Pappardelle with Spiced Butter

A top-notch pasta made with pappardelle, spiced butter and seasonal veg. Inspired by a great recipe from Yotam Ottolenghi's cookbook, Plenty.

Pappardelle with Spiced Butter

I spent the better part of the afternoon paging through Yotam Ottolenghi's cookbook, Plenty. I've been a regular reader of his New Vegetarian column in the, and discovered the first Ottolenghi cookbook published by Ebury (2008) while traveling years ago. It has been a love affair with these recipes from the start.

Pappardelle with Spiced Butter

I decided to do a riff on Yotam's Saffron Tagliatelle with Spiced Butter. It's a pasta dish tossed with vibrant Moroccan-inspired spice butter made from a blend of eight spices - ginger, sweet paprika, cinnamon, coriander, turmeric, black pepper, and chile pepper two ways. I do a version here adding asparagus to the mix to work a seasonal vegetable onto the plate. Later in the year, broccoli, sautéed cabbage, and/or roasted winter squash could all be great alternatives. 

pappardelle with spiced butter in a serving bowl

Fresh vs. Dried Pasta

Yotam uses fresh, home-made saffron tagliatelle. Wanting to throw together something quick, I opted for a good-quality dried pappardelle I had on hand. You can go either way. Making this with homemade pappardelle would be an absolute treat.
tangles of dried pappardelle pasta
assortment of spices on a plate

Let’s talk spices...

On the spice front, you definitely get a good amount of heat from the cayenne pepper. If you tend to be sensitive scale back a bit, and then add more to your liking as you get on with the recipe. Pro-tip: double up on the spice blend. I've been using the extra in all sorts of things - from eggs to vinaigrettes. This recipe makes quite a good amount of the 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.

pappardelle with spiced butter in a serving bowl

Pappardelle with Spiced Butter: Variations

A good number of you have enjoyed this recipe and left notes for future cooks suggesting successful variations. Here are a few that caught my attention.

  • Rosalind noted, “my boyfriend and I just made this with green peas instead of asparagus and toasted sunflower seeds instead of pine nuts and it WORKED. Wonderful!”
  • Francoise cooked it on Friday evening. "It was beautiful, very satisfying and something different! I adopted it a little and it worked very well: used broccoli instead of asparagus, fresh ginger instead of powder, did not have turmeric and instead of buying the powder stuff simply omitted it. Found some beautiful fresh pappardelle from a good shop. Used a little cream cheese instead of cream, and somehow the combination of flavors were spot on."
  • And for anytime you're feeling cost-conscious, Kristina mentions, "I made an inexpensive version of this dish tonight. Pine nuts were $8, asparagus expensive and woody-so I subbed in slivered almonds toasted and 10 oz. baby spinach wilted in. Everything else kept the same. I ended up using almost all of the spiced butter to get the dish as spicy as I prefer so next time I’d use 1/2 stick of butter with the current amounts of spice and use it all! The saffron salt and the mint and parsley added just the right touch!"

pappardelle with spiced butter served on a wood table

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Pappardelle with Spiced Butter

5 from 1 vote

You can make this pasta dish with dried pasta or homemade pappardelle. As I mention in the post up above, if you are sensitive to spicy, start by using less cayenne in the spiced butter, adding more to your liking.

  • 1/4 teaspoon saffron threads
  • pinch of salt
Spiced Butter:
  • 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
  • black pepper
  • 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 or pasta water
  • 1/2 cup / 2 oz / 60 g pine nuts, toasted and chopped
  • 2 tablespoons roughly chopped mint
  • 2 tablespoons roughly chopped parsley
  1. 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.
Make the spiced butter:
  1. 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).
  2. 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, reserving a bit of pasta water, 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 (or pasta water), 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.

  3. 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.

Prep Time
20 mins
Cook Time
10 mins
Total Time
30 mins
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Recipe Rating


This recipe was superb. So much flavor for so little effort. Really amazing.
Thank you for this site. I decided try being a vegetarian for a month and the recipes here have been fabulous. Looking forward to your new book.


I just made this for lunch and it was superb. So amazing! The mint added such a nice contrast to the spices. Heidi, you always post the best recipes!
Thank you!


Wow. This was amazing. I used half the butter but the same amount of spices. It was perfect!!! I kept going back for more. Thanks so much for a delicious weekday dinner that made my day so much better!

Katya Simkhovich

Wow. This was amazing. I used half the butter but the same amount of spices. It was perfect!!! I kept going back for more. Thanks so much for a delicious weekday dinner that made my day so much better!

Katya Simkhovich

Yum! Yum! Yum! Had some wild asparagus from the farmer’s market and made it last night. I had no cream and it was still fantastic. I was thinking of swapping in some greek 2% and just plain forgot once I had one taste! Now, the leftover butter is calling to me. Such intriguing, can’t put your finger on it, delicious flavors. Love the idea of shrimp in it as a picnic salad..maybe seared scallops? THANK YOU for posting this!


My boyfriend and I just made this with green peas insead of asparagus and toatsed sunflower seeds instead of pine nuts and it WORKED. Wonderful!

Rosalind Fairfax

I made this last night & it is DELICIOUS! I did add some peas and spinach to the mix, but definitely one to make again! Thank you!


Thank you so much Heidi, this recipe was delicious! Followed it to a T and came out great! Wouldn’t change a thing.


I made a vegan version of this tonight using Earth Balance and eggless pappardelle (I omitted the cream), and it was *fantastic*. I’m not sure I would use any substitute other than EB, thought — it’s really the only stand-in for butter that has the same great, rich flavor.

Anna @ D16

wow, look at that, I’m already drooling, great color, looks delicious


Wow! This looks incredible and is making me much hungrier than I already was! I am going to try it out this week.
Thanks Heidi!

emma. our kitchen

This made a beautiful and delicious spring Sunday supper. Thank you! Thanks also for the link to the Guardian site, which I will mine.


Can’t wait to try this! I have some parsley and mint in my garden and pappardelle in my pantry. Definitely a quick, go-to meal. Thanks!


I made this the other night for an impromptu dinner party, and it was a smashing success! I added fresh peas and some shrimp to it, too, and my diners were raving about it for the whole meal!


Wonderful as usual! Thanks!


What a great website! Your recipes look so good! I definitely want to give a recipe like the Pappardelle a try!


Thank you for the recipe. I initially dismissed it and then came back to it and cooked it on Friday evening. It was beautiful, very satisfying and something different! I adopted it a little and it worked very well: used broccoli instead of asparagus, fresh ginger instead of powder, did not have turmeric and instead of buying the powder stuff simply omitted it. Found some beautiful fresh pappardelle from a good shop. Used a little cream cheese instead of cream…and somehow the combination of flavours was spot on…thank you:-)


My husband made this for the two of us this evening. It was a wonderful and very unique combination of flavors. Thanks for sharing!


I love the combination of all these spices with the pasta.
I’ll try it soon. Thank you!!!

Elisabet Figueras

That pasta looks so fantastic. I bet the pine nuts go great with it.

Amber Shea @Almost Vegan

This looks like a recipe that would work well with homemade noodles. I made those last night, and did a post about it this morning. Come for a visit.

Window On The Prairie

That pasta dish looks amazing. I love egg noodles and asparagus, I’m sure the spices and butter make it heavenly. 🙂

Jenn (Jenn's Menu and Lifestyle Blog)

I’m always curious why so many people post a comment without actually having made the recipe. I made this one this evening…what a pleasure! Just for me me & my husband…emailed a photo to our foodie son. Everyone’s happy! I added some spring peas…oh yeah!


I made this tonight and it was delicious. I added just a tiny drizzle of agave and I think it helped some of the spices pop. I will surely make this again.

Anne Marie

Wow that recipe sounds amazing!! thanks for sharing to the rest of us!

Chocolate Freckles

One of the the absolute best dishes that I have made of yours yet! Got lucky and found mint in the bargain bin at Rainbow and used freshly shelled peas from the farmer’s mkt. It turned out sweet and delightful.
Last night my boyfriend and I had a friend over who had literally just stepped off the plane from Bali and was welcomed into our home and back to SF by this wonderful meal. thank you.

Julie Akiko

Heidi, I saw this and became immediately obsessed! I made it last night, although I used green beans because my store was out of asparagus (boooo), and I subbed in cheaper almonds for the pine nuts. I think I accidentally used to much of the spices, but I love boldly spiced things, so I didn’t mind one bit! It was amazing!!! My boyfriend loved it too. Thanks for the post, and love the photos!!


I made this last night. Loved it!


I have to make this pasta this weekend ! It is the spices, plus I am on a pasta kick .. it is definitely possible to eat pasta every night of the week.
My friends from SF ran/walked in the B to B .. he sent me some very funny photos ,! What fun ..


This dish pleased me to no end. I made it tonight, with 1 slight change — I had no cream so used goat’s milk instead. So delicious!
I served it with a little sparkling white from Columbia Valley. Next time, I’m tossing it some butter poached lobster – to form a nice/interesting pasta paella…


Definitely a great combination of spices for the pasta! I’m sure the asparagus played well in it! Love the portrait shots as well!


I love your photos! And the pasta looks inviting.

The Purple Foodie

First time commenting and want to mention that this site is lovely.
I made this dish, but had to improvise a bit, since I wasn’t up for shopping for missing ingredients. I decided to make my own pasta with my not-used-often-enough pasta machine.
Here’s an interesting but delicious variation:
I used peas instead of asparagus. I didn’t have heavy cream so I used a low fat greek style yogurt – like 1/2 cup. I added about 1 cup of the saffron/salt pasta water, since it seemed dry and I didn’t want to add more heat (pepper spice). Instead of pine nuts, I used chopped, toasted, blanched almonds. Lastly, I drizzled a little honey over the pasta because I felt it needed a little sweetness to balance out the heat of the pepper. The honey made a HUGE difference! I’ve never used honey in that way (over pasta) but it truly worked wonders!
This dish goes nicely with a NZ Sauv Blanc, BTW. Yum!


I had most of the ingredients on hand so I made this last night for dinner. It was fantastic. Thanks for posting this.


Fabulous recipe Heidi – so good in fact that I hotfooted straight out to a bookshop to eyeball Plenty. A gorgeous looking book. If I wasn’t already well over my baggage allowance I’d have bought it on the spot….. will have to wait till I get home to order it. Love the photos too.


Made this for dinner last night and it was amazing. My husband said he only wanted a bite because he’d already eaten, but as soon as he tried it he went and got a bowl full! The spices and shallots are fantastic. I think the 1/4 tsp of saffron really sealed the deal – lovely flavor. Thanks for this great recipe.


Yet again your images are inspiring & so invocative. What a great shot of the boy clown!
I love papardella as it looks so wonderful when served but I have also used long mandolined slices of green & yellow zucchini in its stead for those who are wheat intollerant. The yummy spiced butter will be a fantastic addition to both. Many thanks.


This looks positively heavenly. I can only imagine how good it would be with homemade pasta…I need to get on that. xxSAS

Sarah from 20somethingcupcakes

Wonderful, just wonderful! I made an inexpensive version of this dish tonight. Pine nuts were $8, asparagus expensive and woody-so I subbed in slivered almonds toasted and 10 oz. baby spinach wilted in. Everything else kept the same. I ended up using almost all of the spiced butter to get the dish as spicy as I prefer so next time I’d use 1/2 stick of butter with the current amounts of spice and use it all! The saffron salt and the mint and parsley added just the right touch! Thanks for (another) wonderful recipe-I’m sure it is just as wonderful as written, I just didn’t want to spend the extra $12. love your blog and your photos. Look forward to your posts every week!


Looks yummy! I’ll definitely have to try this recipe. I have a weakness for any pasta and butter combination.
I loved the portraits too.


I’ve never heard of this recipe before! It looks so freaking good. Awesome.


Both looks and sounds fantastic! Put the ingredients on my grocery list for tomorrow!

Annmarie Kostyk

Those shots are great! And so is the recipe. It’s reminding me that I haven’t eaten lunch yet…

Michelle @ Find Your Balance

I love the Plenty book. Just made the globe artichokes with crushed broad beans – to die for. Nearly every recipe has a little post-it stuck to it.


This looks delicious! I would have never thought about making a spiced butter as the base for my flavoring… will have to try this soon!


Your portraits are awesome! And the pasta looks great too!


Would vegan margarine work in this dish, or is butter absolutely necessary? Thanks–this looks wonderful. Just trying to figure out how to make it for the vegan bf.
HS: I think I’d skip the vegan margarine…if I were doing a vegan version, I might take the whole thing in a slightly different direction – coconut oil, spices, & some sort of Asian noodles? Although someone in the comments up above said they had good success using Earth Balance.


Another gorgeous and amazing recipe from Heidi! Thank you! Can’t wait to try this… I’m totally drooling.

Kendra (

I love the combination of flavors in this pasta. Thank you for the recipe and for sharing your photos.


That parade sounds pretty entertaining! Love the photos. I’m also excited to try out this recipe. Looks delicoius!

Andrea (Sweet N Green)

I love your portraits! I’m always so nervous to ask strangers if I can take their photo, you did an awesome job, so worth it! The flavors in this pasta sound delicious, and for some reason I’ve never thought to cut asparagus into rounds, but it makes total sense for a dish like this!


I can’t wait to try this recipe – it combines some of my favorite spices with one of the best meals in the world – butter + pasta! So divine!
(I’m based in Monterey currently – I hope your trip down here is/was lovely, and if you’re ever looking for local foodie secrets, let me know!)


Wow this look incredible! I love food with Safron.

Aysegul @ nysdelight

Can someone answer this? Does Yotam have more than one cookbook. I have ordered PLENTY and would love any other books he’s done. I thank you for this post. I can’t wait to make this dish. Your blog is awesome!!
HS: Two books Jewels, Ottolenghi & Plenty.


This looks absolutely amazing! How is it that it’s 9AM in the morning in Chicago and I want to be eating this NOW.
I make my own homemade papperdelle, pretty easy, and with the butter and spices…..YUM.
I think I may have to pick up a copy of “Plenty” as well.
Thank you!


Yum! I’ve been saving some saffron pasta from Dean and Deluca in my cabinet for a while now…I think their appearance should be made here. Thanks!


Looks great. I’m going to make it tonight. Saw a talk on inspiring me to become a weekday vegetarian – this might help to convince the family that vegetarian recipes can be totally delicious

Elly Toft

I guessed the recipe was inspired from ‘Plenty’ just by reading the title- this book is a goldmine, even though you can get many of the recipe from the Guardian.
For the ingredients, I think Ottolenghi exploits such a huge variety that I always find some ideas for cooking. When you actually go to Ottolenghi’s restaurant, you always find many dishes from the cookbooks with seasonal replacements, so I’d say they are the first ones to adapt to what tastes good right where you are. Now that I live in Germany I’m leaving out samphire recipes, but have now an abundance of lovely chard and it is definitely easier to come across many turkish cheeses.


Heidi, I started churning my own butter with fresh cream from a local farm that raises beautiful, well-loved grass-fed Jersey cows.I just began experimenting with the additions like spices, agave, my herbs, tuffles, nuts, dried fruit, hemp, cocao, you name it, anything I thought could be tasty…I can’t wait to try this with my butter!


The sound of all those spices in that butter sounds fantastic! I love a warm, well-spiced dish.

Samantha Angela @ Bikini Birthday

soooo good. just made the sauce up and the house smells fabulous! i was recently gifted your lovely cookbook, my cupboards are full of new fun things!


This piced butter sounds wonderful. I love the idea of using it with eggs. Yum!


Love the photos. And the recipe, well, that goes without saying.

Christie {Honoring Health}

Oh I love all the spices in this dish – what a great combo of ingredients!

Simply Life

This recipe would be made right now, for breakfast, but Marin farmer’s market is tomorrow, and I want the fresh asparagus from there to be in it. Also, want to check to see if I my extra heavy shocks are working after I eat it. I am an active BASE jumper and skydiver, and your recipes account for bigger canopies, and more time on the elliptical…probably an extra hour today…to apologize to my body in advance. Pine nuts, too. Why not add butter? All of my favorite things at once.
Be still my heart!!!


And PS – I think my mum is getting me Plenty for my Birthday in June. I just got their first book from Omnivore books and I love it.

sam breach

Could you use harissa in this recipe or would it just be a little too much?


What an interesting combination of spices! I’m so intrigued…thanks!

Appetite for Conversation

A very tasty looking pasta dish. I like the different textured ingredients such as pine nuts and beans. Yum.

Mark @ Cafe Campana

This looks delicious and wonderful.
I shall make it as soon as my self-imposed “pasta ban” is over. Pasta-ban is in place because I often fear turning into a noodle myself I eat them so often. Like a ridiculous amount of often. Every day if I let myself.


The words “spiced butter” caught my eye. Butter is heavenly, spices are heavenly, but spiced butter? On lovely al dente pappardelle? With pine-nuts?! Mint?! Parsley?! You are genius. This sounds absolutely wonderful! 🙂


Isn’t “Plenty” wonderful? I’ve been a big fan of the Guardian column since it started too. Have you tried the two potato vindaloo? Heavenly.


This looks so divne, hearty and tasty! The combination of spices is intriguing. A must try – thank you for sharing.

Lisa {AuthenticSuburbanGourmet}

That mix of spices sounds positively heavenly! The whole thing sounds kind of Indian, but then with the pasta and the pine nuts, and the jolt of bright, fresh herbs… wow! I can really see that being delicious. So creative. Kudos.

Coco @ Opera Girl Cooks

The colors in the portraits are amazing and the pasta with the spiced butter is fantastic!

Nisrine@Dinners and Dreams

Mersea, I wonder if there’s a regional difference here? Sorrel grows like a weed in my garden, and samphire is readily available. I think of ras el hanout and rosewater as pantry staples, and use saffron routinely. The only thing I’d struggle with is the mangoes.


I just picked up some great asparagus and mint at a local farmer’s market–I think this will be dinner tomorrow night!


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