19 May 2013

Saffron Tagliatelle with Spiced Butter from Ottolenghi's Plenty - IHCC

So this week it is noodles with Ottolenghi & it was always going to be this saffron tagliatelle with spiced butter. Yes, I do seem to have a thing for butter it does after all make most things better.  This time round it is lots of spice rather than chilli & lime.  Saffron spiked noodles doused in an exotically spiced butter was a combination I could not resist.   It’s a little like Italy meeting Morocco with ginger, paprika, coriander, cinnamon, cayenne & turmeric & what a match.  Though this spicy butter would be a good match for so many things...chicken, fish, maybe even the humble spud.  The spices do make the golden tagliatelle flecked with saffron threads really something to savour, but it is the saffron that make it all the more decadent & just a little exotic.

Saffron...the world’s most expensive spice.  Prized since the dawn of civilisation as a spice, a medicine, a dye & even magic potions.  So expensive as each little stigma needs to be harvested by hand & before the flowers wilt at the end of the day.  Small these little threads may be but they are potent so a little goes a long way.  Too much & they can make your dish bitter, but just the right amount & you have a vibrant golden colour with an earthy, almost hay-like flavour that will transport you somewhere exotic.

Saffron Tagliatelle with Spiced Butter

Serves 4


For the tagliatelle*

2 tsp saffron threads
4 tbsp boiling water
4 eggs
4 tbsp olive oil
440g /15 1/2 oz "00" pasta flour, plus a little extra for rolling
1 tsp ground turmeric
80g / 2 1/2 oz pine nuts, toasted & roughly chopped
4 tbsp mint, roughly chopped
4 tbsp parsley, roughly chopped

*If you don’t want to make the pasta use some good store bought tagliatelle & add a few saffron threads to the cooking water.

For the spiced butter
200g 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 chilli flakes
1/2 tsp ground turmeric
1 tsp salt
Black pepper


Place the saffron in a small bowl with the boiling water & leave to infuse for at least 10 minutes. Add the eggs & oil to the saffron & beat to mix. Place the flour & turmeric in the bowl of a food processor & add the saffron mix. Blitz until you have a crumbly dough. Add a little more oil or flour as needed, the dough should be between sticky & dry.

Lightly dust your bench or board with flour, tip out the dough & knead into a ball for a few minutes until the dough becomes silky smooth. Wrap the dough in clingfilm & chill for at least 30 minutes, or up to a day.

When ready to make the past divide the dough into two pieces & keep one well covered. Roll the other piece into a thin rectangle. To start set the pasta machine to its widest setting & pass the dough through. Continue rolling the pasta, narrowing the setting by a notch every time, until you get to the lowest setting. You can either now cut the pasta in to wide ribbons or use the tagliatelle cutter on your machine.* Hang them on the back of a chair to dry for at least 10 minutes.

For the the spiced butter place the butter & oil in a frying pan & cook the shallots gently for about 10 minutes, or until they soften & the butter turns slightly brown, see this butter just gets better & better. Add all the spices, the salt & some pepper. Remove from the heat & keep warm. 

To cook the pasta bring a large pot of salted water to a boil & cook the tagliatelle for 2 to 3 minutes, or until al dente. Drain & return to the saucepan. Pour the spiced butter over the pasta & stir well to coat each ribbon, then divide among four plates, sprinkle with the pine nuts & chopped herbs & serve immediately.

*Next time I think I will go not quite to the thinnest setting & hand cut for a little more rustic dish & a little more bite to the tagliatelle.

Yes this one is quite spectacular. Pasta doused in butter how could that not be good??  The saffron come through & the butter is sweet & spicy so the herbs add a welcome freshness that lighten & brighten this dish.  Well worth the effort of making homemade pasta, which, once you have done it a few times doesn’t really take too much time at all.  The clean up probably takes more time!!



  1. I love that you made your own pasta. That is something I've always wanted to do. I have a thing for flavored butters. Spiced butter sounds great!

    1. Thanks Michelle, you should! Homemade pasta is like homemade bread....so delicious & so worth the effort, pasta actually very little effort especially if you have a food processor. And the butter....well butter is always good!

  2. I am just in love with the colors and flavors in this dish and I am always super-impressed with homemade pasta! The spiced butter sounds so flavorful--I bet a little goes a long way, and I like your idea of using it on fish or potatoes. Yum!

    1. Thanks Deb, I loved the colour of the tagliatelle :) And the butter very moreish....so yes goes a long way but very quickly!!

  3. I'm drooling over this spiced butter! And I'm so impressed with the homemade pasta, Mairi - I'll bet it was amazing. :)

    1. Thanks Hannah, yes he seems to be a master with butter! And the pasta did work out a treat :)

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