I'm making paella tonight, and I would say saffron is expensive, but a little bit goes a long way. You can't make paella without it. Same goes for pine nuts. They're expensive, but worth it.
Fill in the blank: _______ is expensive, but a little bit goes a long way!
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Pesto with Parm.-Reggiano cheese, pine nuts and good extra virgin olive oil. I make my own (I have never had any other than my own...I've been making it for years and years) I won't touch the bottled stuff and won't order it in a restaurant because I just don't believe they would use the imported Reggiano cheese and enough pine nuts. Pesto is just about the only thing I'm a purist about.