Monday, January 24, 2011

Rigatoni with Chicken Thighs and Sausage

Baby, it's cold outside! Brrr. The temps are headed for 18 degrees! Time for hot chocolate with whipped cream and hearty meals that stick to your ribs. I don't cook pasta very often, but the frigid weather had me longing for a nice dish of al dente pasta with a hearty sauce. The only problem is that I'm often at a loss for a good sauce. Yes, I know about the stuff in jars, but homemade is always better.

So, I did what I often do when it comes to pasta sauces. Checked out recipes. Too light, too summery, too exotic, too spicy -- in the end, I made up my own and it's a nice week night dinner that doesn't take long to prepare. The most time consuming part is cutting up the chicken thighs -- but they don't take long to cook, so I figure it balances out. It's a very easy sauce to make, so don't shy away.

Rigatoni with Chicken Thighs and Sausage

1-2 tablespoons olive oil
6 boneless chicken thighs
1/4 cup flour
2 pork sausages, sliced (I used Bratwurst!)
1/2 cup white wine
1 leek, sliced (1/3 cup chopped onion would be fine)
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon oregano
28 ounces diced tomatoes (2 small cans or 1 large one)
salt to taste
heavy cream
8-10 ounces rigatoni or penne

Cut the chicken thighs into 3/4 inch squares, trimming any fat. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and turn, then add the flour and turn several times to coat.

Heat the olive oil and brown the chicken thighs. Add the sliced sausage. Scoop the meat out and set it aside.

Pour the white wine into the pan to deglaze it and add the leek, garlic and oregano. When the leek and garlic have softened, add the diced tomatoes and return the meat to the sauce.

Meanwhile, cook the pasta according to the instructions on the package.

Simmer the sauce gently until the chicken is cooked through. This doesn't take long! Don't overcook the chicken. In fact if you're waiting for everyone to arrive, bring it to a simmer and turn it off. Reheat when everyone is ready to sit down to eat, making sure the chicken has cooked through.

Salt to taste. Remove from heat and pour cream into the sauce -- Rachel Ray style -- by pouring it in a circle twice (eyeball it!).

Ladle sauce over pasta and enjoy!


  1. Sounds wonderful...something warm for a cold evening! I bet the dark meat makes this recipes especially tasty. Yum!

  2. Elizabeth, I wanted to use thighs because they're much more economical than chicken breasts, and they're loaded with flavor. It seems like most recipes use chicken breasts because they cook so quickly, but thighs cook fast, too, and are a nice change.

    ~ Krista

  3. I love using chicken thighs, Krista. I completely agree with you re: the flavor. And, unbelievably, I can sometimes get them for 69 cents a pound. Unheard of these days. But they make great soup and now a great pasta entree! Great recipe!

  4. Krista, love this. So much flavor. Love the oregano in the dish. Yum! It's warm in California, but this still sounds good. Even for breakfast. Hmmm, do I have chicken thighs somewhere in the house? I've got the rest.


  5. Wow, does this sound good. Italian-style foods are a great antidote for snow and ice, aren't they? I can just smell this now--mmmmmmm!

  6. Julie, they're a bargain at my store, too. And already boned! What could be easier?

    Avery, I hope you find some chicken thighs in the freezer. The chicken turns out very soft and the sausage adds just a bit more flavor.

    Laineshots, it smelled great! I'll be making it again -- especially since we're not done with snow and ice around these parts.

    ~ Krista

  7. Lunch time! Okay, I need that plate now. :) Brava, Krista, for the tribute to chicken thighs. Chiming in with agreement on the thigh issue. They're economical, the dark meat brings a deeper, richer flavor to dishes like this one, and they don't dry out as easily as breasts. I'm also totally lovin' the bratwurst idea! I'm always eyeing them in the store (wanting a reason to buy them). Now I have one. I'll be making this recipe for sure.

    Stay warm!
    ~ Cleo Coffeehouse
    Cleo Coyle on Twitter

  8. This looks absolutely yummy. Will appear on our menu soon. It was snowing this morning, so I put soup fixings in the crock pot. But this is on the list!

    Terry's Place
    Romance with a Twist--of Mystery

  9. ooh, I like this recipe and I'll chime in on how inexpensive thighs are and the flavor that you get. Going to buy some pasta tonight.

  10. I hadn't thought of using chicken thighs ... great tip and a delicious recipe I intend to try tonight!!
    Thanks Krista!

  11. I also love using chicken thighs in recipes. This sort of reminds me of the attempt I made to make Butter Chicken. I decided that Indian food must be an acquired taste, or I did something really, really wrong LOL. The tomato cream sauce though, was a hit, and I much prefer pasta to rice, so I think I might try again, without the Indian spices.
    Update for Riley: I stopped resisting temptation and had a Southern Sunday meal this weekend: Goulash, fried potatoes, pinto beans, and cornbread. Good thing for our arteries I don't do that very often!

  12. Cleo, I'm sure it's cold up your way, too. BTW, bratwurst is very good on its own! You don't need a excuse to buy it. However, it varies widely from brand to brand. I'm a fan of Niman's Ranch and Organic Prairie. In NY, there are probably loads of butchers who still make their own -- yum!

    ~ Krista

  13. Terry, I hauled out my crock pit just the other day. I think it will be pressed into use this week.

    Dru, I hope you love this. It's so nice and warm and, well it's comfort food!

    Hannah, I have to find more ways to use chicken thighs. Since they're dark meat, they tolerate a bit more cooking than chicken breasts and turn out wonderfully tender and tasty.

    ~ Krista

  14. Shel, I *love* Indian food. I was delighted when adorable Aarti won The Next Food Network Star, but when I checked out one of her recipes (that sounded great!) it must have contained 20-25 ingredients. Okay, many were spices, but the whole thing sounded like a project, definitely not a quick dinner.

    ~ Krista, who may leave Indian cooking to the pros at Indian restaurants

  15. It is definitely pasta weather, no? This sounds delicious, Krista. :)

  16. Um, maybe not to a vegetarian, eh, Wendy? I suppose you could substitute soy sausage . . .

    ~ Krista