Thursday, March 27, 2014

Saffron tagliatelle with spiced butter

OMG is this good.  Smack your grandma good.  But in order to get the full effect, you're going to have to bite the bullet and throw out all your fears and make some pasta.  Not just the sauce.  You're going to have to make the pasta.  I don't know why I've been fighting this for so long.

 A few years ago, we were graciously invited to a friend's house for dinner and when we arrived were tasked with helping her gentleman friend roll out the pasta dough.  I was blown-away impressed and if I'm being completely honest, a little jealous.  I was supposed to be this awesome home cook and I'd never made my own pasta.  Our hosts made us ravioli that night that was out of this world and I remember thinking that the packaged stuff was never crossing my lips again.

We were about three bottles of Cabernet in when I thought that and of course, I've eaten packaged pasta since then, but you get where I'm coming from.....

That was probably two years ago and um, yeah, still hadn't made my own pasta.  I'm a champion procrastinator.

 And then a light bulb came on somewhere in my brain and I realized I'd been making my grandma's noodles at the holidays for years and while they aren't exactly the same....close enough.  And since I have a damn pasta machine to do all of the heavy labor, it was time to slay this dragon.

So, Saturday afternoon after I knocked out those cream puffs......I.  Made.  Pasta.

And I killed that pasta...with the help of Mr. B.  If you're using a pasta machine, it does help to have an extra set of hands to help feed the dough through the machine.

The dough is made in the food processor, rests for 30 minutes, and then is rolled out.  The spiced butter sauce takes no time at all and is absolutely decadent.  This is a perfect dinner party meal and a great way to get your guests involved in the kitchen.  Put them to work rolling out pasta!  They'll love it.  And you never might just inspire someone!

The spicy butter sauce was delicious but the addition of the mint, parsley and pine nuts really brought everything together.  We absolutely loved this and I can't wait to make it again.  So if I invite you to dinner, be prepared to be put to work!!

Here's the recipe:

Saffron Tagliatelle with Spiced Butter
Plenty, Yotam Ottolenghi


2 tsp saffron threads
4 tbsp boiling water
4 medium eggs
4 tbsp olive oil
15 1/2 oz (3 1/2) cups "00" pasta flour (Italian flour), plus extra for rolling
1 tsp ground turmeric

Spiced Butter
1 cup (2 sticks) butter
4 tbsp olive oil
8 shallots, finely chopped
1 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp sweet paprika
1 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp chili flakes
1/2 tsp ground turmeric
1 tsp salt
black pepper

2/3 cup pine nuts, toasted and roughly chopped
4 tbsp roughly chopped mint
4 tbsp chopped parsley

Place the saffron in a small bowl with the boiling water and leave to infuse for at least 10 minutes.  Then add the eggs, and oil and beat to mix.  Place the flour and turmeric in the bowl of a food processor and add the saffron mix.  Blend until a crumbly dough is formed.  You may need a little more oil or flour to adjust the dough to the required consistency,  Neither sticky nor very dry.

Lightly dust your surface with flour, tip out the dough and knead into a ball.  Work for a few minutes, adding more flour if you need, until it becomes silky soft.  Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and chill for 30 minutes, or up to a day.

Divide the dough into two pieces,.  Keep one well covered.  Using a rolling pin, flatten the other piece into a thin rectangle.  Set the pasta machine to its widest setting and pass the dough through.  Continue rolling the pasta, narrowing the setting by a notch every time, until you get to the lowest setting.  (After rolling the dough through 2-3 settings, I would cut it in half lengthwise to keep it to a manageable size)

Fold up the pasta sheet twice along its length, sprinkling some flour between the layers.  Use a large knife to cut long strips that are 3/4 inch wide.  Hang them on the back of a chair to dry for 10 minutes.  Repeat with the remaining dough.  (My pasta machine has a fettuccine attachment, so I used that to make my noodles)

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.

To make the spiced butter, place the butter and oil in a frying pan and cook the shallots gently for about 10 minutes, or until they soften and the butter turns slightly brown.  Now add all the spices, the salt and some pepper.  Remove from the heat and keep warm.

Cook the tagliatelle for 2 to 3 minutes, or until al dente.  Drain and return to the saucepan.  Pour the spiced butter over the pasta and stir well, then divide among four plates.  Sprinkle with the pine nuts and chopped herbs and serve.

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