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Chicken Riggies

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Utica Chicken Riggies are from my hometown in the vibrant city of Utica, New York, this dish is a flavorful fusion of tender chicken, sautéed peppers, onions, and a creamy tomato sauce, all tossed with al dente rigatoni pasta. Bursting with rich, savory flavors and a hint of spice, every bite of this dish is a celebration of culinary heritage and homestyle cooking.


Whether you’re sharing it with loved ones or savoring it solo, Utica Chicken Riggies promises to transport your taste buds to a place of pure satisfaction and warmth. Get ready to experience the ultimate comfort food delight

I hail from central New York, and when it comes to Chicken Riggies, I don’t mess around. Riggies aren’t just a dish here; they’re a local specialty, a culinary tradition that’s deeply ingrained in our culture. You can find them on almost every menu in the area, each restaurant offering its unique take on this beloved classic. In fact, we’re so passionate about our Riggies that we host competitions like Riggie Wars, where local restaurants battle it out to claim the title of the best Riggies in town

You can also find my recipe for Instant Pot Utica Chicken Riggies.


What are Utica Chicken Riggies?

Utica Chicken Riggies is a quintessential Italian-American pasta dish originating from Utica, New York. While variations abound, the classic recipe features tender chicken, cherry peppers, and a flavorful tomato sauce infused with spices, finished off with a luxurious touch of heavy cream and cheese.

If you’ve yet to experience the delight of this dish, I highly recommend giving it a try! The velvety richness of the heavy cream complements the tangy tomato sauce and savory chicken perfectly, creating a harmonious flavor profile that’s sure to tantalize your taste buds.


The original recipe for Utica Chicken Riggies traces back to a chef at Chesterfields Restaurant in Utica, NY, adding to its authentic charm and local heritage.


What you’ll love about Chicken Riggies:

  • Rich and Flavorful: Utica Chicken Riggies boasts a rich and savory flavor profile, combining tender chicken, tangy tomato sauce, and the perfect blend of spices. Each bite is bursting with deliciousness.
  • Creamy Indulgence: The addition of heavy cream lends a luxurious creaminess to the dish, elevating it to comfort food heaven. It adds a velvety texture that coats each rigatoni, making every mouthful a delight.
  • Versatile: While the classic recipe includes chicken and cherry peppers, Utica Chicken Riggies are highly customizable. You can easily tailor the dish to your preferences by adding different proteins, and veggies, or adjusting the spice level.
  • Local Tradition: Originating from Utica, New York, this dish is steeped in local tradition and culinary heritage. It’s not just a meal; it’s a beloved symbol of community pride and shared culinary experiences.
  • Crowd Pleaser: Whether you’re serving it up for a family dinner or entertaining guests, Utica Chicken Riggies are sure to be a hit. Its comforting flavors and satisfying texture make it a crowd-pleasing favorite for any occasion.
  • Easy to Make: Despite its gourmet taste, Utica Chicken Riggies are surprisingly easy to make. With just a few simple ingredients and some basic cooking techniques, you can whip up a delicious batch in no time.
  • Leftover Friendly: Utica Chicken Riggies taste even better the next day, making them perfect for leftovers. The flavors have time to meld together, resulting in an even more delicious dish when reheated.
  • A Taste of Home: Whether you’re a native of Utica or simply appreciate good food, Utica Chicken Riggies offer a taste of home and a sense of comfort that’s hard to beat. It’s like a warm hug in a bowl.
Riggie Ingredients

Ingredients for Chicken Riggies

  • Chicken breast
  • olive oil
  • salt
  • black pepper
  • Italian seasoning
  • crushed red pepper flakes
  • Onion
  • Green bell pepper
  • Red bell pepper
  • Baby Bella mushrooms
  • Hot cherry peppers
  • garlic
  • red wine, cabernet
  • chicken bouillon paste
  • tomato sauce
  • heavy cream
  • grated parmesan cheese
  • Rigatoni pasta
  • Parmesan cheese and parsley for garnish

Chicken Riggies Recipe:

  • In a large pot or Dutch oven over medium-high heat add the olive oil, chicken breast, salt, pepper, Italian seasoning, and crushed red pepper.
  • Cook until no longer pink on the outside. About 5 minutes. 
  • To the pot or dutch oven add the onion, bell peppers, mushrooms, and cherry peppers and cook until softened, about 5-7 minutes.
  • Add the minced garlic and red wine and cook for another 5 minutes.
  • Add the chicken bouillon paste, tomato sauce, and heavy cream.
  • Stir until incorporated and bring to a boil.
  • Turn the heat down to medium-low and simmer for 20 minutes stirring occasionally.
  • Add the grated parmesan cheese and stir until fully incorporated and slightly thickened. 
  • Add the cooked pasta and mix.
  • Put in a serving dish and garnish with Romano cheese or grated parmesan cheese and chopped fresh parsley.


Tips & Tricks

  • Quality Ingredients: Start with fresh, high-quality ingredients for the best flavor. Use ripe cherry peppers, flavorful tomatoes, and good-quality cheese to elevate the dish.
  • Balance the Spice: Adjust the amount of cherry peppers or hot sauce according to your preference for spice. Taste the sauce as you go and add more or less to achieve the perfect balance of heat.
  • Cook Chicken Perfectly: To ensure the chicken stays juicy and tender, cook it just until it’s no longer pink in the center, but not overcooked. Sauté it in batches if needed to avoid overcrowding the pan.
  • Deglaze the Pan: After sautéing the chicken and vegetables, deglaze the pan with a splash of white wine or chicken broth to scrape up any browned bits. This adds flavor to the sauce.
  • Simmer for Flavor: Let the sauce simmer gently to allow the flavors to meld together. This helps to develop a rich, flavorful sauce that coats the pasta beautifully.
  • Use Al Dente Pasta: Cook the rigatoni until it’s al dente, or slightly firm to the bite. This ensures the pasta holds its shape and texture when mixed with the sauce.
  • Finish with Cheese and Cream: Stir in grated Parmesan cheese and heavy cream at the end of cooking to add richness and creaminess to the dish. Be sure not to boil the cream to prevent curdling.
  • Garnish with Fresh Herbs: Sprinkle freshly chopped parsley or basil over the finished dish for a pop of color and freshness. It adds a nice contrast to the richness of the sauce.
  • Let it Rest: Allow the finished dish to rest for a few minutes before serving. This gives the flavors a chance to mingle and the sauce to thicken slightly, resulting in a more cohesive dish.

More Recipes from Utica:

FAQs about chicken riggies

To reheat leftover Utica Chicken Riggies, you can gently heat it in a skillet on the stovetop over medium heat, stirring occasionally until warmed through. Alternatively, you can reheat it in the microwave in short intervals, stirring in between, until heated to your desired temperature.

While Utica Chicken Riggies can be frozen, the texture of the sauce and pasta may change slightly upon reheating. It’s best to freeze the dish in an airtight container or freezer bag for up to 1-2 months. Thaw it overnight in the refrigerator before reheating.

The level of spiciness in Utica Chicken Riggies can vary depending on the amount of hot cherry peppers or hot sauce used in the recipe. However, it’s typically considered to have a moderate level of heat, which can be adjusted to suit individual preferences.

  1. Refrigeration: Allow the dish to cool down to room temperature before transferring it to an airtight container or resealable plastic bag. Refrigerate it promptly, and ensure it’s stored within two hours of cooking. Properly stored, Utica Chicken Riggies can last in the refrigerator for 3-4 days.
  2. Freezing: If you won’t be consuming the Chicken Riggies within a few days, consider freezing them for longer-term storage. Portion the dish into freezer-safe containers or resealable freezer bags. Be sure to remove as much air as possible to prevent freezer burn. Label the containers or bags with the date and freeze for up to 2-3 months.
  3. Reheating: When you’re ready to enjoy the stored Chicken Riggies, you can reheat them from the refrigerator or freezer. For refrigerated leftovers, reheat them gently on the stovetop over medium heat or in the microwave until warmed through, stirring occasionally. If reheating from frozen, thaw the dish in the refrigerator overnight before reheating using the same methods.
  4. Check for Freshness: Before reheating and consuming stored Chicken Riggies, always check for signs of spoilage such as off-putting odor, mold growth, or unusual texture. If the dish shows any signs of spoilage, discard it immediately.
Utica Chicken Riggies

Print Recipe


Chicken Riggies

Yield: 1
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 35 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes

Chicken Riggies AKA Utica Chicken Riggies has the right amount of heat in a rich and creamy cheesy sauce that is on top of Al dente rigatoni pasta with chicken, and tender vegetables.


  • 3 Chicken breast, sliced (about 2lbs)
  • 3 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 Tablespoon salt
  • 1 Tablespoon pepper
  • 1 Tablespoon italian seasoning
  • 1 Teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 1 Onion, sliced
  • 1 Green bell pepper, sliced
  • 1 Red bell pepper, sliced
  • 6oz Baby bella mushrooms, sliced
  • 3 Hot cherry peppers, chopped
  • 3 Cloves garlic, minced
  • ½ Cup red wine, cabernet
  • 2 Tablespoons chicken bouillon paste
  • 1 ½ Cups tomato sauce
  • 1 ½ Cups heavy cream
  • 1 ½ Cups grated parmesan cheese
  • 1lb Rigatoni pasta, cooked and drained
  • Parmesan cheese and parsley for garnish


  1. In a large pot or Dutch oven over medium-high heat add the olive oil, chicken breast, salt, pepper, Italian seasoning, and crushed red pepper.
  2. Cook until no longer pink on the outside. About 5 minutes. 
  3. To the pot or Dutch oven add the onion, bell peppers, mushrooms, and cherry peppers and cook until softened about 5-7 minutes.
  4. Add the minced garlic and red wine and cook for another 5 minutes.
  5. Add the chicken bouillon paste, tomato sauce, and heavy cream.
  6. Stir until incorporated and bring to a boil.
  7. Turn the heat down to medium-low and simmer for 20 minutes.
  8. Add the grated parmesan cheese and stir until fully incorporated and slightly thickened. 
  9. Add the cooked rigatoni and mix.
  10. Put in a serving dish and garnish with grated parmesan cheese and chopped fresh parsley.

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Nutrition Information:
Yield: 8 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 526Total Fat: 30gSaturated Fat: 15gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 12gCholesterol: 106mgSodium: 1768mgCarbohydrates: 36gFiber: 4gSugar: 7gProtein: 27g

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  1. I never heard of Chicken Riggies and then came across your recipe and had to try it. Very Good and easy to make. The next day when I reheated, I added a few more hot cherries and a couple Tbls. Of the juice from the jar. Next time I make it, I’m going to only cut cherries in half and add a small amount of juice at the end before serving.
    Thanks for sharing the recipe
    Five Star

  2. I’ve made Chicken Riggies a number of times. This recipe is fantastic. I just changed a few things. I saute the chicken until golden, then remove before its cooked. I proceed with recipe, adding mushrooms too. I use pepperoncini instead of cherry peppers. Add a little of the juice too.
    Add back the chicken toward the very end. It cooks thru and is tender!

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