I love to cook. I can easily spend a whole Sunday afternoon preparing a great supper and enjoy every minute of it. But after a long day of work, sometimes all I want is a tasteful meal that doesn’t require more than 10 to 15 minutes. A simple pasta dish is usually my number one choice when it comes to satisfying, tasty meals without the hassle. There’s quite a list of easy pasta recipes to choose from, but if pasta is a regular on your plate, new flavor combinations are always welcome.
So, my most recent discovery is the delicious combination of saffron and lemon – lemon zest, to be more precise. Both ingredients carry a distinct and intense flavor, so there is not a lot more needed to turn plain pasta into a tasteful meal.
Saffron is an exquisite ingredient. Made from the dried stigma of the saffron crocus, the tiniest amounts can cost you a fortune, so it is tempting to go with cheaper versions you might find at grocery stores or tourist markets. Often these are of really low quality or blended with who knows what… So, do yourself a favor and invest in good quality saffron.
Luckily, in Switzerland, where I currently live, you get good quality saffron at regular grocery stores. If you live somewhere else, it might take a little effort to find a good source of supply.
A little amount of saffron adds a special flavor and beautiful golden color to a variety of dishes and makes this simple pasta dish here a culinary delight.
Ingredients (for 2 servings):
1/2 pound (250g) of dried pasta (fettuccine or pappardelle work best, but you might use any other kind you find in your pantry)
1 organic lemon (zest only)
3/4 cup (about 175 ml) cream
3/4 cup (about 175 ml) vegetable broth
1/4 teaspoon of high quality saffron powder or 1/2 teaspoon of saffron strands.
1. In a large pot, bring water to a boil, add some salt.
2. In a small cup or bowl, dissolve the saffron with a splash (about 1-2 tablespoons) of boiling water.
3. Add the pasta to the boiling water and cook al dente.
4. While the pasta is cooking, combine cream, broth and lemon zest in a large pan, bring to a boil and reduce heat immediately. Let simmer for a few minutes at low temperature. Add salt and pepper to taste.
5. Drain pasta when cooked and add to the pan. Stir and let simmer for another minute. Add the dissolved saffron. Mix well and serve!
I recommend enjoying this dish without any parmesan cheese added.