I’ve always been amused by people’s reliance on the new year to try new things or recommit to old promises.

I’ve historically treated January 1st as a reason to stay up too late and then to cook my mother the best birthday dinner I could come up with (short ribs this year, they were a win–side note: it’s tough being born on January 1st).

Saffron Pasta with Spiced Butter | Things I Made TodayI get that people want an excuse to refresh and renew, but it just seems so cyclical. My yoga class on January 2nd was packed to the edges of the room. January 9th I could put my arms out without fear of touching someone else. This week, already back to normal. Not that I’m complaining. I want you all to be the best you too.

Saffron Pasta with Spiced Butter | Things I Made Today

But I’m willing to try this new years resolution business. If I had to pick one thing to commit to, it’d be learning and really mastering making fresh pasta. I’ve done it a handful of times before, and each time, the end product is better and better.

Saffron Pasta with Spiced Butter | Things I Made Today

But what I’m most in love with is the process. It’s so incredibly therapeutic to make dough from scratch and to roll it and roll it and roll it out into thin sheets. I’m absolutely addicted, and in my opinion, it’s the perfect way to spend a cold Sunday afternoon.

Saffron Pasta with Spiced Butter | Things I Made Today

This last weekend, I went to my favorite source: Ottolenghi. In his 2010 cookbook Plenty, he has this incredible looking recipe for saffron infused pasta. The color immediately caught my attention. So did the sauce–butter mixed with all the spices. I was in.

Saffron Pasta with Spiced Butter | Things I Made TodaySaffron Pasta with Spiced Butter | Things I Made Today

The end result was exactly what you’d expect from a recipe of his: incredible flavors, perfect texture, and seconds for everyone.

Saffron Pasta with Spiced Butter | Things I Made Today

If you haven’t made pasta before, I recommend reading the Serious Eats’s Science of the Best Fresh Pasta post. It’s long and detailed and what I used as my technique for pasta making when getting started. The more you do it, the more you start to get a feel for the pasta and how to laminate it and roll it and flour it and cut it. It’s becoming much more natural and intuitive, but I’ve still got heaps to learn.

Saffron Pasta with Spiced Butter | Things I Made Today

I’ll keep you updated with my mastery progress. Or I’ll give it all up in two weeks, just like my yoga classmates.

Saffron Pasta with Spiced Butter | Things I Made Today

Saffron Tagliatelle With Spiced Butter
Recipe type: Main Dish
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 6 to 8
 
Ingredients
For the pasta:
  • 2 teaspoons saffron threads
  • ¼ cup boiling water
  • 4 medium eggs
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 440g 00 pasta flour, plus more for rolling
  • 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
For the spiced butter:
  • ½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
  • 6 tablespoons olive oil
  • 6-8 small shallots, finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon sweet paprika
  • 1 teaspoon ground corinader
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon chili flakes
  • ½ teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1½ teaspoon Kosher salt
  • Black pepper to taste
For garnish:
  • ¼ cup pine nuts, toasted
  • Chopped parsley, basil. or mint (or combo of the three)
Instructions
  1. In a medium bowl, infuse saffron threads with boiling water for at least 10 minutes. Add eggs and oil and whisk to mix.
  2. In a food processor, pulse together flour and turmeric. Pour in saffron mix and pulse until a crumbly dough forms. Place dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead with your hands until it comes together and becomes smooth, about 2-3 minutes. Wrap the dough in plastic and let it rest for 30 minutes.
  3. Divide dough into four pieces. Cover three of the quarters and roll the remaining one into a rectangle. Using a pasta machine set to the widest setting, pass the dough through three times. Laminate the dough (if you're not familiar, check out the Serious Eats link above) three times at the lowest setting. Then begin to roll dough out, increasing the setting on the pasta machine one notch at a time until you've reached the lowest setting. Place the pasta onto a lightly floured baking sheet, folding the pasta onto itself as needed, and sprinkling with flour between the layers. Cover with a damp kitchen towel. Repeat with remaining dough.
  4. Use a sharp knife to cut the pasta into ¾ inch wide strips. Hang them to dry (on the back of a chair or whatever surface works) for about 10 minutes.
  5. Meanwhile, make your spiced butter. Melt butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add olive oil and shallots and cook until shallots are softened and butter starts to brown, about 10 minutes. Add all spices, salt, and pepper. Stir well and remove from heat and keep warm.
  6. Bring a large, heavily salted pot of water to boil. Add pasta and cook for about 2-4 minutes, or until al dente. Drain the pasta and return to the saucepan with spiced butter. Toss the pasta to coat. Serve with pine nuts and herbs.

Slightly adapted from Plenty.

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