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A decadent recipe for rigatoni with wine-braised chicken and saffron cream

The delicate flavor of saffron infuses the cream-based sauce while chicken is simmered in white wine until cooked. They are combined with rigatoni for a restaurant quality meal that is sure to impress.

Rigatoni with wine-braised chicken and saffron cream

Saffron may be the most expensive spice in the world, but fortunately you don’t need much to imbue dishes with its seductive flavor. Soaking saffron in hot liquid first is a great way to extract the maximum amount of flavor from the valuable spice. Though impressive, the dish comes together in about an hour and is absolutely company-worthy — though it also makes for a special weeknight main. Although the recipe calls for rigatoni, your favorite pasta shape may be substituted.

Rigatoni recipe with wine-braised chicken and saffron cream

Serves 4 to 6


  • 2 to 2-1/2 pounds whole chicken breast, cut into large pieces
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 cups chopped white onions (or a combination of onions and shallots)
  • 6 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 2 cups dry white wine
  • 1 teaspoon saffron threads, crushed
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 1 pound rigatoni
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 2 tablespoons (or more) fresh lemon juice
  • 2/3 cup chopped fresh basil


  1. Season the chicken with salt and pepper.
  2. Heat oil in heavy large skillet over medium-high heat.
  3. Add chicken and cook until golden, about seven minutes per side. Transfer chicken to plate.
  4. Add onions and garlic to drippings in skillet; sauté until onions are slightly softened, seven to eight minutes.
  5. Add wine and saffron to skillet; bring to boil. Continue to boil until liquid is thickened and reduced by less than half, about eight minutes.
  6. Add two cups chicken broth to skillet. Return chicken to skillet; bring to boil. Reduce heat to low.
  7. Cover; simmer gently until chicken is very tender (adjust heat to prevent boiling and turn chicken over after 20 minutes), 30 to 45 minutes total.
  8. Transfer chicken to plate and cool. Reserve skillet with juices. Shred chicken meat; transfer to a medium bowl and reserve.
  9. Cook pasta in pot of boiling salted water until just tender but still firm to bite, stirring occasionally. Drain; return to pot.
  10. Meanwhile, add cream to juices in skillet and boil until sauce is reduced to 2-1/2 cups and is thick enough to coat spoon, about 10 minutes.
  11. Stir in two tablespoons lemon juice and then chicken pieces. Stir over medium heat until heated through, adding more broth to thin sauce as needed and adding more lemon juice by the teaspoonful, if desired, about five minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
  12. Add chicken mixture to pasta in pot and toss to coat. Stir in basil. Serve pasta in large bowls and garnish with chiffonade basil.

Saffron extract may help curb your appetite and help you lose weight >>

More saffron recipes

Meatless Monday: Saffron pilaf with grilled vegetables
Saffron-rice chicken recipe
Shrimp with lemon and saffron olive oil

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