Sick of liver yet?
This recipe, which I came across while browsing the Wall Street Journal’s Off-Duty section, was what inspired me to pick up some livers in the first place.
The article in question talked about multiple uses for the versatile organ meat, but outside of making mousse, the included pasta recipe really stuck with me.
Luckily, the greenmarket had everything I needed—perfect cipollini onions, the most beautiful sage I’ve ever seen, fresh butter and big bags of meaty chicken livers. I used fresh rigatoni, but dried noodles would work just the same.
Rigatoni With Chicken Livers, Cipollini Onions and Sage
Adapted from Mark Vetri’s Rustic Italian Food
1 lb. refrigerated fresh rigatoni
3 tbsp. unsalted butter, plus 1-2 tbsp. for sauce
8 small cippolini onions, peeled and thinly sliced into rings
12 fresh sage leaves
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. black pepper
8 oz. chicken livers, sinew removed, minced
1/2 c. Pecorino-Romano, grated
1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Drop in pasta, quickly return to a boil and cook until pasta is tender yet firm, 2-7 minutes depending how long it has been refrigerated. Drain pasta, reserving the cooking water.
2. Meanwhile, melt 3 tbsp. butter in a large sauté pan over medium-high heat. Add onions and sage and cook until lightly browned, 3-4 minutes. Season with salt and pepper and add chicken livers, cooking 1 minute. Add a splash of reserved pasta water, scraping the pan bottom as you collect it.
3. Add drained rigatoni to the pan. Toss with cheese and additional butter and pasta water as needed to make a creamy sauce.
4. Adjust seasoning as needed, then divide among pasta bowls and garnish with grated Parmesan.
Even if you think you don’t like liver, as the author in the aforementioned article did, dishes like this can change your mind. The buttery richness of the sauce mellows out any overwhelming tinges of liver that can be off-putting.
This is a far cry from the liver and onions your mom used to make.