Yotam uses fresh, home-made saffron tagliatelle (the recipe is included in the book), but wanting to throw together a something quick so I opted for a good-quality dried pappardelle I had on hand. On the spice front, you will definitely get some heat from the cayenne pepper, so scale back a bit if you are sensitive. Also, feel free to double up on the spice blend, I've been using the extra in all sorts of things - from eggs to vinaigrettes. Also, this recipe make quite a good amount of spiced butter. Use as much or as little of it as you like. You can always reserve any leftover for drizzling on potatoes, crepes, vegetables, etc. later in the week.
1/4 teaspoon saffron threads
pinch of salt
1 stick / 4 oz / 100 g butter
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
6 medium shallots, chopped
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon sweet paprika
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
scant 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/4 teaspoon red chile flakes
1/4 teaspoon ground turmeric
1/4 teaspoon+ fine grain sea salt
1/2 pound / 8 oz / 225 g dried pappardelle egg pasta
1/2 pound / 8 oz / 225 g asparagus, sliced into 1/4-inch rounds
splash of cream
1/2 cup / 2 oz / 60 g pine nuts, toasted and chopped
2 tablespoons roughly chopped mint
2 tablespoons roughly chopped parsley
Place a large pot of water over high heat and bring to a boil. In the meantime, use a mortar and pestle to crush the saffron and salt into a fine powder. Set aside.
To make the spiced butter: Place the butter and olive oil in a frying pan and cook the shallots gently for about 10 minutes, or until they soften and the butter browns just a bit. Stir in all the spices, the salt, and a bit of freshly ground black pepper, remove from heat (but keep warm).
Salt the water generously and cook the pasta per the package instructions, or until al dente. Barely thirty seconds before the pasta has finished cooking, add the asparagus. Drain and return the pasta and asparagus to the pot. Stir in the saffron salt. Pour about half of the spiced butter over the pasta, add a small splash of cream, and toss well. Taste, then ask yourself if you need to add more spiced butter or salt. I suggest adding more butter until it is to your liking, then reserve any leftover for later use (see head notes). Serve the pasta in a large bowl, or divided across plates, sprinkle with pine nuts and herbs.
Serves 4 - 6.
Inspired by the Saffron Tagliatelle with Spiced Butter in Plenty by Yotam Ottolenghi. Ebury Press, May 2010.
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