There used to be a wonderful restaurant in Melville, Johannesburg, called Roma’s. It was my first introduction to authentic Italian food and in the early 90’s, we were still blissfully unaware that carbs were the root of all EVIL. In those days, Geoff and I would frequently pop over for a pasta and a bottle of Italian red wine. Happiness on a plate!
One of my favourite meals to enjoy at Roma’s was Fettucini Fegatini, which was delicately pan-fried, herby chicken livers in a creamy sauce poured over pasta. A touch of chilli, garlic and freshly grated Parmesan cheese and I was in heaven!
Roma’s sadly no longer exists and we’ve had to try and recreate the yumminess for ourselves.
It’s not something that we make that often for our friends as many people don’t seem to like chicken livers. Food of the Gods – but only if they are prepared just right – and that means crispy on the outside and soft and slightly pink on the inside.
So for those that are brave enough to eat chicken livers, cream and god-forbid, pasta, here is how we recreated (and possibly perfected) the dish:
You will need:
1 large onion, thinly sliced
A tub of good quality chicken livers
1 packet of chopped, streaky bacon
1/4 cup sherry
250 ml cream
1/2 punnet button mushrooms, sliced
Chilli (1/2 tsp crushed red dried)
1 cup parmesan cheese
1 cup flour
2 tsps origanum
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
A sprinkle of fresh parsley or wild rocket for garnish
Trim and cut the livers into small equal-sized portions. Roll the livers in flour seasoned well with origanum, salt and pepper.
Fry the livers separately in batches in a hot pan with a generous splash of olive oil (crispy on the outside, pink in centre) Turn after a minute or two. Place on a separate plate – a touch of seeping pinkness means it’s perfect!
Fry the onions gently until soft and slightly caramalised. Add the garlic, chilli and bacon and fry until the bacon is beginning to crisp up. Finally add the mushrooms and allow to simmer away.
Put the pasta on to boil in salted water.
Add sherry to the onions and if you feel brave enough, immediately flambé and once the alcohol has burnt off, add the cream.
Allow the cream to reduce for a few minutes and take on a slightly golden hue. Add the chicken livers. Mix gently and heat through.
Swirl this sauce through the steaming al dente penne, return to the heat for a minute or two and serve with extra garlic, chilli and parmesan on the side.
Garnish with freshly chopped Italian parsley and enjoy! 🍝🍷