Casarecce reggiano with chicken dumplings

Casarecce reggiano with chicken dumplings

Best Kitchen Basics
Petrina Tinslay

I first learnt the technique of cooking pasta in its own sauce from reading Alain Ducasse, a native Niçois. I subsequently learnt that it was a common technique across southern Italy and not restricted to the French city of Nice. Cultures blur along borders and this dish, while tipping its hat to the border city, has a Jewish influence with the chicken dumplings, and I think a little Greek with the addition of lemon juice. This dish has always been on the menu at Pei Modern and all we ask is a little patience while we prepare it to order.


Quantity Ingredient
80ml olive oil
100g butter
300g casarecce
700ml chicken stock
150g parmigiano reggiano
1/2 lemon, juiced
white pepper

Confit gizzards

Quantity Ingredient
100g chicken gizzards
150ml duck fat

Chicken dumplings

Quantity Ingredient
600g boneless, skinless chicken breast
4 chicken livers
10 chicken hearts
180ml pouring cream
1/2 nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon white pepper


  1. To make the confit gizzards, put the gizzards and duck fat in a heavy-based saucepan over low heat and simmer for 2 hours or until tender. Drain and cool then chop the gizzards coarsely.
  2. To make the chicken dumplings, use a kitchen knife to separately chop the chicken breast, livers and hearts into a coarse mince.
  3. Transfer half the chopped breast to a food processor and process until quite fine. Add the cream in a thin stream and continue to process to form a mousse. Add the chicken heart, liver, gizzards and remaining chicken breast, nutmeg, 1 teaspoon salt and the white pepper to the food processor and pulse to combine.
  4. Cook a small spoonful in simmering water until firm to test for balance of flavour and texture. Adjust the seasoning to taste.
  5. To make the casarecce, put the olive oil and 40 g of the butter in a heavy-based saucepan over low heat. Add the pasta and stir to coat it evenly. Add the chicken stock and cook for 10 minutes, stirring constantly.
  6. Using a dessertspoon, make small balls of the chicken dumpling mixture and add it to the pasta (approximately 3–4 balls per person). Cook for a further 10 minutes.
  7. Remove the pan from the heat and finish with the Parmigiano Reggiano and the remaining butter. Finish with a squeeze of lemon juice and a generous grinding of white pepper.


  • We like Benedetto Cavalieri casarecce, or any hard durum wheat product, or use good-quality rigatoni or penne instead. The starch from the pasta thickens the sauce as it reduces and makes it incredibly rich, so watch the salt levels.
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