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Playing Ridiculously Good Chicken Riggies

Ingredients

  • 2 red frying or red bell peppers
  • 4 tablespoons EVOO Extra Virgin Olive Oil, divided
  • 1 pound boneless, skinless, chicken thighs or breasts, chopped into bite-size pieces
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1/2 pound cremini mushrooms, thinly sliced
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, chopped or thinly sliced
  • 2 cubanelle (green mild frying) peppers, halved lengthwise, seeded, then thinly sliced
  • 2 fresh Italian hot cherry peppers or Fresno peppers, seeded and finely chopped
  • 1/4 to 1/3 cup Marsala or dry sherry
  • 1 28-ounce can Italian tomatoes
  • A few leaves basil, torn
  • 1 cup half-n-half or heavy cream
  • 1 pound rigatoni or whole wheat rigatoni
  • Grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese

Yield

Serves: 4-6

Preparation

Char red peppers over an open flame or under hot broiler. If broiling, leave oven door ajar to allow some of the steam to escape. Place charred peppers in a bowl, cover with plastic wrap and cool. Peel and seed then quarter lengthwise. Slice and reserve.

Bring a large pot of water to a boil for the pasta.

Heat 1 tablespoon EVOO, a turn of the pan, in a skillet over medium-high heat. Season chicken liberally with salt and pepper then add chicken pieces to the skillet in a single layer. Brown evenly on both sides, 5-6 minutes total, then remove to plate.

To the skillet, add remaining EVOO, 3 turns of the pan, then the mushrooms. Brown mushrooms 5-6 minutes then add onions, garlic, cubanelle and chili peppers. Season with salt and pepper, and saut to soften, 6-7 minutes more. Deglaze pan with Marsala or sherry, add tomatoes and break them up with a spoon or masher. Reduce heat to medium-low to simmer. Add torn basil leaves, reserved sliced roasted peppers and chicken back to the skillet and stir in half-n-half or cream. Let sauce thicken while the pasta cooks

When water is boiling, add salt and rigatoni. Cook pasta to al dente. Reserve a cup of starchy cooking liquid to toss with pasta sauce just before draining.

Toss chicken with "riggies" and use a splash or 2 of starchy water as needed to combine. Toss in a little cheese, serve in shallow bowls and pass more cheese at table.