Italian restaurant Pasta Inc pays tribute to saffron, the world’s most expensive spice, with a souped-up menu.
Contributed By Yong Yung Shin
Treasured for its subtle flavor which can at best be described as “hay-like,” saffron, the world’s most expensive spice, makes an entry into the menu of Italian restaurant Pasta Inc, located in the idyllic enclave known as the Bukit Pasoh Conservation area.
Several “rules” have to be observed when using saffron in a dish—ideally, it should not be cooked with other strong spices such as pepper or chilli. According to owner Keith Lee, the flavor in the delicate saffron threads has to be extracted using heat, in the form of hot water or broth.
Alternatively, the saffron threads have to be soaked in water for at least two hours, yielding a bright yellow liquid that gives dishes like the Fettucine Al Molluschi E Zafferano (S$24) its golden hue. Comprising al dente ribbon pasta with fresh scallop, clams and mussel in a subtly aromatic saffron cream sauce, it makes a gastronomic showcase for the spice, in both presentation and taste.
The Risotto Prosciutto E Cappesante (S$26), featuring perfectly cooked Italian rice with parma ham and scallops in the same sauce, is also recommended. From these two dishes alone, one can tell that Pasta Inc takes pride in doing its seafood well—every piece of it was fresh, crisp, and cooked in such a way that the natural, briny-sweet flavors complemented the accompanying saffron sauce to perfection. No wonder it is such a prized ingredient.
There are also meat dishes and other pasta favorites, including the Spaghetti Al Frutti Di Mare E Nero Di Seppia, which comprises spaghetti cooked with fresh assorted seafood in squid ink sauce (S$24) and Spaghetti Alla Vongole (S$21), pasta cooked with fresh sautéed clams in white wine. Pasta Inc proves that you don’t need to tout the name of a Michelin-star chef in order to whip up a quality Italian meal.
35 Keong Saik Road,
Tel: +65 6297 7515
6 Facts About The World’s Most Expensive Spice
1. The high cost of saffron (as much as US$16 for eight grams) is attributed to the difficulty in cultivating and harvesting the purple crocus flower.
2. Each flower produces 3 threads of saffron.
3. A back-breaking 14,000 saffron threads are needed to make 2 tablespoons of saffron.
4. It is sold in both its natural form as saffron threads or powder, but culinary experts prefer the threads as the flavor is typically stronger.
5. Saffron is also used in aromatic baths, perfumes and dyes.
6. Some of the best quality saffron is harvested from Spain.