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"I've shared this dish many times over the years, but it's time to bring it back again," Rach says. "This is a family favorite, and if you're from Western New York, chances are you make it often. I use roasted, rotisserie or poached chicken and pull or chop the meat. Starting with diced boneless skinless chicken results in a tougher bite." 

Rach likes to serve this with her husband John's Italian Flag Spritzer.


  • 3 large red field/mild peppers, for roasting
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil (EVOO)
  • 1 large onion, chopped 
  • Salt
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano (⅓ palmful) 
  • 1 to 2 fresh red chili peppers, chopped, or 1 tablespoon Calabrian chili paste
  • 4 large cloves garlic, chopped or thinly sliced 
  • ¾ to 1 cup white wine or vodka 
  • One 28-ounce can crushed or diced fire-roasted tomatoes or tomatoes
  • A handful of basil, torn
  • About ⅔ cup heavy cream
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano (⅓ palmful) 
  • 1 rotisserie chicken, roast chicken or poached chicken, meat removed from skin and bones, and pulled or chopped into small bite-sized pieces
  • 1 pound rigatoni
  • 1 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, plus some for passing at table
  • ½ cup hot Italian cherry pepper rings, chopped


Serves: 6


Preheat broiler to high or oven to highest heat. Place peppers on foil-lined baking sheet and roast, charring skin evenly. Cool peppers in covered bowl to handle, then peel, seed, and chop.

Meanwhile, heat a large pot of water to boil for pasta, 5 to 6 quarts.

Heat a large skillet over medium heat with EVOO, 3 turns of the pan, add onions and season with salt and oregano, add fresh chilies or Calabrian paste and cover pan, soften 6 to 7 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add garlic, stir, add wine or vodka and let it absorb, add tomatoes and basil and reduce heat to low simmer, add cream, then stir in roasted peppers and chicken.

Cook pasta 1 minute less than package directions and reserve half a mug of starchy water.

Toss pasta with sauce and cheese and add starchy water as needed to combine. Serve family-style or in shallow bowls topped with chopped hot pickled peppers.