This was a traditional Sunday dish for my family when I was growing up. On Saturdays, Nonna Rosa would prepare one or two of the chickens that roamed our courtyard, butchering them, plucking the feathers, and cutting them into pieces. On Sunday morning, she would make soup from the neck, head, innards, and feet; from the rest, she made sugo or ragù sauce. Courtyard chickens always took a little longer to cook, and while the sugo was cooking we would make fuzi. With a few slices of prosciutto and a salad as an appetizer, that was our Sunday dinner. Fuzi are a rendition of garganelli, but when you are making them fresh each piece of diamond-shaped dough has to be gently wrapped around a finger or wooden dowel and two opposite corners of the diamond pressed together. The fuzi are pulled off the finger and, like soldiers, placed next to each other on a wooden board, to dry and wait to be dumped into a pot of boiling salted water, drained, and tossed with the chicken ragù topped with grated cheese.
- 1 quart low-sodium chicken broth
- 1/2 cup dried porcini
- 6 bone-in, skinless chicken thighs (about 2 1/4 pounds)
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
- 1 medium onion, finely chopped
- 3 tablespoons tomato paste
- 4 ounces chicken livers, trimmed, finely chopped
- 2 fresh bay leaves
- 1 sprig fresh rosemary
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
- 1 cup dry white wine
- 12 ounces mixed mushrooms (such as button, cremini, oyster, shiitake, chanterelle), sliced
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh Italian parsley
- 1 pound fresh fuzi (recipe linked here)
- 1/2 cup freshly grated Grana Padano
Warm the stock in a small saucepan over low heat. Ladle 1 cup stock over the porcini in a spouted measuring cup, and let the mushrooms soften, about 10 minutes. Drain and chop the porcini, reserving the soaking liquid.
Season the chicken with 1 teaspoon salt and several grinds of pepper. Heat the olive oil in a large Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the chicken pieces, in batches if needed, and brown on both sides, about 2 minutes per side. Remove to a plate as they brown.
Once all of the chicken is out of the pot, add the onion, and cook until it begins to soften, about 4 minutes. Make a space in the pan, and add the tomato paste to that spot. Cook and stir the tomato paste there for a minute, until it turns a shade or so darker, then stir into the onion pieces. Add the chicken livers. Cook and stir until they’re no longer raw
on the outside, about 2 minutes. Add the chopped porcini, the bay leaves, rosemary, and cloves. Pour in the white wine, and simmer until it’s reduced by half, about 2 minutes.
Add the chicken pieces, and pour in the porcini-soaking liquid, leaving any grit that remains in the bottom of the cup. Ladle in enough stock just to cover the chicken. Adjust the heat so the sauce is simmering gently. Cook, covered, for 20 minutes.
Uncover, and add the fresh mushrooms and the remaining stock. Stir, and continue to simmer until the chicken is falling from the bone and the sauce is thick, about 20 to 25 minutes more.
Turn off the heat, and remove the chicken pieces. Discard the bones and shred the chicken back into the pot. Discard the rosemary stem and bay leaves. Taste, and season with salt if needed.
To serve: Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil for the pasta. Bring the sauce to a simmer, and stir in the parsley. Add the fuzi to the boiling water, and cook until al dente, 3 to 4 minutes. In the meantime, remove half of the sauce to a large skillet, and bring it to a simmer. Remove the fuzi with a spider strainer directly into the simmering sauce. Drizzle with a little olive oil, and toss to coat the pasta in the sauce, adding more sauce and a little pasta water if it seems dry. Remove from the heat, stir in the grated cheese, and serve, with the extra sauce on the side.