Some Serious Dish: Chef Marcus Samuelsson Shares His Recipe for Doro Wat Rigatoni

Kristin Detterline | November 4, 2020 | Food & Drink Food & Drink Feature

“This is my son Zion’s favorite dish. The rigatoni stew just gets better and better the longer it sits, and you end up with a dish that you can enjoy more the second time around, two or three days later," Samuelsson says. "When we’re cooking at home, we like to add butternut squash to the mix. I eat doro wat stew for breakfast with a poached egg, and for lunch Maya serves it with rigatoni, which is basically this recipe. It starts as a main dish, but it becomes a delicious leftover.”

Samuelsson and wife Maya Haile son ZionSamuelsson and his wife, Maya Haile, with son Zion

Doro Wat Rigatoni, Serves 6 to 8


5 lb. chicken leg quarters, skin removed

2 tsp. salt

1⁄4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper

2 large red onions, peeled and quartered

1 2-inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and sliced

8 cloves garlic

2 1⁄2 Tbsp. berbere seasoning

1 28-oz. can crushed tomatoes 8 Tbsp. butter

1 tsp. ground fenugreek


1 butternut squash, peeled and cut into 1⁄2-inch cubes

1 Tbsp. olive oil

1 tsp. salt

1⁄4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper


2 quarts whole milk

1⁄2 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice 1⁄2 tsp. salt

1 lb. rigatoni, cooked al dente

Ayib, to serve

Freshly grated Parmesan, for garnish Fresh basil leaves, for garnish

For the doro wat:

Season the chicken with salt and pepper and set aside at room temperature. Place the onion, ginger and garlic in a food processor and pulse until the consistency is a chunky puree. Place the butter and fenugreek in a large, 8- to 10-quart Dutch oven and set over medium-high heat. Once the butter has melted, add the onion mixture and stir to combine. Decrease the heat to low, cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion is melted and caramelized, about 45 minutes.

Heat the oven to 350 F.

Add the berbere and stir until fragrant, two to three minutes. Add the tomatoes and stir to combine and bring to a simmer, about five minutes. Place the chicken in the pot and spoon the sauce over the chicken. Cover and place in the oven and braise until chicken is cooked through and tender, about one hour.

For the ayib:

Line a colander or a fine-mesh sieve with a layer of cheesecloth. Set aside.

Place the milk in a medium saucepan set over medium-low heat and bring to a slight simmer, 200 F to 205 F. Remove the pot from the heat and slowly stir in the lemon juice. Continue slowly stirring until curds begin to form, one to two minutes.

Spoon the curds into the prepared colander. Gently rinse under cold running water until the water runs clear. Place the sieve in a bowl and cover with a clean dish towel. Refrigerate for three hours to allow liquid to drain. Transfer to an airtight container, add salt and gently toss to combine. Store refrigerated for up to one week.

For the squash:

Place the squash, oil, salt and pepper into a large mixing bowl and toss
to coat well. Transfer the squash to a baking sheet, spread into a single layer and roast in oven for the last 30 to 35 minutes, next to the chicken.

Toss occasionally and cook until squash is tender.

Doro wat rigatoni in Samuelssons cookbookDoro wat rigatoni, featured in Marcus Samuelsson’s new cookbook, The Rise: Black Cooks and the Soul of American Food

To serve:

Place the cooked pasta into a large serving bowl. Add the sauce from the chicken and the squash and toss to combine. Place the chicken on top, dot with the ayib and garnish with freshly grated Parmesan and torn basil leaves.

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Photography by: Excerpted from The Rise by Marcus Samuelsson with Osayi Endolyn and Recipes with Yewande Komolafe and Tamie Cook. Copyright © 2020 by Marcus Samuelsson. Photographs by Angie Mosier. Used with permission of Voracious, an imprint of Little, Brown and Company. New York, N.Y. All rights reserved