Spelt Rigatoni with Chicken Livers, Leeks and Sage


Chef Marco Canora likes spelt pasta, which is made with an ancient strain of wheat, but any good-quality whole-wheat rigatoni will work. Just check the ingredient list to make sure it's whole grain and doesn't contain sugar, colorings or other additives. Canora also recommends buying livers from pastured chickens because they're more nutritious than those from factory-farmed birds. Slideshow: More Chicken Liver Recipes

Spelt Rigatoni with Chicken Livers, Leeks and Sage
Photo: © Con Poulos
Total Time:
40 mins
4 to 6


  • 1 pound spelt rigatoni

  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter

  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

  • 3 scallions, thinly sliced

  • 2 leeks, white and light green parts only, thinly sliced

  • 1 large shallot, thinly sliced

  • Fine sea salt

  • Pepper

  • 2 tablespoons chopped sage

  • 1 pound chicken livers—trimmed, patted dry and cut into 1/2-inch pieces

  • 1/4 cup dry white wine

  • 1 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese

  • Lemon wedges, for serving


  1. In a large pot of salted boiling water, cook the rigatoni until al dente, about 8 minutes. Drain, reserving 1/2 cup of the pasta water.

  2. Meanwhile, in a large, deep skillet, melt 2 tablespoons of the butter in the olive oil. Add the scallions, leeks and shallot and season with salt and pepper. Cook over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 8 minutes. Stir in the sage.

  3. Increase the heat to high. Season the livers with salt and pepper and add them to the skillet. Cook, stirring occasionally, until golden all over, about 2 minutes. Add the wine and cook until evaporated, 1 minute.

  4. Add the pasta, 1/4 cup of the reserved pasta water, 1/2 cup of the cheese and the remaining 1 tablespoon of butter to the livers and season with salt and pepper. Remove the skillet from the heat and toss the pasta. Add the remaining pasta water if necessary. Transfer the pasta to plates, top with the remaining 1/2 cup of cheese and serve with lemon wedges.

Suggested Pairing

Earthy chicken livers are fantastic with a minerally, fruit-forward red wine like Nerello Mascalese from Sicily’s Mount Etna.

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