The exotic metallic honey flavour, hay-like fragrance and deep red colour make saffron a highly sought after spice. Traded for over four millennia, saffron contributes a bright yellow-orange colouring to foods. It is widely used in Indian, Iranian, and European cuisines. The spice is derived from the flower of Crocus sativus and there are only a few stigmas per flower. The delicate stigmas are hand-harvested, and because of this, saffron is the most expensive spice in the world. Enjoy this family favourite!
- 1 pound roasted chicken
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 onion
- 6 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
- 2 cups dry white wine
- 1 teaspoon saffron threads
- 2 cups chicken broth
- 1 pound rigatoni pasta, cooked
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- ⅔ cup basil leaves, torn
- 1 tablespoon chives, chopped
- salt and pepper to taste
- Place a dutch oven over medium-high heat. Cook onion and garlic in olive oil for 7 minutes, or until tender. Add wine and saffron threads. Boil until liquid is thick and reduced by less than half, about 7 or 8 minutes.
- Cook pasta and add to pot. Add cream and boil until sauce is reduced to 2½ cups. It should be thick enough to coat a spoon, about 9 or 10 minutes. Stir in lemon juice. then add roasted chicken. Stir over medium heat until heated through adding chicken broth to thin sauce if desired, about 5 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste. Add pasta to chicken and saffron mixture and toss to coat. Stir in basil.
I paired this rich and creamy pasta dish with a fruit forward Zinfandel from Tobin James Winery in Paso Robles, California. Zinfandels from this region offer spice galore and jammy textures. Berries, berries, and more berries!
Movie Night suggestion: Bandits. Two bandits (Bruce Willis and Billy Bob Thornton) fall in love with the girl they’ve kidnapped (Cate Blanchett). “There’s something else. Wait. Don’t tell me. It’s saffron.”