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
If you make this recipe, I'd love to see it - tag it #101cookbooks on Instagram!

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Recipe Rating


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 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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