Spaghetti with chicken liver

There are foods that get worse the more complicated you make them. Chicken livers need simplicity. This is very similar to a dish I used to eat all the time as a uni student in Adelaide, back in the days when it was full of fantastic cheap Italian bistros. The shallots – onions will do just as well but need more cooking – and maybe also the white wine, add the sweetness on which chicken livers thrive.

Ingredients for 4

600g chicken livers trimmed and chopped to preferred size
sliced shallots, maybe a couple of hundred grams
garlic finely chopped
white wine, several very large sloshes
olive oil
truffle oil – if it happens to be to hand, as it is in my kitchen just now


While the water is boiling and the spaghetti is cooking, (don’t forget to add salt or chicken stock) heat a large wok or similar, gently fry the shallots in a generous quantity of olive oil. You just want them soft, not brown at all. Towards the end of this add the garlic. Add wine, turn up the heat, let the wine bubble away until it smells cooked. The wine and other things in the pan should have combined to make something a little like a light sauce.

Now, add chicken livers and keep stirring when the spaghetti is quite close to cooked. Chicken livers don’t take long to cook and will keep doing so on the way to the table….It is really hard to order them in restaurants because it is one of the things restaurants feel obliged to overcook. I’d rather live dangerously and it seems I have to stay home to do that.

I fork the spaghetti from the pot into the sauce as I want a bit of the cooking liquid to combine with everything.

Stir well, bring to table, make large mess serving. Personally I don’t think it needs parmesan, but everybody else added it. I also have my doubts about the truffle oil: I have good quality real truffle oil, but all the same, unless it is on something extremely neutral in taste like scrambled eggs, I don’t notice the effect at all. On the other hand, it makes everybody think they are eating something extravagant…as if the chicken livers aren’t enough at 26CHF/kg here in Geneva!


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