Rigatoncini with chicken sauce

Rigatoncini with chicken sauce

Nuovo Mondo
Alan Benson

The sauce in this dish is fantastic when using braised home-grown chicken, but can be equally as good using an authentic free-range chicken. Do not smother the rigatoncini with too much sauce or even too much cheese. The balance of sauce, pasta and cheese must be delicate.

Stefano: Rigatoncini is short rigatoni. I love it. It really shows why the re are different pasta shapes, hundreds of them: each suits a sauce. I like it a lot with the sauce derived from a slow-cooked chook or a duck. In our Veneto farmhouse, my mum used to place the braising pot on top of the wood-fired stove and leave it there for a long time, occasionally topping up with a little stock or hot water.


Quantity Ingredient
80ml olive oil
100g Lardo, finely chopped
1 onion, finely chopped
2 celery, finely chopped
1 free-range chicken, cut into eight portions
1 garlic clove
12 sage leaves
1 rosemary, finely chopped
250ml white wine
3 tbsp tomato paste
500ml Chicken stock
salt and freshly ground black pepper
350g rigatoncini, see note
100g grated parmigiano reggiano cheese


  1. Heat the olive oil and lardo in a casserole large enough to fit the chicken. When the lardo has begun to melt, add the onion and celery, then add the chicken and turn to brown all over. Add the garlic, sage and rosemary to the dish, then pour in the wine and deglaze. Finally, add the tomato paste and season with salt and pepper. Cover the casserole dish with a lid, leaving the lid slightly askew so that some steam can escape. Cook for at least 1¼ hours, adding the stock gradually, about 125 ml stock every 10 minutes or so, making sure you leave enough time between the last addition and the time when the chicken is cooked, so that the sauce is well reduced and unctuous. Shake the pan or stir from time to time.
  2. Cook the rigatoncini in a saucepan of boiling salted water following the packet instructions. Drain well.
  3. Remove the chicken portions and set them aside (you can eat the chicken with a salad, or shred the meat and use in sandwiches). Add the rigatoncini and the cheese to the pan with the sauce and toss to combine. If you think it needs more oomph, add a little extra butter, but take it easy, you do not want a cholesterol bomb!
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