By Laura Ratliff and Ryan Smith | May 24, 2012

If the idea of liver is off-putting to your taste buds, this is a recipe that may just coax you out of your skeptical uncertainty.  If you’re lucky you can find everything you need at the Greenmarket like the perfect cipollini onions, beautiful sage, fresh butter and big bags of meaty chicken livers.

Fresh rigatoni is recommended, but dried noodles would work just the same. Dishes like this can make you an instant believer, as 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 of yesteryear.

Photos by Laura Ratliff

Laura Ratliff and Ryan Smith are the authors of Smith & Ratliff, a New York City-based lifestyle blog. They write about food, cocktails, art, style and life in New York City. Follow them on Twitter: @smithratliff 

Rigatoni with Chicken Livers Recipe

Servings: 4
Calories: 250 per serving
Prep Time: 15 mins
Cook Time: 25 mins
Total Time: 40 mins


  • 1 lb.refrigerated fresh rigatoni
  • 3 tbsp.unsalted butter
  • 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.

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