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


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

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