My last published recipe was for chicken liver pâté. It’s a great way to use up a good number of chicken livers, but not so useful for just one or two.
I’m a big advocate of buying local, pasture-raised chickens, the kind that actually live outside (not in a barn with the door open). Not only is raising animals in such a way more humane, it is also more agriculturally sustainable and more delicious to eat. It’s a pleasure to work in the kitchen with chickens that look healthy and that are fresh enough to have no odor. Buying whole chickens is the most economical, and whole chickens almost always include the heart, liver, and gizzards.
If you find yourself with a single chicken or maybe two, you’ll have a single liver or maybe two to cook. You can always freeze them and wait until you have enough to make pate, but if you’d like to cook them right away, here is a recipe for you.
Rigatoni with chicken livers and tomatoes (for one or two people)
I’ve written this recipe in the most casual style, not only because I’ve never written down exact quantities but also to make the point that cooking is improvisational, rarely exact. A little more of this or that, while making a different dish, rarely makes a dish better or worse, just different.
While the pasta water is heating up, sauté a little onion and/or garlic in a little olive oil. When the onion/garlic has taken on a little color and softened (garlic is much quicker than onion), add a chicken liver or two, roughly chopped with a knife or a pair of scissors.
Sauté the liver until it has lost its raw color, and add a little chopped rosemary and/or sage. When the herbs are aromatic, add some high-quality imported canned tomatoes and crush by hand or with a fork. Season with salt and lower the heat to simmer gently for 10 minutes or so.
Meanwhile, cook the pasta in abundantly salted water until al dente. Just before the pasta is ready, add a little benediction of olive oil or perhaps a pat of butter along with a little chopped parsley. If the sauce is too dry, add a little water, either plain or the salty, starchy pasta water.
Drain the pasta and toss in the pan for 30 seconds or less. Serve at once.