Ridiculously Good Chicken Riggies
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- 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
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.