Recipe: Uncle Vinny's Rigatoni | Recipes | Hudson Valley | Hudson Valley; Chronogram

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Recipe: Uncle Vinny's Rigatoni

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This month, Terrapin Restaurant in Rhinebeck, NY celebrates its 20th anniversary. In honor of this occasion, chef-owner Josh Kroner shares his beloved rigatoni recipe.

"This recipe comes from my Uncle Vinny, my Mom's brother. Vinny is a former Marine and restaurateur, big and intimidating, who looks like he just walked off the set of 'The Sopranos.'  His restaurant was a very successful Italian joint in Westchester," Kroner says. "Working in the kitchen at Vinny’s was my first real restaurant job. I learned about working in a high paced stressful environment—something I would see a lot of in the future. I learned all the basic Italian restaurant dishes."

Ingredients

  • 1 pound rigatoni
  • 3 cups marinara sauce
  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • ½ cup sherry
  • ½ cup white wine
  • ½ pound boneless chicken breast cut into 1” cubes
  • 4 cups spinach, cleaned
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons garlic, chopped
  • 3 tablespoons all purpose flour (plus more for dredging)
  • Salt, pepper, sugar to taste

Directions

  • Heat 4 quarts of water to boil. Add enough salt to make the water taste like sea water.
  • Add pasta and cook to specifications on package for al dente pasta. Drain pasta and reserve.
  • While the pasta is cooking, heat oil to near smoking in a large sauté pan.
  • Season chicken breast cubes with salt and pepper, dredge in flour and add to hot oil. Brown lightly on all sides and add chopped garlic.
  • Cook until garlic starts to turn brown (but not black!) and add flour.
  • Cook for another 30 seconds and deglaze pan with white wine and sherry.
  • Stir quickly to integrate flour and then add stock and marinara and bring to boil, stirring constantly.
  • Add spinach and cook for one minute.
  • Toss with reserved pasta and season to taste with salt, pepper and sugar (if the marinara has a low sugar content).
  • Serve with Parmigiano-Reggiano.

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