I’ve never understood why some people are so averse to chicken livers – they have a luxuriously rich yet delicate flavor and best of all, they’re ridiculously inexpensive and take no time at all to cook.
Back in the UK in the ’80’s they became rather trendy and popped up ubiquitously in dishes such as – ‘A warm salad of chicken livers with sautéed wild mushrooms’ – or in mousse-like terrines and pâtés served with designer breads and cornichons.
Chicken livers have a great affinity for cognac and dessert wines such as Sauternes or Icewine and you’ll find a delicious and easy chicken liver mousse pâté recipe that I previously posted, here – perfect for entertaining (and it freezes like a dream).
Anyway, I feel the time has come to resurrect the humble chicken liver’s popularity via an Italian classic, ‘Pasta con Fegatini’. The rich, meaty sauce goes best with silky egg noodles (Tagliatelle or Pappardelle) and the quantities suggested here are for first course or light-lunch-sized portions, so just double them for an elegant and satisfying pasta main course.
If you can’t find crème fraîche, use heavy cream.
This is one of my absolute favorite pasta dishes and is a good excuse for opening a bottle of cognac!
EGG NOODLES with CHICKEN LIVERS, PROSCIUTTO & COGNAC
(Serves 4-6 as a first course)
8 oz (225g) of chicken livers, trimmed and patted dry on paper towel
3 tablespoons of olive oil
2 oz (50g) of butter
2 medium sized shallots, finely chopped
4 oz (100g) of prosciutto or cooked bacon, diced
1 tablespoon of chopped fresh sage
1 teaspoon of tomato purée/paste, dissolved in…
…4 fl oz (110ml) of warmed chicken broth
3 tablespoons of cognac/brandy
12 oz (350g) of egg noodles such as tagliatelle or pappardelle
5 fl oz (150ml) of crème fraîche
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
3 oz of freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese to serve
After trimming and discarding any membranes, fatty and discolored parts from the chicken livers and patting them dry, cut them into smallish 1 inch (2cm) pieces.
Get the water on for the pasta.
Heat the butter and olive oil together in a sauté pan and sauté the minced shallots, stirring over a medium heat until they’re translucent.
Add the prosciutto/bacon and sage – cook, stirring for a minute then add the chicken livers and combine well, stirring for a few minutes more or until the livers have lost their raw color. The pieces should still be slightly pink in the middle.
Add the warmed chicken broth with dissolved tomato paste to the pan – simmer gently for a couple of minutes then add the cognac and crème fraîche, stirring well to warm everything through.
Turn off the heat and season it to taste with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper.
If you timed it right, you can tip the sauce immediately on top of the cooked pasta in a warmed serving bowl, tossing gently to combine; otherwise keep it covered and if needed, warm it through before adding to the noodles.
Pass the grated Parmigiano Reggiano around separately.