Chicken Liver Ragù Rigatoni

For restaurant-quality pasta at home, learning to use pasta cooking liquid to finish the sauce is essential—the dissolved starch in the water thickens the sauce while suspending the fat in a cream emulsion that clings to the noodles. For the best result, we love artisanal pastas like Pastaio Via Corta, Rustichella d’Abruzzo, Martelli, and Seggiano Organic. Each of these companies extrudes their pastas through bronze dies and makes their doughs from 100 percent durum semolina wheat, creating a rougher texture that helps the sauce cling to the noodle. Using store-bought chicken liver mousse makes this recipe quick without sacrificing flavor.

Chicken Liver Ragu Rigatoni
Photo: Victor Protasio
Total Time:
25 mins


  • 12 ounces uncooked bronze-cut rigatoni pasta (such as Barilla Collezione)

  • 5 tablespoons cold unsalted butter (2 1/2 ounces), cut into 1/2-inch pieces, divided

  • 1/4 cup finely chopped shallot (from 1 large shallot)

  • 1 1/2 tablespoons (3/4 ounce) dry sherry

  • 3/4 cup chicken stock

  • 3 ounce chicken liver mousse (such as Fabrique Délices)

  • 3/4 ounce Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, finely grated (about 1/2 cup), plus more for garnish

  • 2 teaspoons chopped fresh rosemary, plus more for garnish

  • 1 teaspoon sherry vinegar

  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper


  1. Cook pasta according to master technique (until very al dente, about 3 minutes shorter than package directions call for).

  2. While pasta cooks, melt 2 tablespoons butter in a large skillet over medium. Cook, stirring often, until butter smells slightly nutty and turns light golden brown, 4 to 5 minutes. Add shallot; cook, stirring often, until softened, about 2 minutes. Add sherry; cook until slightly reduced, about 20 seconds. Add stock; bring to a simmer over medium-high. Gradually whisk in 2 tablespoons butter, one piece at a time, waiting until butter is nearly melted before adding the next piece. Return to a simmer over medium-high; simmer 1 minute.

  3. Using tongs or a spider, transfer pasta to skillet, reserving cooking liquid in pot. Increase heat under skillet to high. Gradually stir in chicken liver mousse (about 2 tablespoons at a time), alternating with cooking liquid (about 1/4 cup at a time), stirring and shaking skillet constantly, until a creamy sauce forms and coats the pasta, making sure each addition of mousse is creamy and blended before the next addition, 4 to 5 minutes total.

  4. Remove skillet from heat; stir in cheese, rosemary, vinegar, pepper, and remaining 1 tablespoon butter until blended. Divide among 4 bowls; garnish with additional cheese and rosemary.

Suggested Pairing

Earthy, medium-bodied Tuscan red.

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