Spicy Chicken Riggies Recipe

When you're looking to mix up your weekly pasta game, you might want to give these spicy chicken riggies a try. And if you haven't heard of chicken riggies before? Don't worry, you're not alone. "This is a dish I hadn't heard of until recently since it's local to Utica, New York, but I'm going to make it all the time now because it has all of my favorite things in it," says recipe developer Jessica Morone. "There's nothing better to me than pasta with chicken and a creamy red pepper sauce. It's a little bit spicy, but not overwhelming, and the peppers just give it such a good flavor." 

The best part about chicken riggies is that it's quick and easy to make, even with the homemade sauce, so you can have it served in roughly 45 minutes. Morone says to pair it with salad or bread, and if you're looking to add a drink to the menu, she says you can't go wrong with a dry white wine

Gather the ingredients for spicy chicken riggies

The ingredients you'll need for chicken riggies are standard poultry pasta fare. In fact, you might have most of them in your kitchen already, so do an inventory before you head to the grocery store. 

For this "very typical" take on the New York classic, Morone says you'll need rigatoni pasta (the riggies in the recipe's name), olive oil, boneless and skinless chicken breast, salt, pepper, red bell pepper, yellow onion, minced garlic, a can of crushed tomatoes, sliced and drained hot cherry peppers, and heavy cream. You may also want Parmesan cheese and fresh parsley to serve with your finished dish. 

Cook and drain the pasta

Start by cooking your pasta. Add water and salt to a large pot and bring it to a boil. Tip in the pasta and cook it according to the instructions on the packaging — rigatoni is a thicker pasta, so it may require a little more time than standard spaghetti. When it's cooked al dente, drain the pasta and set it aside. 

Cook the chicken

Meanwhile, place a large skillet over medium-high heat and add half of the olive oil. When the oil is hot, add the pieces of chicken to the pan and sprinkle with half of the salt and pepper to season. Cook the meat thoroughly, stirring occasionally. When it's done, transfer the chicken to a separate dish and set it aside. You'll be using the same skillet for the following steps. 

"Traditionally this is a chicken dish, but there's nothing stopping you from trying another protein, or leaving out the protein completely and just having a vegetarian dish," suggests Morone. 

Cook the onions, bell peppers, and garlic

Return the skillet to the stove and add the remaining olive oil, along with the bell pepper, onion, garlic, and the remaining salt and pepper. Cook until the vegetables are soft, stirring all the while to prevent them from burning. This should take about 5-6 minutes. 

Simmer the sauce

When the vegetables are cooked, you're ready to make the creamy coating for the pasta. "What makes this sauce different is that rather than just being a regular tomato sauce, this is filled with flavor from the peppers, and the cream makes it really rich," Morone says. 

Add the crushed tomatoes and cherry peppers to the skillet and bring them to a simmer. Stir as the liquids cook down and the sauce thickens up before adding the cream to the pan. Mix everything well and remove the skillet from the burner.

Add the chicken and pasta before serving

 The dish is now almost ready to serve. Simply stir the chicken and pasta into the sauce until fully coated, then sprinkle with Parmesan and fresh parsley, if desired. Grab plates for 6 to 8, and enjoy.

Spicy Chicken Riggies Recipe
4.9 from 32 ratings
Per New York tradition, this Italian-American dish includes perfectly cooked pasta, juicy chicken, and soft red peppers, all coated in a creamy, spicy sauce.
Prep Time
Cook Time
spicy chicken riggies on plate
Total time: 30 minutes
  • 1 pound rigatoni
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 1 ½ pounds boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into 1 ½-inch pieces
  • 1 teaspoon salt, divided
  • ½ teaspoon pepper, divided
  • 1 large red bell pepper, diced
  • 1 large yellow onion, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes
  • ½ cup sliced drained hot cherry peppers
  • ½ cup heavy cream
Optional Ingredients
  • Shredded Parmesan cheese, for serving
  • Chopped fresh parsley, for garnish
  1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil, add the rigatoni, and cook according to package directions. Drain the pasta and set aside.
  2. Meanwhile, in a large skillet, heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the chicken and sprinkle ½ teaspoon salt and ¼ teaspoon pepper onto the meat. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the chicken is completely cooked through. Transfer to a plate and set aside.
  3. Add the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil to the same skillet, followed by the bell pepper, onion, garlic, and remaining salt and pepper. Cook, stirring frequently, until the vegetables soften, about 5-6 minutes.
  4. Add the crushed tomatoes and cherry peppers to the skillet. Bring to a simmer and cook, stirring occasionally, until the sauce thickens slightly, about 5 minutes.
  5. Mix in the cream until combined. Add the chicken and pasta and stir until coated. Top with Parmesan and parsley if desired, and serve.
Calories per Serving 629
Total Fat 20.8 g
Saturated Fat 6.7 g
Trans Fat 0.3 g
Cholesterol 105.2 mg
Total Carbohydrates 72.0 g
Dietary Fiber 6.3 g
Total Sugars 11.1 g
Sodium 699.8 mg
Protein 38.9 g
The information shown is Edamam’s estimate based on available ingredients and preparation. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.
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