Rigatoni with Braised Chicken and Saffron Cream 014

Rigatoni with Braised Chicken and Saffron Cream (recipe by Bon Appétit, September 2010)

The official start of autumn has really got me in the mood for comfort foods, and pasta is high up on the list. This easy to make and simply unforgettable rigatoni appears in a great article in Bon Appétit this month titled “The 10 Best New Restaurants in America,” and comes from Bar La Grassa in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

Ingredients
  • 2 1/2 to 2 3/4 pounds chicken thighs with skin and bones
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 cups chopped white onions
  • 6 garlic cloves, peeled, crushed
  • 2 cups dry white wine
  • 1 teaspoon saffron threads, crushed
  • 2 cups (or more) low-salt chicken broth
  • 1 pound paccheri (giant rigatoni) or regular rigatoni
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 2 tablespoons (or more) fresh lemon juice
  • 2/3 cup chopped fresh basil

Preparation

Sprinkle chicken with salt and pepper. Heat oil in heavy large skillet over medium-high heat. Add chicken, skin side down, to skillet and cook until golden, about 7 minutes per side. Transfer chicken to plate. Add onions and garlic to drippings in skillet; sauté until onions are slightly softened, 7 to 8 minutes. Add wine and saffron to skillet; bring to boil. Continue to boil until liquid is thickened and reduced by less than half, about 8 minutes. Add 2 cups chicken broth to skillet. Return chicken to skillet; bring to boil. Reduce heat to low. Cover; simmer gently until chicken is very tender (adjust heat to prevent boiling and turn chicken over after 30 minutes), about 1 hour total. Transfer chicken to plate and cool.

Reserve skillet with juices. Remove skin and bones from chicken and discard. Tear chicken meat into bite-size pieces; place in medium bowl and reserve.

Cook pasta in pot of boiling salted water until just tender but still firm to bite, stirring occasionally. Drain; return to pot.

Meanwhile, spoon off fat from juices in skillet; discard fat. 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. Stir in 2 tablespoons lemon juice, then chicken pieces. Stir over medium heat until heated through, adding more broth by 1/4 cupfuls to thin sauce as needed and adding more lemon juice by teaspoonfuls, if desired, about 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Add chicken mixture to pasta in pot and toss to coat. Stir in basil. Transfer pasta to plates.

Another Recommendation: If you like coq au vin, also try Zesty Braised Chicken with Lemon and Capers  Basil lovers, check out my top 9 recipes that use fresh herbs.

What’s oishii? “Oishii” (pronounced “oy she”) is the Japanese word for delicious. I love sharing great recipes I develop in my test kitchen. My inspiration comes from cooking magazines (Bon Appétit, Fine Cooking, Food & Wine), cookbooks, blogs, online food communities such as Chowhound.com, popular restaurants, tv shows, friends, and family.

Now it’s your turn. Are you a saffron lover? What are your favorite ways to use it? We would love to hear from you if you enjoyed this recipe. -Michael

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