10 minutes).  Add 1 can of chicken broth, peppers, small can of tomato sauce, mushrooms, olives, cooking sherry and cook 20 minutes.  Mix well.  Add heavy cream and stir until slightly thickened.  Add cooked rigatoni. Enjoy

While the chicken is cooking, Lorrie usually takes a bigger pan and adds the other ingredients then when the chicken is done, scrape it all,chicken and butter, onions into the big pan.  That way there is more room.  These are a big hit.   A friend of Lorrie’s used to work at McGill’s and gave her the recipe. You can use more hot peppers for hotter riggies or less.  Always use the fresh hot peppers not the ones in a jar.

Memories of Utica by Booger   “Didn’t Gracie’s store also dry sausage in the attic for later packing in oil?  I think we used to pay for “fresh weight” and then she hung it in her attic for us.  Any old attic wouldn’t do….it had to have the right temperature and ventilation.”


Chicken Riggies

Page 83 posted by Christiana Conway

  • 1 stick margarine or butter
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp basil
  • 3 to 4 skinless and boneless chicken breasts, cubed
  • 4 cherry peppers, cut up (save 1/4 cup of juice) *I’m assuming these are the cherry peppers in the jar
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 1 can (28 oz) crushed tomatoes
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 1 lb rigatoni pasta

Melt the butter in a frying pan.  Add the olive oil and saute garlic and onions until translucent.  Add the chicken and saute.  Add wine, tomatoes, and chicken broth.  Finally, add your cherry peppers and juice.

Prepare rigatoni to box instructions and cook until “al dente”.  Drain pasta and put into a large pasta dish.  Pour sauce over the top and toss. Serve with green salad and Parmesan cheese.


Chicken Riggies  with Red Sauce (with the option of using Shrimp)

 Page 89  posted by Carm  Guarnieri


  • 2 lbs rigatoni *For the shrimp version, Apple Crumbles used Penne pasta.
  • 1 1/2 lb boneless, skinless chicken breasts*
  • 1 1/2 sticks butter or margarine
  • 2 small onions, chopped
  • 2 – 3 red and/or green bell peppers
  • 2 – 3  tsp minced garlic
  • 3/4 cups plain tomato sauce (1 Large can of Hunts sauce is recommended)
  • cherry peppers (to taste)
  • 1 cup grated cheese (good quality)
  • 14 oz  can chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup white wine  (good quality)

Dice chicken into 3/4 inch pieces.  Place in a bag or bowl and coat with 1/2 cup flour.  In a large pan, melt the butter and saute onions and peppers until soft and onions are translucent.  Add garlic and cook about 1 minute more.  Remove and put aside.  Put chicken in pan and cook until lightly brown.  You may have to add some olive oil, as there may not be enough butter.  Add peppers and all other ingredients (except rigatoni) and simmer about 1 hour.  *If using shrimp, simmer only 20 minutes or add shrimp later.  Pour over cooked pasta and toss.

*You may use shrimp and if you do, use Marcella wine and add the cooked shrimp just before serving. 


Chicken Riggies

Page 91 posted by Rainie Piccione


  • 2 lb chicken breasts, cubed and dry to touch
  • 2 TBS flour
  • 2 tsp garlic, chopped
  • 3/4 cup white wine
  • 1 lg onion, chopped
  • 1 can Furmano’s crushed tomatoes
  • 1 bell pepper, diced
  • 1 lb rigatoni
  • 2 TBS olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/2 stick butter
  • chopped hot peppers (optional)

Heat oil and butter.  Add garlic and onion and pepper.  Add chicken and cook until half done.  Stir in flour to make rue (rue is the thick, pasty like mixture of flour and butter).  Add salt and pepper to taste.  Stir in wine to make gravy.  Add can of sauce.  Simmer for 30 minutes.  Serve over cooked rigatoni.  If you like hot and spicy, add the chopped hot peppers.


Chicken Riggies

Page 91 posted by Janet Chanatry of Chanatry’s Supermarket in Utica


  • 1 stick butter, melted
  • 1 cup Romano cheese
  • 1 onion, minced
  • 2 lb boneless chicken breasts, cubed
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 can chicken broth
  • 20 oz jar sweet peppers. sliced and seeds removed
  • 15 oz can tomato sauce
  • 3 hot cherry peppers, sliced

Saute butter, onion, garlic, and peppers.  Add chicken and cook through.  Add broth, sauce and Romano cheese.  Cook for 1 hour.  Pour over 1 1/2 boxes of cooked Rigatoni pasta.  Serve with fresh Italian bread.

Memories of Utica by Angela  “There was a shoe repair shop on Bleecker St. near St. Anthony’s church, Napoli’s Shoe Repair.  It was a father and son operation.  The son walked to work every day by our house on Bacon St.  He would have his daughter.  I think her name was Connie, on one hand and his black metal lunch pail in the other.  They were friends of my grandparents.  Also one in Neisner’s on Genesee St. downstairs.  You could have taps put on downstairs and get a hot dog on a steamed roll and root beer upstairs.  You would have to stand and eat, it was right in the middle of the sales floor.  It was worth the bus trip downtown.”

Everyone loves Utica Riggies.  Even folks who have moved from the area have fond memories of favorite Utica Italian dishes.  Here is a Riggie recipe from Claudia, who used to reside in Utica:  Chicken Riggies Upstate NY Style.   Thanks Claudia!


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