Rigatoni with Roasted Chicken and Saffron

rigatoni with saffron

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!

Rigatoni with Roasted Chicken & Saffron
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Serves: 4
  • 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
  1. 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.
  2. 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.
Saffron can be found in the spice section of many grocery stores. If your grocer doesn't carry saffron, try here.

saffron with onion and cream

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.”


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