Chicken riggies or Utica riggies is an Italian-American pasta dish native to the Utica-Rome area of New York State. It is a pasta-based dish usually consisting of chicken, rigatoni and hot or sweet peppers in a spicy cream and tomato sauce, although many variations exist.
The origins of "riggies" have been disputed and lost in time. Many of the chefs from the Utica area seem to have a claim to the dish, yet there seems to be no clear idea who was the originator.
In one version of the origin, Bobby Hazelton came up with chicken riggies when he and Richie Scamardo owned the Clinton House restaurant in the strip mall in Clinton. In another version, a chef from Dominique’s Chesterfield Restaurant in Utica invented riggies in the 80s.
The first annual Riggiefest was held in Utica, NY, in 2005 at the Utica Memorial Auditorium. Riggiefest is a contest which determines what restaurant makes the best riggies in the area. The best riggies will win its creator the prestigious "Riggie Cup". All money made during the fest is donated directly to the YWCA. In 2008, the festival made over $300,000.
Recent Riggie Cup winners include:
- Teddy's Restaurant in Rome, NY (2010)
- Secret Garden Restaurant in Utica, NY (2009)
- Route 69 Steakhouse and Saloon in Whitesboro, NY (2008)
- Teddy's Restaurant in Rome, NY (2007)
- Teddy's Restaurant in Rome, NY (2006)
- Teddy's Restaurant in Rome, NY (2005)
Teddy's was inducted into the Chicken Riggies Hall of Fame in 2008 after winning the competition three years in a row. That year Teddy's stepped aside to allow other restaurants a chance at the title. Teddy's winning recipe was published in Mohawk Valley Living.
- Kahler, Colleen Passalacqua (22 April 2009). "Controversy surrounds chicken riggies' origin". Utica Daily News. Retrieved 18 December 2009.
- Donovan, Andrew (25 April 2009). "Secret Garden Restaurant wins 2009 RiggieFest Cup". WKTC.Com. Retrieved 18 December 2009.[dead link]
- Dancy, David (1 May 2008). "Route 69 Steakhouse takes the Riggie Cup". Life&Times of Utica. Retrieved 18 December 2009.
- Sinha, Chinki (31 Mar 2008). "Riggiefest ‘highlights region’s diversity’". Observer-Dispatch. Retrieved 18 December 2009.
- "Featuring Recipes & Tips from Local Restaurants". Mohawk Valley Living. Retrieved 18 December 2009.
- Dellecese, Dave (24 September 2007). "Locals react as Rachael Ray teaches nation how to cook chicken riggies". WKTV. Retrieved 21 February 2013.
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