Chicken Liver Ragu

Chicken Liver Ragu

This Food & Wine recipe for Chicken Liver Ragu uses pasta cooking liquid to finish the sauce. The dissolved starch in the water thickens the sauce while suspending the fat in a cream emulsion that clings to the noodles.

Chicken Liver Ragu 

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Chicken Liver Ragu


  • 4 quart water
  • ¼ cup kosher salt
  • 12 ounce dried tube-shaped pasta (such as rigatoni or bombolotti)
  • 5 tablespoon cold, unsalted butter (cut into ½‑inch cubes, divided)
  • ¼ cup fienly chopped shallot
  • 1 ½ teaspoon dry sherry
  • 3/4 cup chicken stock
  • 3 ounce chicken liver mousse
  • 3/4 ounce Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, finely grated (plus more for garnish)
  • 2 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary (plus more for garnish)
  • 1 teaspoon sherry vinegar
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper


Bring water to boil over high heat. Stir in kosher salt. Cook pasta until very al dente, about 3 minutes shorter than package directions call for. 

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. 

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 ¼ 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. 

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.